Monday, February 6, 2017

VR ‘Redefining’ How We Design

SAMR: REDEFINITION. Image courtesy of Christina Moore 2017.

In recent years virtual reality (VR) technologies have gained popularity for enhancement of a myriad of industries and experiences. It’s hard to dispute VR has the potential to transform. It’s exciting to consider exploring these technologies for the purpose of education, but before putting VR into practice in the classroom, it’s important to apply the study of theory to VR potential. The SAMR model (substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition) is a great way to apply rather basic theory to VR tech. Although it’s possible VR practitioners and learners can traverse SAMR, based on how VR is used, “redefinition” may be the most impactful way to demonstrate use of these technologies for learning. Redefinition, in regards to SAMR, refers to the ability for technology to “create tasks and ways of learning that were previously inconceivable.” (Technology Is Learning 2014)

From the perspective of a CAD and Interior Design instructor, at a career and technical college, the use of VR for architecture and design is exciting to consider in terms of redefining methods of teaching and learning. Consider students who are studying the histories of design, art, and architecture. The typical way we experience these courses and instruction is to explain history through text and pictorial representation. Imagine being able to virtually walk through a setting relevant to the study of history. This is particularly meaningful for design and art instruction where many times the experience and feeling of such places can not be effectively demonstrated. For example, Mies Van Der Rohe’s Core House is available online as a virtual study. When one applies VR goggles to this it’s possible to engage in the feeling and the experience of the physical space. This redefines how we learn about history by immersion in space rather than mere dictation of what it is like. In effect, students can determine what they discovered through the VR experiences and compare that to historical contexts to make conclusions. The ultimate goal of which, would be to apply their historical experience to actual practice in the design of their own spaces.

Perhaps even more exciting than virtually walking through history, is the ability to shape unique spaces with the use of VR. It’s already possible to model a building in VR, assign materials, and design the furniture and flow of the space. More importantly, the result of VR designs can be experienced in VR by the end users and the designers together, creating greater empathy and connections between them.

Most designers begin to learn how to design by 2D representation on paper and in 3D software. At the same time, designers learn about the dimensions of things, as well as codes, and anthropometrics. Things like standard counter heights, doorways, chairs, tables, ADA requirements, etc. Mostly these things are a given, but when all of the elements are put together, the space transforms into it’s own functional or dysfunctional place. In 2D and 3D softwares, one can only guess through experience and the “mind’s eye” what it would be like to experience the space. However, with VR one can simply assess the space while they are creating it. Rather than critiquing the space post design and planning. Dysfunctional designs and proportions become readily apparent immediately in the VR process. Everything is formatively assessed on the fly, versus a giant summative assessment in the form of a design presentation including plans, diagrams, renderings, etc. The whole design process is flipped, redefining it. Rather than creating plans and sketches first, designers create the space in VR and produce plans last when the space is mutually satisfactory for everyone involved.

Like many new technologies, it may take a while to take hold and become a new standard way of doing and being. For educators this is painfully true when it comes to budget allocation and accessibility for students. Because VR technology combines both hardware and software for use, the cost to implement and upkeep is greater than simply updating the software every year. Other concerns from accessibility standpoint would be students who suffer from motion sickness because of the visual interface, or physical disabilities, or fatigue from prolonged operation of VR devices. The final determining factor of this technology becoming more commonplace may be the willingness of the industry and employers to adopt it. Because of these things, it may be a challenge for VR to take off. However, I remain optimistic because of the ability to redefine the design process and experience.

To learn more about SAMR, check out these UC Denver grad student's blog posts:
The SAMR Model at the Substitution Level Christina Moore Feb. 7th 2017
SAMR what? Alicia Newton, Feb. 7th 2017
Using the SAMR Model at the Modification Level. Allison Sandler Jan. 30th 2017

VR goggles combined with hand-held controllers offers architects "a whole new way of designing" (May, 2016)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pecha Kucha, Resources for Getting Started

The new assignment in INTE 6710 "Creative Designs," is Pecha Kucha. I never heard of it until I took this course. It's essentially 20 slides and 20 seconds of speaking per slide. No fancy animations, moving text, or retro transitions. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to pull this off without being boring in the process, thus, boring the audience. However I know images and inspiration is a good place to start. It would be nice if I had the time to create 20 beautiful slides, be that photography or graphic design, it's not realistic. In the typical work place there would be creative design and writing departments who could pour hours into this sort of content. Fortunately at this time in digital history there are massive libraries of photos and graphics that are available for use given the correct attribution and license such as creative commons. I don't often look for content like this and I do prefer to make my own images but thanks to some resources I've found on Canva I've found some promising leads and inspiration.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Story Without Words

A photo exercise in telling a story with only 5 photos. What's the story?

(c) Kirk Lunsford 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Graphic Design is WAY More Complex Than Just CARP

This week in INTE 6710 "Creative Designs," our class dove into understanding CARP, or contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity. There are many other deeply embedded meanings in simple graphics that evoke responses in the viewer, even if subconscious or subliminal. There's color, gestalt, symmetry, asymmetry, texture, scale, etc. All these things we pretty much take for granted in the modern era where we are bombarded with imagery, mostly well done thanks to capitalism. Embedded in the psyche of each person living in the modern world is the "taste" or ability to discern what looks good or what looks bad. Just like listening to music, there are rules to be followed and we all know it when we hear a good tune versus a bad one. We may not be able to describe why the music, or the image or design is out tune, but we know a bad design when we see one.

In order to describe visual design to make what works and what does not clear, people living in the modern era should develop some sense of vocabulary and knowledge of these graphic design terms. In fact, anyone who chooses to post original visual works, pictures, videos, drawings, logos, etc. is a media producer. And media producers (anyone) in the modern era has more power than ever to let their voice be heard by what is seen, heard, and distributed across vast networks around the world. This inspires me and amazes me everyday, and is a strong focus in my work.

Last year, about this time, I created a Google + page for Designing To Learn, a brand I came up with while in graduate school, to focus on digital and design literacy. I still use this Google + page with my students both online and face to face. There are tons of valuable resources out there to help us understand design and what makes us "tick" and what "sticks." Today I would like to share that resource as well as a few others that may help us better understand some design terms and theories to help us make an info-graphic in INTE 6710.

Check out the Google + page for Designing to Learn

Three sources to begin to understand design terms and theory:

50 Design Terms Explained Simply For Non-Designers

Simplicity, Symmetry and More: Gestalt Theory And The Design Principles It Gave Birth To

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Designing With CARP in Mind: Analysis of an Example Info-graphic

INTE 6710 Journal Entry 3

Figure 1
For this journal entry, I wanted to look at an example of a successful info-graphic, somewhat related to the subject matter I chose to explore for an info-graphic of my own. I discovered an info-graphic on Pinterest to create awareness and "call to action" World Backup Day 2012. The Pinterest link can be found here and the website link for the original showing of the info-graphic found here. I applied the CARP principles, or contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity. I "marked up" the info-graphic to indicate where we can see CARP. I then broke the info-graphic out into segments to call attention to how each principle was applied.

Fig 1: At the top of the info-graphic we can see alignment and proximity work together to create a text title unit for the info-graphic. This is the largest text on the graphic. Interestingly, in the top corner a logo breaks the alignment and expands off the page. This creates interest and the arrow pointing to "UP" draws the eye in there. This is an example of "breaking the rules" to call attention to something. Indeed just the application of CARP is not enough. Every now and then the rules can be broken to create something dynamic.

Figure 2

Fig 2: Contrast, repetition, and alignment work together to create an array of graphics to demonstrate the differences between frequency of back-ups as people choose to do this daily, weekly, or monthly. The use of these principles in this way quickly communicates the concept: people don't back up enough.

Figure 3

Fig 3: This image shows three different groupings of images and text where principles are applied. We can see contrast and repetition working well to show the scale of the different terms we use to describe memory. Alignment and repetition are used again with the bar graph to show the passage of time and amount of data created per each year. Alignment is very important here to create a fair representation per each bar. Below the bar graph, a collection of graphics showing envelopes, documents, movies, etc. create a proximity grouping to show a unit meaning all types of data.

Figure 4

Fig4: Repetition of the arrows and the piggy bank graphic, as well as the use of scale, are used to demonstrate the difference in amount of money it would take to back up data in 2005 compared to 2011. Contrast and color was used to draw attention to "FOOL" and create emphasis there in efforts to "call to action." That it would be foolish to not backup your data.

The complete info-graphic for viewing without interruption.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Keep Calm and "Sticky" Like a Boss

INTE 6710 Journal Entry 2

After the "SUCCES" exercise this week, inspired by The "SUCCES" checklist, by Chip & Dan Heath, or "Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story,  I was able to narrow down the catch phrase for the infographic to be "Keep calm and save on (the right way!)," or "Save like a boss avoid data loss."

The first phrase, "Keep calm..." seems somewhat trending in social media. Interestingly, the term originated from British propaganda during the beginning of the second world war (hence the crown) often seen. The original phrase was "Keep calm and carry on." The wikipedia entry and original poster can be seen here: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. To get some idea of how this propaganda phrase has exploded in social media, just check out this Pinterest search on the phrase.

The second phrase, "Save like a boss avoid data loss," is catchy, leet, and rhythmic. There are some "sticky" components embedded and "like a boss..." is trendy. This phrase can be seen on social media as caption for thousands of memes. To get an idea, here's what came up on Pinterest for "Like a boss." For this expression, "Like a boss," we turn to Urban Dictionary to help figure out the origin and meaning. For everyone's viewing pleasure, I've included the "Like a Boss" SNL skit as seen on YouTube. It's the clean version because the uncensored is really NSFW!

With the ties to social media and culture, as well as humor appropriate for college-aged or adult students I think the "Like a boss" phrase has some potential given the audience. It adds a humor element to an already possibly stressful environment, the computer lab. Similarly, "Keep calm..." also acts to subdue, or remind students to chill out and get it done right. I'm excited to explore both ideas some more before moving into more detail.

"Made To Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die." Heath, Chip; Heath Dan. Random House 2007-2008.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

INTE 6710 "Creative Designs" Ideation Journal Entry 1

So I need to make an info-graphic for a graduate class assignment. I'm also an instructor of CAD and design and I'm shocked at the poor work and saving habits of most students in the labs or classrooms. I'm sure I'm not the only instructor who has had students drop due to "losing data" or computer files. To help remedy this, why not make an info-graphic to post in the labs and classrooms to remind students about the best ways to save and back up their data?

After reading week one reading assignments, I was really engaged in the process and analysis of ways to make ideas "stick." The "SUCCES" checklist, by Chip & Dan Heath, or "Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story was a great way to help me think through some "one liners" or catch phrases to introduce the info-graphic to my audience. I used the checklist to create an ideation exercise for myself to present ten different catch phrases and info-graphic ideas. I think there are a couple that are "sticky." What do you think? How do they rate in terms of "SUCCES"?