Day 16 @ ITP: Physical Computing

Week 2
Assignment #3: Readings

Norman, Design of Everyday Things, ch. 1:

Norman, Emotional Design, Chapter 1, “Attractive Things Work Better”:

..it is essential that products designed for use under stress follow good human-centered design, for stress makes people less able to cope with difficulties and less flexible in their approach to problem solving. Positive affect makes people more tolerant of minor difficulties and more flexible and creative in finding solutions. Products designed for more relaxed, pleasant occasions can enhance their usability through pleasant, aesthetic design. Aesthetics matter: attractive things work better.
Note that the anxiety produced by walking a plank high in the air -- or even by performing in public -- can be beneficial. Anxiety focuses the mind, reducing distractions. It is when the negative affect is too strong that performance is inhibited, whether because of the fear of falling or stage fright. Some performers welcome anxiety, for they recognize that the proper amount helps them focus and do their best.
Just as negative affect can make some simple tasks difficult, positive affect can make some difficult tasks easier. In a clever set of experiments, Alice Isen has shown that if people are given small, unexpected gifts, afterwards they are able to solve problems that require creative thought better than people who were not given gifts. The positive affective system seems to change the cognitive parameters of problem solving to emphasize breadth-first thinking, and the examination of multiple alternatives. It also has the side effect of making people more distractible.
Good design means that beauty and usability are in balance. An object that is beautiful to the core is no better than one that is only pretty if they both lack usability. In the quest for enhancement of life, let us not be usability bigots. Yes, products must be usable. But all the many factors of design must be in harmony. Marketing considerations must be accounted for, aesthetic appeal, manufacturability -- all are important. The products must be affordable, functional, and pleasurable. And above all a pleasure to own, a pleasure to use.


Igoe, Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses):

*Compass Ion Organ is a posture and meditation support belt embedded with sensors which track the curvature of the users spine, and provides feedback for the wearer in the form of visual and sonic information via a microcontroler to software (Max/MSP/Jitter). The belt has a calibration button which can be set for each user in order to give personal readings about their current state of spinal posture. The information coming from the user influences changes in realtime, to visual and/or sonic algorithmic compositions. These are displayed on a large flat panel LCD screen which the user is facing. The compositions for the belt will explore different mathematical principals about balance and order, such as Lindenmayer Systems and Fractals, as well as irregularities, dealing with atonal and chaotic patterns. The feed back of visuals and sound is meant to guide the user into proper alignment and help them maintain it once they have it. The algorithms are designed to reflect balance when the spine is straight and discord when it is not. Source: https://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2007/compass-ion-organ/

*Compass Ion Organ is a posture and meditation support belt embedded with sensors which track the curvature of the users spine, and provides feedback for the wearer in the form of visual and sonic information via a microcontroler to software (Max/MSP/Jitter). The belt has a calibration button which can be set for each user in order to give personal readings about their current state of spinal posture. The information coming from the user influences changes in realtime, to visual and/or sonic algorithmic compositions. These are displayed on a large flat panel LCD screen which the user is facing. The compositions for the belt will explore different mathematical principals about balance and order, such as Lindenmayer Systems and Fractals, as well as irregularities, dealing with atonal and chaotic patterns. The feed back of visuals and sound is meant to guide the user into proper alignment and help them maintain it once they have it. The algorithms are designed to reflect balance when the spine is straight and discord when it is not.

Source: https://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2007/compass-ion-organ/