ah teaches information design (Understanding Context lecture)

Understanding Context

Lecture outline

The importance of research to help understand context in a design process. Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture (Jun 7).

A street sign showing a dinosaur crossing the road

Understanding Context

P2: Layout++

Context

The relationship between a user and all the parts of their environment, as they perceive it.

Layers of Information

  1. Physical: A user's relationship to their environment.
  2. Semantic: Messages or meaning established for others.
  3. Digital: Encoded/computer-centric messaging.

Physical Layer

Methods of interpreting information

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic
A fluorescent orange pylon on a stoney background

Contrast

Comparing readability and legibility in typography

Readability vs. legibility

Different typefaces for testing legibility

Connections and Humans

We're lazy, er, or efficient

"...users have time to read [on average] 20% of words on a page."
Nielson-Norman Group
A sign stating 'If you hit this sign, you will hit that bridge'

Patterns and Chunking

Giving us consistent and reasonable chunks of information makes it easier for us to use.

Patterns and Chunking

A visual example

A title for content
Cupcake ipsum dolor. Sit amet marshmallow topping cheesecake muffin. Halvah croissant candy canes bonbon candy. Apple pie jelly beans topping carrot cake danish tart cake cheesecake.
A subtitle
Muffin danish chocolate soufflé pastry icing bonbon oat cake. Powder cake jujubes oat cake. Lemon drops tootsie roll marshmallow halvah carrot cake.

A title for content
Cupcake ipsum dolor. Sit amet marshmallow topping cheesecake muffin. Halvah croissant candy canes bonbon candy. Apple pie jelly beans topping carrot cake danish tart cake cheesecake.

A subtitle
Muffin danish chocolate soufflé pastry icing bonbon oat cake. Powder cake jujubes oat cake. Lemon drops tootsie roll marshmallow halvah carrot cake.

A title for content

Cupcake ipsum dolor. Sit amet marshmallow topping cheesecake muffin. Halvah croissant candy canes bonbon candy. Apple pie jelly beans topping carrot cake danish tart cake cheesecake.

A subtitle

Muffin danish chocolate soufflé pastry icing bonbon oat cake. Powder cake jujubes oat cake. Lemon drops tootsie roll marshmallow halvah carrot cake.

Bias

"[Our] perspectives are coloured by our habits, beliefs, and attitudes."
Erika Hall

Course bias

So far this course has been biased towards North American/European design. The next project is intended to have you explore some design beyond our context.

Assumptions

Your next project will have you map out your assumptions, and then work on converting them into questions.

Questions we can answer.

Assumptions we cannot.

'Audience'

In earlier courses you may have considered an 'audience' for your designs from a demographic sense. This can be limiting as it can:

  • Run the risk of stereotyping someone
  • Does not help our qualitative insight
  • Demographically similar people can often have different considerations

Research

Ideally, research allows us to move beyond our biases and assumptions to understand the actual individuals.

Primary & Secondary Sources

Good research tends to involve both primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources help illustrate individual experiences or perceptions. These may include:

  • Photographs or video footage
  • Interviews or transcripts
  • Statistical data or empirical studies
  • Newspaper articles
  • Social media posts

Secondary sources help describe, summarize, or evaluate knowledge. These may include:

  • Books or magazines
  • Articles or essays
  • Documentaries or podcasts

Evaluating Sources

We are going to start off by considering a couple of things when evaluating our research sources:

  • Who: Is this person an expert? What demonstrates they are?
  • What: Is this relevant? Does it seem credible in relation to other sources?
  • When: How recent is this material?
P3: Research and Present

For lecture...

For this week's lecture time, please come ready to critique some more sketches.

Next week's lecture

Content Structures

Considering not only the design of content, but the content itself as a part of our process. Pre-recorded lectures and slides will typically become available on Wednesdays.

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