Learning from Interactive Design Failures

November 11, 2013
/ / /
Comments Closed

ASTC INTERACTIVES DISCUSSION PPT_Page_3-ThumbI was fortunate enough to participate in a panel session recently entitled “Learning from Interactives that Suck” at the 2013 ASTC conference in Albuquerque, NM.  I felt quite humbled to be onstage with veteran exhibit managers and designers in a frank discussion of the challenges of exhibit design.

It’s a stretch to say I design exhibits.  It’s not a stretch to say that architecture and information systems are deeply concerned with interaction issues.  Interactivity is a field of concerns almost imperceptible to everyday life.  We enter a building.  We peel an apple.  We make a phone call.  These are routine activities, whose constituent components we barely give a second look.  Until the door, the peeler or the phone fail to meet our expectations.

For the last 20 years I have been working at smoothing out these interactions in the increasingly novel everyday experiences we have. 

Read More

500 Office Designs Reviewed in 4 Months, 2010 Census

November 10, 2013
/ / /
Comments Closed

places - 2010 Census GraphicEvery ten years, the US Census Bureau does an official count of the general US population.  We all get a paper form that requests some basic information about us.  For those of us who don’t return the form, the Census Bureau is required to follow up, in person.  The following up is known as NRFU, (nar*foo, non-response follow-up.  Seriously.)

NRFU is performed by temporary workers operating from over 500 cities in the US.  Every morning for 6 months, these workers pick up forms and addresses from a local Census office, knock on doors and return in the evening with results.  The US Census Bureau has 6-8 months to lease, design, build and outfit them all.  This is what we call a tenant interiors roll-out.

Read More

Kabanga School Structure Concepts for Asante Miriamu

June 13, 2012
/ / /
Comments Closed

My colleague Peter Ozolins suggested I will unlikely get anything completed while on our journey.  However, I would learn who can accomplish things and how it can work.  That said, I am working through three differing needs:

1.  Market Stall just outside the gate for residents to sell their goods and

2.  Wash Stand Canopies to provide shade when using water facilities.

3.  Shelving that divides a sewing room from a library

Thus far, I have very little information about availability of materials, tools, specialized labor and their relative costs. Without that information, there is no way to plan their construction.

Design Issues:

1.  Materials:  Availability, expense, means to fabricate, and assemble.

2.  Labor:  Availability and expense.  Dependent on materials selection and tool availability.

3.  Can the Kisulu and Kabanga communities work together sufficiently to replicate the results on their own?

4.  Are the designs desirable?

The images below are simple concepts that could be fabricated from a variety of materials.

Read More

Valuing Ideas vs Content vs Experiences

May 27, 2012
/ / /
Comments Closed

Jonah Lehrer points out that early copyright law created the notion that ideas are valuable. The claim of the legal world is that ideas are valuable enough to provide legal protection. But this is a tricky point. I’d like to know if the economic data bears that out.

Someone help me attribute this story.  An author is challenged that his material is not unique.  “I could have written that.” goes the challenge.  The author responds, “Perhaps you could have written this, sir. But you didn’t. I did.” In this case, our author makes an interesting point: he delivered.  His response accepts that the idea was not inherently unique. Perhaps many people had the same thought, the same idea. But it was our author who wrote, packaged and delivered the idea in a manner that others valued.  Valued enough to pay for it.

Read More

Why Houzz

May 14, 2012
/ / /

Houzz works. It does exactly what I need it to do: offer inspirations I can scrapbook, comment on, collaborate over and share with my colleagues and clients. I do the exact same thing with my hard copy library. The desktop interface is deft, efficient and complete.

The site would be nowhere without the content though. Houzz’s advantage is the volume and quality of contributors. If the content had been, say, 30% less, it wouldn’t be as useful. Ditto quality. Pros have been stocking and curating this. That makes a big difference in the consistency and fidelity of ideas. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a collection of well composed images in telling the story of designing a simple staircase.

If you’re a home design or construction pro, or a homeowner looking to design, Houzz is a wonderful, useful resource. It won’t–and shouldn’t–be your only resource. It will be a reliable one.

Feature Requests
. iPhone App: would like to edit my ideabook notes.
. Predefined fields and guidelines for attributions. I have dozens of hard copy resources I don’t dare scan and post because I’m hazy on attribution and copyright. If there was a sensible way to protect and share, that could be really wonderful.
. Though perhaps better suited as a companion site(s), it would be wonderful to use this tool suite for technical information such as building code tips, green resourcing and best planning practices. In other words, co-opt the international Code Council, Dwell, USGBC and Taunton Press as contributors.
. Tag menus. I have the same issue w twitter and tumblr. I love tags, use them frequently. I hate developing them. I hate finding out I tagged things with slight variations–porch and porches for instance. Someone get smart about this. Soon. Please?

Read More

Hey, That’s It!

May 13, 2012
/ / /

So I had a vision sometime ago of a shelving project for kids with disabilities. It involved creating standards (vertical shelf supports) that were textured. Kids with some vision impairment might enjoy the tactile experience. If I played my cards right it would be fun to look at. If I really played my cards right, it’d be made from scrap wood.

Here’s the sketch.

Don’t you know, on the way to the restaurant bathroom with the kids I found an example of it.





Decorative panel inset, Busboys & Poets, Shirlington, Arlington Co, Va

Read More