Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Application Definition Statement

The Edgewater Hotel – Guest App

1. List All the Features You Think Users Might Like
·       Ability to check in/out to hotel via mobile device
·       Ability to make reservations at the Six Seven Restaurant
·       Order room service
·       Contact concierge desk
·       See nearby attractions
·       View maps/routes to nearby locations
·       View nearby shopping/dining
·       View hours of hotel amenities
·       Map of hotel
·       View menus for the Six Seven restaurant and bar
·       Ability to make reservations for future stays
·       Ability to view hotel packages and special pricing
·       Ability to pay bill at the end of stay
·       Ability to make reservations for future banquets/receptions

2. Determine Who Your Users Are
The users of this application would be people who are staying or who are considering staying at the Edgewater Hotel.

3. Filter the Feature List Through the Audience Definition
Main Features: Check In/Out, Utilize hotel amenities, See nearby attractions
Application Definition Statement: “Enhancing guests’ stay at the Edgewater and allowing them to enjoy every feature the hotel has to offer”.

4. Don’t Stop There
Use your application definition statement throughout the development process to determine the suitability of features, controls, and terminology.
Guests will want this app to help enhance their stay at the Edgewater. The Edgewater is a hotel that has earned many accolades, and this will help guests enjoy every feature that the hotel has to offer. Its design will be rich and luxurious, matching the look and feel of the Edgewater’s luxury-lodge feel. This app will help guests avoid long lines at guest services, and the hassle of calling the busy food services lines. This app will also allow guests to make the most out of their visit to Seattle, and will enable them to find their way to attractions, and then back to the hotel, with ease. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 8 Reading

This chapter was a great one to read this week as we start our phone app project (which I'm sure was your intention!). As a iPhone user, I have experience with both good and bad apps. And I also agreed with what the reading said about app design, especially the part about the app working with the OS to have the same motions and reactions that the OS users are used to. What I like about (most) apps that I get is that it is so obvious to me how to use them, because they all work basically the same, with the same motions that my iPhone uses. Also, because they all mostly follow these same rules, they are all similar in style and this makes it was easier to control the app.
I also liked the section about app icons and artwork. I think that this is a huge selling point when it comes to apps. I am definitely guilty of judging an app by its cover. I have generally noticed that apps with ugly or  generic icons are usually not very good apps, because the rest of the app is designed just as sloppily as the icon. Also I think that people generally like their apps to look really cool because they spent a lot of money to have their smart phone, and they want their apps to match the polished look of their phone.
Aside from looking nice, the app also has to function correctly. Nothing is more annoying than downloading an app (especially downloading a purchased app) that crashes or does not load correctly.

I wanted to share some apps that I think work really great, and are designed really nicely as well!
(I obviously couldn't link the app directly to this blog, so I found some screenshots to share so that you can see what they look like!

Of course, everything that Starbucks does is beautiful. But their app is very easy to use and the illustrative nature of the app totally matches the brand. I love this app and use it all the time!

I recently saw this redesign of LinkedIn's app on an online design blog. I love the fun, yet professional look of the app. Plus, it's super easy to use. 

This is a cool app that I recently discovered that allows you to turn the photos that you take with your phone into customized comic strips. You can take any photo, and add different comic book filters, paper options, color options, captions and more to your photo. This is a fun app that has a really awesome look and feel. Follows the comic book look all the way!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 6 Reading

I found this week's reading to be really interesting, and I have to admit, I have never really thought about web accessibility for people with disabilities. Now that I am thinking about it, it seems so obvious, of course people who are blind or have other disabilities would want to use the internet too, but I had never really thought about what we need to do as designers to make that experience more user friendly to those individuals. Also, I liked what the author said about making the web usable for not just people with disabilities, but also those who are not as web savvy as we are and may find something that we see as obvious to be very confusing. It makes sense to have a website design to have the ability to reach as many people as possible with its information, because the easier it is for one person to use it, the more people will ultimately become frequent users of the site.
Even for someone who is computer savvy, there are still sites out there that are confusing and makes the user unsure of what to do next. An example of this is when I went online to pay my garbage bill last week, using my local garbage company's brand new online bill pay for the first time. I chose to pay online to avoid the twenty minute drive to the office, or the usual ten or fifteen minutes I have to wait on hold on the phone until someone can take my call. When I got to the part where I actually pay my bill, I ran into a problem. I had my current bill and my due bill overlapping, making the payment double what I was due to pay this month. I selected to pay, and instead of taking me to a screen to ask how much I wanted to pay or letting me select an option, a pop up came up that only said "pay my bill" and a confirm button and a cancel button. I was unsure at this point what to do. Will pushing "confirm" bring me to the section I was looking for where I could select the amount I wanted to pay, or would it charge the amount for both months on the checking account I had already entered? I didn't want to pay double, and I didn't like the risk, so I ended up canceling and calling to pay my bill, which resulted in me waiting the usual 10 minutes and wasting all the time I had spent setting up my account online.
This really taught me a lesson about web usability and the necessity of thinking every step through and making it obvious to your customer about what actions they should take next, and that no matter how web savvy someone may be, if something is confusing, they will be just as lost as everyone else.

This week, I found some sites that had good usability that I think would work for everyone (or at least most!).

Verizon Wireless
I like this website because, as one of their customers, I have always found that they have the best and easiest online bill pay that I have ever used. I have never had a problem navigating through this site, and the fact that my Grandma pays her phone bill online through Verizon shows a lot about this site's usability.

Besides being one of my favorite sites to "window shop", Etsy has a great and simple usability that I think would allow anyone to use and purchase items with little issue. When completing a check out process, Etsy shows you up front before you enter any information, to see the price of an item including it's shipping (unlike a lot of other sites) and that way there are no surprises once it is too late to go back without canceling your entire order.

Ok, so it definitely isn't the most beautiful site on the internet, but Craigslist has proven through all of its users that it is a site that is simple and easy to navigate. It is easy to find things and inquire about them through the seller, and it is simple to sell things as well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 5 Reading

This week's reading on usability testing was really interesting and informative. I really liked how the author added the section about what actually happens during a usability testing situation, because I knew what usability testing was, but I did not know what should be said to the person doing the testing during the actual situation. I thought that some really good advice was offered during the two chapters this week. The author said that often times, designers do not like to share their unfinished work until they are at a stage of near completion. I think that this is a very true statement, and that I think I am often guilty of this as well. However, it is a good point to consider that the more people who look at your design early on, the more likely you are to find any issues quickly, and have the ability to make the necessary changes to the design before it gets to close to the end and you run out of time. I liked his idea to use the "cubicle test", which was the process of showing a sketch or draft of a design to the person in the cubicle next to you and getting their feedback. Although I do not have a cubicle, I think that this is a process that I could definitely start employing with my fellow students and teachers. I could even start showing more design work to people who are not in the design community to start looking at some of my in-process work because, at the end of the day, those people are the target audience for design. This was something that I had never occurred to me before. It seemed like showing my work to fellow designers was the best way to get a critique on something, and maybe even get some new ideas from them. But now I think that it is just as (if not more) important to show them to the people who will see them and not be able to break them down into techniques, styles, or any "design speak" like fellow designers can, and just simply see their initial reaction. All in all, I think that these chapters had great advice, and I will be utilizing this new advice from now on!

I think that the biggest frustration for me as a user, is the navigation portion of the site, and I also think that it is one of the most important portions of a site, and can easily become confusing. I found two sites that I think have great user experiences, and one that definitely does not.

Bed Bath and Beyond
This site has always irritated the hell out of me, due to its errors in usibility in regards to the menu bar. When you hover over a category, an additional subcategory menu comes out the side. And then another sub category menu comes out of that. When I went on the site today to link it to this post, I noticed that they now have an option to "turn menus off". Obviously, if they need to take the time to turn the menus off because people are so frustrated at them, they should just be removed.

Journeys has a site that I think provides a really clear and user friendly user experience, even with all of the visual noise that is happening on the site. Whenever you hover over a link, it highlights yellow and in some cases, brings up a drop down menu, which stays there until you click away (unlike Bed Bath and Beyond) and gives great options to filter your search for the shoes that you're looking for. Even though there is a lot going on in the site, I think that it works well with the company's audience and the attitude that they have, and I think that they have a pretty well made website.

American Eagle
Besides the fact that I love all of the clothes that American Eagle sells, I also really love their website. I think that it is organized very well and has great usability. Instead of dealing with drop down menus that close if you hover too far away, American Eagle has everything listed in categories, so that the user can easily find what they are looking for. As you hover over the links, they are lit up to show what you are going to be clicking on, and that category remains highlighted so that you really know where you are. The shopping cart is located in the bottom right corner, and stays stationary even while scrolling through pages. I like this because I think that people will appreciate the fact that they can see their shopping cart at all times and can manage it more easily. I think that this site has great navigation, making it have a great user experience.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mood Board - ECommerce Redesign

Project Statement - E-Commerce

    Create a list of all users that may visit your site
Anyone who is looking to purchase baked goods online, for any celebration, who is old enough to order online with a credit card. People do not have the time or skill to bake their own baked goods, or go to a local bakery. They can save time by ordering online.
.    What will each of those users want to see in order to enjoy their visit to your site?
Photographs of baked goods, ingredient lists, prices, special offers
.    Name your intended audience 
The working person who wants to have the quality of home baked goods, but no time to execute them themselves. 
.    Describe what you need to inform and persuade them of:
                        Promote my: Baked goods that are for sale
                        Goals of the site are: To sell baked goods, and provide quality product
                        My ultimate message/philosophy (about who you are): Our product will save you time, and will be enjoyed by whoever will be eating it.
                        What is the story you are telling? It is okay if you do not have time to bake yourself, because you can order quality baked goods from 1-800-bakery.com.
.    Write a 200 word concept statement based on the user, your persuasion, navigation and the assets.

We want to create a site that is easy to navigate, full of high quality pictures of baked goods that drag people in without shouting at them, or overwhelming them with offers. The current site is too overwhelming and may push people away with how confusing it is. We want to make the site have better navigate and categorizing of information so that people can find what they are looking for easily, without being bombarded with every single offer that the site has at the time. Our user is a working professional who has limited time, or limited skills or space, to bake their own baked goods, but wants to enjoy a quality product either themselves, or as a gift. 1-800-bakery.com will provide just that! The quality of the product makes the price worth it, as well as the time you will save. The current site has a lot of problems that are overwhelming the customer, with pop-up windows and surveys, links and drop down menus that do not work, and a lot of information at once. We will redesign the site to reflect the ease of ordering and the convenience that 1-800-bakery.com will provide. 

Week 4 Reading

This week's reading was about home pages and how to make them the most effective. I think that this chapter was very helpful during my analysis of my e-commerce website design. The website that Whitney and I chose to do for our e-commerce redesign has the most horrible homepage ever. It has so much going on, and the viewer has no idea where to look first, or where to go to find what they are looking for, and that is why Whitney and I chose to redesign 1-800-bakery.com.
I think that the homepage is the most important part of a website because it tells the user what their experience is going to be like. For example, with 1-800-bakery.com, the user's first experience with the site is a bunch of crazy boxes with different offers in them, and with that first experience, the user will feel like the whole site would be confusing and full of information that will be hard to navigate.

I found some sites with really horrible homepages (including my e-commerce site!)

1-800-bakery.com (for obvious reasons!)

walmart.com (I know that this website is actually pretty organized, but all of the scrolling words, pictures and flashes of video makes my head hurt!)

And, strangely, I think that webpagesthatsuck.com has a pretty crappy homepage, and all the blue links make me not even want to explore the site further.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear Whitney Mack,

Since I am still on vacation and have a lack of WiFi and am on my mom's tiny tiny netbook trying to finish my homework, I thought I would post some e-commerce sites that I found for our next projects. Just found some ideas for our redesign so that I could feel like I'm contributing!

I found:

Just some ideas, I'm sure you found some too. Don't really care what we do, just let me know what you want to do!

Week 3 Reading

Even though this week's chapter about navigation was VERY long, I found a lot of the information very interesting and very important to learn. What I really liked about learning so much about navigation was that, even though the author of our book focused on website interfaces and their navigation, I thought that a lot of the information could be applied to print work as well. It is all about putting information in places where people will easily see it, and easily be able to go back, and easily know where they currently are. I have seen many websites where the navigation is very unorganized and hard to figure out. Also, I hate the search bars on some sites, because you never find what you're looking for. But I found when I was designing my portfolio site that navigation is the hardest thing to design in a website because if the navigation is bad or confusing, the whole site is rendered useless, no matter how "pretty" it is. I think that putting the focus on the navigation is the most crucial point, and should be priority number one when creating a website. As I said earlier, the same priniples can be applied to print design, because the whole idea is getting information across while looking well designed and beautiful. If the information is hard to find, or is confusing, just like a website, it will be rendered useless.

In the spirit of our upcoming e-commerce project, I found an e-commerce site with good navigation.

In the spirit of my current vacation at the beach, I looked at the Malibu Rum site and found I liked it's clear and simple navigation
Malibu Rum

I also think that Expedia's site has really clear and concise navigation

Personal Site - Case Study

Still gone away on vacation this week, so will not be in class. But here is my final case study for my personal site.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 2 Reading

I think that this week's reading had a lot of really good information. I thought that the information about "nesting" in sites and reducing the amount of words used on a site are very simple ways to improve a website by 100 percent. I think that a lot of times, as designers, we get caught up in an idea that we have to make every single project we work on an innovative, ground breaking new design, but in reality, that is just not the case. I really liked the point that the author made about using design elements that work, and have stood the test of time, rather than making every project you make look like a circus. I like simplicity and I think that is what consumers and clients like as well. If something is too confusing, or takes too much thinking to find what they are looking for, no one is going to spend very much time on a website. Another point that the author made that I really thought was great was the example with the Verizon survey and reducing words. At the beginning of the chapter, the quote about cutting in half the amount of words you're using, then cut them in half again, I thought that was impossible. How would anyone get the proper information? But I really saw how the same exact point got across with way less words. It's all about organization, and where information should go so that people can find it if they need it, but every single piece of information is not sitting there on the homepage for them to sort through.
Still really enjoying this book, I think that I have learned more from this book than any other assigned reading that I have had so far!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Concept Statement

(I wasn't sure if this is the one you wanted posted, or the last one I posted, so I'm posting both!)  

   Create a list of all users that may visit your site (not from the WWW but those you’d invite).
I want my site to be visited by potential employers, potential clients for freelance work, and anyone interested in design
.    What will each of those users want to see in order to enjoy their visit to your site?
The users will want to see my work and my personality through my work. They will want to see that I am professional and do good quality work. 
.    Name your intended audience (the person(s) you need to persuade.)
My intended audience is potential employers and clients
.    Describe what you need to inform and persuade them of:
                        Promote my: Graphic Design work
                        Goals of the site are: To show my skills and abilities as a designer and my showcase my resume and accomplishments and experience
                        My ultimate message/philosophy (about who you are): My ultimate message is that I am a person with skill and creativity who would be an ideal fit for any job or project
                        What is the story you are telling? I am telling my story of my style and level of craftsmanship in my work. 
.    Write a 200 word concept statement based on the user, your persuasion, navigation and the assets.
.    List the assets you need to persuade the user: Which 7 (minimum) projects? scans of what?, photos of what objects? images from what computer graphics program? what descriptive text? list them.
.    For the purpose of structuring your website portfolio pages, list the categories of work you will show. (for a Photographer, for example, it may be portrait, product, sports photography categories).

Concept Statement:
My website will be easy to use, simple to navigate and will first and foremost, show my work. I do not want my site to be overdesigned, or full of stuff, I simply want it to show my work and my resume. I do not think that a portfolio website should have to be crazy and over the top creative, sometimes simpler is better, and I do not want my work to be overshadowed by a website full of bells and whistles. Navigation will be simple, with only a few buttons and will be very organized. My users will respond well to this layout because many people have to look at tons of designer portfolios everyday, and the easier mine is to use, the more likely that a potential employer or client will be able to quickly look through all of my work. This will help achieve my overall goal of being hired to do design work because more of my work will be seen by potential employers. My work will be displayed through the use of photos and descriptions of the project requirements or background. I will also have several views of the same project listed in thumbnail form underneath the main photo so that users can see the project at all angles. I am not sure which projects I am going to feature yet, but all of them will fit into one of three categories: Print, Identity and Web. 

Sketches for my Personal Site

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Project Statement

Project Statement for my Portfolio Website

I want to show the viewers of my website the style and quality of work that I do, and my abilities and skills as a graphic designer. I want my portfolio website to display not only my work, but my personality and professionalism as well.
Target Audience:
Potential employers, fellow designers, and those interested in design
After viewing my site, I would like potential employers to want to hire for work, and for fellow designers to offer advice and guidance.
I do not yet have very much work that is ready to be displayed
Key Benefit:
Potential employers and fellow designers will have the opportunity to see my work and what I am capable of.
Support Statement:
If my site design is successful, I will have opportunities to gain work experience and exposure
Clean, simple, and profession, with interesting work displayed

Mood Board for My Personal Website

Week 1 Reading

I found the reading from this week to be very interesting because it addressed something that seems so obvious about design, yet was something that I had never really thought about: Being simply obvious. I think that a lot of design that we have seen and that is shown to us as students as being exceptionally conceptual design was all very un-simple. The chapters that were assigned this week really helped me with my first project for this class, designing my personal website. After reading, I don't feel as bad or lame for wanting a really simple website with no bells or whistles, just my work.
I think that the most important thing I learned in this week's reading is that people are not going to take the time to read through an entire website, even if it is well written and good information. The truth is, people don't want to take the time to read through tons of text, they just want to get where they want to go and read the part they want to read. Because of this, I found how important it is to have a site with minimal text and clear, easy to find buttons and links. I learned that the more simple, easy to use, and organized a page is, people will get the information they need easier and quicker, and it makes the entire site seem better as a whole.
So far, I find this textbook to be really interesting and enjoyable (which is strange in itself; liking a textbook) and will provide me with really good information that I can use in class in my assignments, and also outside of class in my other classes as well.

I also found some really inspiring portfolio websites this week, and all of them have that simple, clean, and organized look that I am going for in my own portfolio site.

 Taddeo Zacchini
Garren Lamson

& my all-time favorite graphic designer with my favorite site EVER
Jessica Hische