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Chris Kueh

Posts: 21 Joined: 12 Oct 2006

Post subject:

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:29 am

it's me ... AGAIN ... missed out this important podcast for user-centred approach:

http://www.uxpod.com/

follow the link to subscribe to the podcasts via your iTunes or other program. Good source and they are all conversations that are easy to be understood.

-chris

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Neal

Posts: 3 Joined: 05 Dec 2006

Post subject: UCD

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:11 am

these are good points Chris...

I am currently involved in a project with ex-drug users; they have made films with the help of artists, I am designing an exhibition type interface for the viewing of those films.

I have never been in drug rehab myself, though I can talk to them and start to relate to what they've gone through, and what they are going through now and what they would like to express. I can talk to them and discuss ideas for the project. I can show examples that might inspire direction, I can whiteboard a bunch of conflicting ideas and then I can attempt to synthesise this knowledge, information, experience and collective energy into some rough design outcome sketches which we can discuss and develop further.

I might also be able to help the ex-drug users themselves and their support workers communicate to the drug rehab centres admin staff, and I can attempt to negotiate an outcome which is acceptable to all parties to some degree (including myself; I am employed to bring my design knowledge and skills).

The outcome will never be optimal. Not everybody will be happy. It is as important that the ex-users themselves feel heard as it is that the general community can access the work and relate to the life experience of the users... it is also important politically that the work does not represent the ex-drug users lives as stereotyped "junkies" though it is imperative that the work is true and not a glossed over spin...

I would like to refer to the above situation as "super-complex"; it involves people, their lives, their beliefs, their loss, their desires for acceptance and love... it involves financial considerations and political motivations.... I believe it is this that is what design actually is.

UCD comes into this, as might quantitative surveys or senario based approaches, many design research and development modalities may be used. However I think it is often too simplistic and neat to choose one, or say that this is a better way forward... what is important is to "get ones hands dirty" and get in there, take design action (and take responsibility for ones actions) and try to do the job and help the aims of this particular "community of intent" (I have taken to refering to stakeholders in this way as it seems more appropriate to the model I am proposing).

This particular work, and much design work, even highly commercial branding work, is an attempt to aid in the designed articulation of that community... in this way designers are often "speakers for".... the closer we are embedded in the community of intent the more we can come to a position of being a good articulator...

Problems arise when part of the community of the project wish to "market" themselves in a particular way, this is difficult because it involves artifice, this is when we as designers might take a "solution" off the shelf, with the correct groove or vibe and apply it, I'm not sure that this even is design.

Design is a bit more like sailing a small dinghy toward a destination, there is a crew, there is an aim, but one can't sail directly toward it, one has to sail with an eye to the wind, changes in the weather, how the crew are coping, how oneself is coping, the tide, other dinghies, the amount of daylight left, etc etc

what do you think? apologies for the long post...

cheers

Neal

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Chris Kueh

Posts: 21 Joined: 12 Oct 2006

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Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:32 am

Thanks Neal,

I absolutely agree with two hands up! Your project sounds very interesting. It is always the biggest challenge to run a successfful awareness campaign, may it be quit-smoking, dont drink and drive.

I think we are talking about the same thing, just that our emphases and terms used might be slightly different. To me, user-centred design does not end with collecting data from the audience; having those knowledge underpinning the entire design process, with active participation from the designer is core too. By saying so, 'gettng the hands dirty' is always one way of doing it. For example, ethnographic studies, and currently the application of second order of cybernetics in design is giving designers just that input. Cybernetics is a study of system's behaviour, including human-human, and human-machine. Second order cybernetics (which is still very new to me) focuses on the idea that the observer should be within the system, rather than an 'outsider'.

Yes, I do agree that we can never design a 100% functional outcome, so to say we cant understand users completely. In fact, that is the very reason and challenge to look into users. Through USD, we can at least include as much user's perspectives in the design process.

I like your analogy of sailing to design. A month ago I had the chance to talk to Prof Ranulph Glanville (he's a frequent visiting professor to RMIT's architecture faculty too, maybe you can meet up with him), his analogy is that design as a conversation, we need to both listen and speak out with the same context of the group. It wont be a good conversation if everyone just talk and no one listening; vice versa, it is not a good conversation if one just listen without contributing. Design, in many sense, need to 'listen' and 'speak out' in the context. And being part of the group is just so very important to do so.

By the way, for your research, here's a book that I came across in my own PhD:

Jorge Frascara (1997), User-centred graphic design: Mass communication and social change. London: Taylor and Francis Ltd

The book talks about understanding audience in advertising campaigns.

Cheers,
Chris

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Neal

Posts: 3 Joined: 05 Dec 2006

Post subject: 2nd order cybernetics

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:17 pm

that 2nd order cybernetics sounds really interesting Chris... I'd like to know more, is it only applicable to IT media? or is that my small mindedness?

I have been looking into, but not really had time to get on top of, Actor Network Theory... this theory hybridized out of the social sciences and the hard sciences in the early 80s... it has also been debunked quite thoroughly by its authors, though I'm not sure why (though perhaps it is because the authors get upset when other people take their sexy new theory and mis-use it)...

from a Latour paper:

Quote:
"ANT is not a theory of the social, it is a theory of a space in which the social has become a certain type of circulation. But then, the consequence is that there is now room for other types of circulations, plenty of places.

Let us have a quick look at the modernist predicament. The whole theory of society is enmeshed into a much more complex struggle to define a pscyhology -an isolated subjectivity still able to comprehend the word out there; an epistemological question about what the world is like outside without human intervention; a political theory of how to keep the crowds in order without them intervening with passions and ruining social order; and finally a rather repressed but very present theology which is the only way to guarantee the differences and the connections between those domains of reality. It is this whole package that is in question.
ANT is not a theory of the social, no more than it is a theory of the subject, or a theory of God, or a theory of nature. It is a theory of the space and fluids circulating in a non-modern situation. What other type of connection can be established between those terms, than the systematic modernist solution? This is, I think clearly the direction of what is `after' ANT and what could begin to solve several of the worries of many of the papers here -I am thinking especially of Hans Harber's piece. "

from:
Keynote Speech: On Recalling ANT
Bruno Latour

John Law and John Hassard (eds),
Actor Network Theory and After, Blackwell, 1998
'Actor Network and After' Workshop, Keele University,
July 1997


this theory was developed by Latour, Michel Callon and John Law... Latour is obviously still involved in design theory and writing... I think it still has a lot to offer in that it includes the agency of the artificial in the descriptions of designed systems along with the human agents, it tries to develop an almost universal theory of a particular system, without purporting to be a model for prediction...

You're right that Ranulph has some great things to offer, hopefully I will be able to catch up with him properly the next time he is at RMIT.

Frascara is interesting, but I always thought his methodology was slightly anti-humanist in that it relied on a quantification of efficacy for it's argument (he always uses the road casualties eg). I think that it is important to try to consider the other (perhaps longer term) effects of a design program (social, psychological, responsibility, etc)....

by the way, I don't want to hijack Nuruls forum, and I realise this is starting to become a chat between Chris and myself, has anyone else got a comment/opinion?

cheers

Neal

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Chris Kueh

Posts: 21 Joined: 12 Oct 2006

Post subject:

Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:31 pm

Thanks Neal for ANT ... i have not yet come across that. I need to dig more from you!

2nd order of cybernetics, i think Ranulph would be the best person to talk to, he's one of the people who started it! I've got a copy of his review in the development of cybernetics.

Neal's right, we are taking over this corner of the forum. And look back to the title of this thread: Designers Journey - Designer vs Clients, think we're abit off track with our discussion of theories. So i think Neal, better for you to contact me via teck14design@gmail.com (so can anyone else who's interested in the heavy theories we are talking about so far). I'll send you list of books that I have in my collection so far. By the way, my phd developed a unified theoretical framework, based on user-centred approaches, to wayfinding map design for city and town environments.

Now, I hand the forum back to Nurul and the others to pull it back to the original string of discussions on the relationships between designers and clients.

Cheers,
Chris

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nurul

Site Admin Posts: 88 Joined: 20 Sep 2006 Location: Melbourne, Australia

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Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:59 pm

Hmm Dear neal and Chris, up to certain point I do think both of you is taking over this corner of the forum Wink Yes, we are a bit out of the original topic, although I must admit, I really enjoyed reading the discussion between both of you.
So after all this long conversation about the designers journey, feeling and experiences, how do this relates to the topic 'Designers' VS Client'?

Hmm..did I manage to get both of you on track now? Shocked
_________________
Nurul


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