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Design is inevitable December 2, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in text.
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Design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design — not no design at all. Everyone takes design decisions all the time without realizing it and good design is simply the result of making these decisions consciously, at the right stage, and in consultation with others as the need arises.

Douglas Martin, Book Design


Interplanetary Internet November 21, 2008

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Technology surprises me everyday. And look who’s involved: Google!
Read below:

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers have successfully tested the first deep space communications network based on the Internet, using the Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit dozens of images to and from a spacecraft more than 20 million miles from Earth.

NASA and Google’s Vint Cerf jointly developed the DTN protocol, which replaces the Internet’s TCP/IP protocol for managing data transmissions. “This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications capability, an interplanetary Internet,” says NASA’s Adrian Hooke.

An interplanetary Internet needs to be strong enough to withstand delays, disruptions, and lost connections that space can cause. For example, errors can happen when a spacecraft slips behind a planet, or when solar storms or long communication delays occur. Even traveling at the speed of light, communications sent between Mars and Earth take between three-and-a-half minutes to 20 minutes.

Unlike TCP/IP, DTN does not assume there will be a constant end-to-end connection. DTN is designed so that if a destination path cannot be found, the data packets are not discarded but are kept in a network node until it can safely communicate with another node. In October, engineers started a month-long series of demonstrations, with data being transmitted using NASA’s Deep Space Network twice a week. Researchers say the interplanetary Internet could allow for new types of complex space missions that involve multiple landed, mobile, and orbiting spacecraft, as well as ensure reliable communications for astronauts on the surface of the moon.

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To design, by Paul Rand November 10, 2008

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To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit, it is to add value and meaning, to iluminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse.

Paul Rand
From Design, Form and Chaos

Elegance and simplicity September 21, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in text.
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Here’s a passage from the book Desiging Visual Interfaces that I’m currently reading. This book is from 1995 and still today most designers seem not to understand and apply these concepts.

Elegance derives from latin “eligere” meaning to “choose out” or “select carefully”.

Elegant solutions reveal an intimate understanding of the problem and an ability to ensure that its essence is grasped by the consumers as well.

Simplicity plays a central role in all timeless designs. The most powerful designs are always the result of a continuous process of simplification and refinement. Before you do anything else to improve the quality of a design, make sure you have reduced its formal and conceptual elements to the absolute minimum. The benefits of simplicity are functional as well as aesthetic in nature.

  • Approachability: Product support immediate use or invite further exploration.
  • Recognizability: Presenting less visual information to the viewer makes a design more easily assimilated, understood and remembered.
  • Immediacy: Simple designs have greater impact than complex designs because they can be immediately recognized and understood with a minimum of conscious effort.
  • Usability: Improving the approachability and memorability of a product necessarily enhances usability as well. Simple designs that eliminate unnecessary variation or detail make the variation that remains more prominent and informative.

Usability Guidelines January 29, 2007

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From the book “Interactivity by design – Creating & Communicating with New Media”, Ray Kristof & Amy Satran

1. Remove obstacles

– Let people interact with the content as directly as possible
– Give them simple routes to the information they are looking for

2. Minimize effort

– Keep related controls close together
– Put frequently used buttons in places that are easy to reach in relation to other items on the screen

3. Give feedback

– Feedback should be both appropriate and immediate (for example, responding to mouse clicks with a sound and highlighting items that have been selected)

4. Be explicit

– Make it obvious what is clickable on the screen and what is not. Objects that look like buttons should act like buttons. If images have hot areas, make sure they are distinct from the rest of the image

5. Be flexible

– Make all media (sounds, movie , animation) interruptible
– Make it easy to quit at any time, from anywhere, by using the computer’s standard keyboard shortcuts for quitting

6. Be forgiving

– Don’t create conditions where users have to “do the right thing” before they can move on

Interaction continuum January 29, 2007

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interaction_continuum.jpgThis continuum represents the range of possible user interaction and specifies the kinds of things that users can control. It’s a vocabulary of interaction that can help you express your goals in basic terms.

Extracted from the book “Interactivity by Design: Creating & Communicating with New Media” by Ray Kristof & Amy Satran

The power of interactivity January 29, 2007

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Extracted from the book “Interactivity by Design: Creating & Communicating with New Media” by Ray Kristof & Amy Satran