Tag Archives: clarification

Why the CN?

6 Feb

the CN logo

In case you are wondering why I ask that we use the CN for this course: The main advantage the CN presents is the newsfeed that enables all of us in the course to communicate frequently and sometimes informally. Here are my reasons for using it in CGT 256:

1. Sharing is important in this course

Sharing examples and additional resources is important for learning UCD. The field is relatively new; there are a lot of resources out there that we can learn from. We all benefit from working together to collect interesting readings and resources. As we move to the next course module and talk about design principles, examples are a must and I will ask you all to find and contribute them.

2. Informal communication builds common ground

Communicating informally, even about things that are not directly related to the course, builds understanding and common ground. It makes it a lot easier and safer for us to communicate and work together. It gives me valuable immediate feedback so I can adjust course activities to your needs.

3. New is interesting

Especially in a design course, experimenting with a new product is interesting. There are lots of tiny interface design errors in the CN – these make great examples that we can connect with course material. They can be annoying, but I think the overall benefits to the learning experience outweigh the annoyances.

Another related question is,

OK, but why REQUIRE participation and 1,000 anar seeds?

2 reasons: motivation and evaluation.

Motivation – I fear that without that, very few people would participate. That being said, 1,000 points is a very easy target for most students, so it’s a minimal incentive to get people to try it out, in the hopes they’ll find enough value to want to participate. Also, providing and seeing examples is very important in this class, and that’s one way to get people to do it.

Evaluation –  number of Anar seeds is an easy way for me to evaluate participation and for you to see where you stand at any given point in the semester. It’s a lazy form of evaluation, I admit, because it focuses mostly on quantity (though posts that are voted “best” gain more points). Please know that this is not the ONLY form of evaluating participation. I do my best to take everything into consideration, not only anar seeds.

Finally, I’d like you to know that every detail of the course is thought out carefully and meant to contribute to one or more learning objectives. If you have questions about why we’re doing something, please ask.


LA1: Affordance – Grades

22 Jan

The grades have been posted for the first lab assignment over the concept of affordance.

Overall, I was impressed with how many of you grasped the concept so quickly. Affordance can be difficult to understand and distinguish from symbols and other visual cues. As a class, you really seemed to nail affordance examples in the physical space. Things like door handles are shaped to the human hand – small enough for wrapping the fingers, grasping, and turning. Things like bars on doors beckon an individual to push. Handles on the “smart boards” in the classroom indicate that they might be moved (though I’m terrified to try).

Some things that people struggled with – the signs outside of rooms that indicate room number, name, etc., are not examples of affordance. Also, many of the digital examples of affordance could have used more explaining. You may have lost points if your explanation said something like “It looks like _________. Humans know it looks like _______. Therefore, it can _________.” It’s good to be concise, but please make sure that it is explicitly clear what you’re trying to explain to me. If you lost points, it was likely due to lack of clarity in your explanation, or that 1 or 2 of your examples did not properly display affordance.

If further clarification is needed on the concept of affordance, please check this article from the Nielsen/Norman Group and be sure to watch the video below. Also, please refer to this blog post from a previous year of this class for more examples of affordance (with cats!).