Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CCDN 271: Assignment One: Tools for Investigation – Assessing and Critiquing Sources

Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York, USA: Basic Books.

Starting with a fierce grounding in design psychology, Norman’s book analyses the way we look at the everyday items that surround us. Norman encourages us to think about the attachments we build with our mundane possessions presenting both a stark criticism of poorly designed commonplace objects, as well as a heartfelt call out to everyone that has precious simple possessions.
This source is relevant to the first topic of “the everyday”, as it looks in depth at the emotional connection people establish with the objects, as well as the significance of the effect of the design on that connection. The relevance is also inherent since Norman looks at the defining differences between a possession and an object. Emotional attachment to everyday things is generated through a range of elements, including the design of the object itself, as well as other crucial elements.

Yao, M. Z., Rice, R. E., Wallis, K. (2007). Predicting user concerns about online privacy. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(5), 710-722. doi:10.1002/asi.20530

With the propagation of the internet continuously expanding, the need to study the way people feel about their online privacy grows ever larger. The ASI’s study explores this concern, while also seeking to understand the human need for privacy, as well as investigating the concept of self-efficacy and whether the internet needs to be regulated.
The investigation is extremely relevant for the topic of “Google Warming”, if maybe a little outdated at about 5 years old now. It has a lot to say with regards to not just privacy concerns, but other relevant lead-ins to the topic as well. The exploration into the primal need for privacy is particularly interesting, as it looks at it from an evolutionary perspective, a refreshing perspective to say the least. The text also reaches an extremely appropriate conclusion, that the concern about online privacy is not a unique concept, but rather an old problem that has manifested itself in a new technology.

Walther, B. K., Philipsen, H., Agerbæk, L., Wildermuth, N., Løfgreen, L. B., Grønning, A., . . . Pilegaard, J. (2010). Designing for Critique, Designing for Reflection. In T. B. Jacobsen (Ed.), Designing New Media: Learning, Communication and Innovation (pp. 75-110). Copenhagen, Denmark: Academica.

The chapter in this book deals with the notion of critical design being neither art nor traditional design, but more of a splinter cell of design, seeking to amaze, raise awareness, and provoke people. The ideas presented challenge our idea of what is normal and what is strange. Løfgreen seeks in his chapter of Designing New Media to find a universal definition of critical design, while at the same time creating a deep rift between the understandings of what design is versus what art represents in a societal context.
The relevancy of this source has to be partially unearthed to be properly understood. Looking at critical design via a psychological perspective, it grants insights into the way critical designers think. The concepts often deal with elements of life that we find to be embarrassments, and seek to pose questions like “why do they need to exist?”.

Buechley, L., & Perner-Wilson, H. (2012). Crafting technology: Reimagining the processes materials, and cultures of electronics. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 19(3), Article No 21. doi:10.1145/2362364.2362369

Buechley & Perner-Wilson present us with an extensive background on the development of craft, which is nowadays almost synonymous with DIY. The article discusses the physical and mental experience of designing and creating using the skill set that crafts generate. The article also includes surveys with craftspeople, and also incorporates a look at the psychology behind craft, as well as what it means for society as a whole.
This source discusses the gender stereotyping inherent in the history of DIY/craft, as well as bringing the nature of craft to the page. Craft is an extremely individual, creative industry, fraught with problems of its own, separate from those of high design. The evolution of craft into a “makers” society is very interesting, as it shows a move towards industrialisation, despite the very essence of craft being anti-industrial. The article explores this movement in-depth, drawing intriguing conclusions.

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