What have learned here (First Half)

-A thing is thing whether in your mind and far, or in your hand and near.  But the making is what lets a thing come into its own. (Heidegger)

-Sketching is funny, and scary, and a fast way to record, and iterate an idea.

-Sketching works in all dimensions: 1(a basic thing), 2(an image of a thing), 3(a model of a thing) - 11(a trans-dimensional thing).

-Cheap, soft materials bring objects into being very fast.

-Designs can be performative for expressed-use/expressed-audience things. (Neidderer)

-Designs can be place holders for component ideas (Norman)

-Designs can address the way an audience feels (Kansei)

-Designs get faster to make and better as you iterate and refine

-Certain human factors are quantifiable and well-recorded

-There are "Technosocial", social and moral effects, of SPIMES, ARTIFACTS, MACHINES, PRODUCTS and GIZMOS (Sterling)

-Finishing materials, the part you never get to, is time consuming and laborious.

-Different materials create different shop cultures and reflect differing ideas

-Metallic paint is cheesy

-"Attach" means NOTHING.  Joining materials is an involved and detailed design process.

-Welding rules!

-Shaping materials involves heat, pressure, and time...

-Keeping the elements out is not as easy as it seems

-Children are like hurricanes in their destructive power and unstoppable energy

-Outreach, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Share Leadership to engage a community

-DREAM BIG, scale back.


-Good "children's" exhibits…(are actually for big kids, too)

-Designing for durability means conscious choices about details! I.E...

-Ethnography is like spying on people you want to help in ways they never knew they needed.

-Interaction can be physical (atoms) and digital (bits) but requires all actors to cause change and react to changes alike.

Ethnography: Culturally Constrained Design.

Same action, different cultures, different designs.

Definition:  Ethnography: The study and systematic recording of human cultures. - Maid Merriam-Webster

A subset of:
Which is a subset of Old Navy.

Function: [Ethnography] should be reflexive, make a substantial contribution toward the understanding of the social life of humans, have an aesthetic impact, and express a credible reality. It observes the world from the point of view of the subject (not the participant ethnographer), records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations using concepts that avoid casual explanations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnography#Classic_virtues

?Science or Art?
Both! Like Architecture!   That guy's name is Art---> What's up Art!?

Ethnography can be both quantitative and qualitative.  While you record observations through the techniques described below you must remain open, unbiased and willing to change any assumed beliefs.  (For instance Mike Rowe on TED talks.  Remember?)  There is some subjectivity to what you choose to record, based on that ability to remain unbiased.

Once you've collected enough of these observations (data), you can objectively categorize, partition and build a model of a culture.  This is quantitative.


Passive Observation

I read a book about beards!
While reading is a good passive way to collect info on a culture, all authors are biased!  Newspapers (used to be) less so.  Internal publications, pamphlets, wikis, give more of an unbiased view.

     -Read first hands/autobios

How much can we learn from this cover?

     -No detail too small, leave no stone unturned

What is needed to improve this medical device and/or the tools
available in a hospital room, based on this image?

     -External and internal observation (how are you feeling?)

     -Examine artifacts by placing yourself in their shoes

     -Watch documentaries

     -Research organizations
     -Shop where they shop

     -Go do it…alone!

     -Spy…Hawthorne effect

Liu Bolin

Active Observation

-Participate with the culture



     -Guided Tours (behind the scenes: protected spaces)

     -Go do it!  Participate/Respect Privacy/Gain Trust

     -Memories/Stories/Anecdotal evidence




Prepared (Hawthorne...)

          -if _____, then _______
          -else ________

     -Helps interviewer reduce memory load

     -Surveys (Hawthorne…again)

     -Story telling

     -In Situ

     -Have stock questions 
          -the "Elevator Pitch"

          Respect Privacy!  While this is a fleeting American sentiment, establishing trust (as with community engagement) is key to getting people to open up and say things that represent a true culture, vs that which they feel obligated to represent.

Apparently not so hot on privacy.


Individuals vs Groups
     -Multiple input = rich data

     -Groups can be susceptible to bias (Hawthorne…yup)/Individuals less so.

     -Quantitative/Qualitative lines are blurred

     -Coding (quantifying seemingly qualitative data)

Yes, I studied backpacks….in grad school.  Let that be a lesson to you.

Bottom Line
No room for BIAS.  Be prepared to shed your assumptions.

?Can places be understood through Ethnography?

?Can materials be understood through Ethnography?


Egg-spiration. (Inspiration for your "Egg Drop")

Community Engagement
Input > Action > Output

Affective vs Effective Communication

TRUST!  Empathy

Stakeholders:  Who has 'skin in the game'?

Code Switching

Human Factors or Ergonomics

What's wrong with this picture?

"Computer Workstation Variables" from:

Have we moved away from this future:

See "Specializations" and "Methods" HERE.

Kansei Engineering: READ

What does this thing do?

What does this thing do?

What does this thing do?

Why does this thing do what it does?

Cognitive Artifacts by Don Norman: READ

Human Factors Talk:

CONTEXT is important when designing. The Social/ physical / embedded or implied not communicated

Arjun Appadurai’s essay Modernity at Large. According to Appadurai there is a mass new spread of information, culture, etc. due to globalization. However, traditional methods used categorize the spread fail because of their inability to allow for different perspectival viewpoints. The five -scapes are:

  • Ethnoscapes is the movement of people with the advent of readily available and more affordable transportation .
  • Mediascape is the movement of media around the world and how it allows distant cultures to view each other. Often, it creates an image of a distant culture that is skewed or narrow sighted.
  • Technoscapes is the flow of technology, mechanical goods, software goods, etc. in a boundaryless environment thanks to international corporations.
  • Financescapes is the movement of money. Now with its much larger scale of the World, money is even harder to follow than ever.
  • Ideoscapes is the movement of political ideas from one area to another.

Do not say "ATTACHED." This means nothing here. (Except in an email.) There are plenty of joints and ways of connecting objects.

"The Thing" by Martin Heidegger.  READ

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