notes and musings for an MFA in Interaction Design thesis

A false start

What happens when you get so psyched up about how awesome everything is going to be when it’s built that you jump right in? You get overwhelmed, that’s what. And in the end, the lesson is: you still have to start at the core.

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Design Persona for my thesis

“A design persona describes how to channel personality… and helps the web team to construct a unified and consistent result,” writes Aarron Walker in Designing for Emotion. After reading this short book, I decided this would be as good a time as any to create a design persona for my thesis.

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In search of clarity

Last Friday, we had a plenary session with Paul Pangaro, who instructed us to look for the connection between design and intent. This requires clarifying what that intent is in the first place. After a bit of feedback from Paul, I’ve affirmed where my intent lies: in providing the best online cooking experience during cooking, instead of before or after.

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Character study?

During last week’s thesis workgroup, we were introduced to the idea of getting to know our audiences through character studies. A character study is not the same thing as a persona. Personas exist to help us envision an entire demographic at a time, and the end result is often a rather bland portrait of Pure Averageness. A character, on the other hand, is far more like a human being: idiosyncratic, unpredictable and contradictory…

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Wise advice…

…always has a way of resurfacing when you need it most.

The most important thing you can do in your thesis is to be deliberate.
- Paul Pangaro

A goal hierarchy diagram

While writing my final thesis proposal this week, I found it helpful to draw a diagram situating my intervention in a broader context. This diagram explains how the simple intervention of convincing more people to cook could potentially lead to a positive change in the US food system.

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After talking with a bunch of people about the problem of video lag, I’ve decided to continue with Tokbox but also start the hunt for alternatives.

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Research/Development Plan – draft

I have created a research and development plan! The first person I showed this to (Frank) thought this was rather promising. The second person I showed this to (a developer at a startup) laughed and said to build in an extra 10 months, just in case. So… I guess we’ll see how this goes. :) But here it is!

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Google+ Hangouts Prototype, Take 2!

In my meeting with Frank (our Thesis Dev teacher) this week, he advised 2 things:

  1. Aim to run 2 prototypes a week (iterate faster!)
  2. Experiment with different social groupings (# of people, relationship to host, etc.)

With #1 in mind, I ran another Google+ Hangouts prototype on Wednesday. With #2 in mind, I invited just one person: a friend on the west coast.

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Thesis Proposal: Draft

For my thesis, I would like to use commonly available technologies to increase dialogue around and awareness of the foods we eat. To accomplish this, I would like to build an online social cooking experience to help people cook more, and through this, engage more deeply with their food.

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Value : pain

One should always aim for a positive value to pain ratio. I was thinking about this today while wandering around in, of all places, Costco, and staring at, of all things, canned corn.

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Naoto Fukasawa quote

We grasp at unseen textures. We reach for the space around visible objects. We try to ascertain networks connected via imperceptible threads… All that the designer needs to do is find the right outline for the given conditions.
Naoto Fukasawa,
Without Thought

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Hello, thesis world!

You get a feeling that there’s an interesting avenue to explore, a problem that might someday lead you to a solution, but then you get distracted by more pressing matters and the hunch disappears. So [...] write everything down.
Steven Johnson,
Where Good Ideas Come From

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