Informational Technology Observation Journal

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For this grad class task, we were asked to:

Observation/Sketch Journal

The design process starts with observation. Whether they are print, digital, or visual, many of the texts you encounter every day contain both verbal (textual) and visual (images, icons, symbols) components that strive to capture your attention. For the next two weeks, I’d like you to practice looking. Use the questions below to help you get started.
    • What do you see and why do you notice it?
    • How does the layout shape the message?
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why?
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have?
    • What audience do you think the design addresses?
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something?
    • What you have about the design's purpose and audience?
Between January 16-28, 2014, I will ask you to make daily observations about the designs you find in the environments you encounter while shopping, while studying, while partying, while driving, while doing anything you normally do. Record these observations in a journal daily. Entries should be descriptive and detailed. Connect your observations to thePractices of Looking reading.

I am using the blog as an alternative to a traditional journal.

I started by using Paper (by fiftythree.com; an app I love). Here were the first few days of observations:

Click on the photos for a larger view





I then decided to change it up a bit and take photographs (with descriptions): 


Jan 21 iPhone Screen Design (I know the date says 29, but I needed a clearer picture)
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? I notice the apps, with rounded edges and the colors (bright, vivid colors) in the designs. There are also shading techniques used to make a 3D effect).
    • How does the layout shape the message? The message is simplicity: everything is simple, easy to see, so it must me easy to use. 
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? Proximity (use every day) with the light from behind the glass affects my attention - I can (and have) looked at it for long periods of time without losing attention.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? I think the greens stand out the most, they are brighter.
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? The technophile, Mac user, and smartphone audience. 
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? I think the elements are representative of the types of people that want to use it (I am very-much-so being biased). 
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? The purpose it to re-attract previous buyers, and to seduce the new markets.


Jan 22 Ford consumer magazine cover
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? First noticed the FORD in bold, top left. The contrast of white on blue made it stand out more than other text (blue on blue). The red truck kind of blended into the trailer, so I missed it. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? Title at top leads your eye down the page to the title of the main story, followed by the bold truck (in red). 
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? The magazine is ineffective for me. It was a piece of "junk mail" that just hasn't been recycled yet. *Although, if junk mail didn't work, companies wouldn't pay for it.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The red is the first color noticed because it doesn't match the rest of the blues in the design.
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? The magazine is delivered to current customers, but potentially to customers looking for a new vehicle. 
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? The title and cover photo lead me to think about the rest of the magazine being about trucks. 
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? The proximity of the text in the center draws my eye there, and I conclude the Super Duty is the focus of this text.

Jan 23 Okoboji magazine Resort Directory page
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The two-tone scheme and repetition. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? The message is to list the different places to stay, the layout does this alphabetically for ease of use (cultural perception comes into play with that).
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? This is one page of a large, promotional magazine intended to get people to go to Okoboji. In the grand scheme of things, it works.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The light purple/blue and white space are intended to separate the listings, so effective. 
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? Potential visitors to the area.
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? With the icons on the top, and alphabetical listing, the informative text attracts the customers to the area.
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? Stated above.
Jan 24 Baby book cover / tabs
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The many colors! Very bright and pliable. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? The message is this is a learning book for infants, the layout with colors and shapes (tabs) make it easy to grab and with large pictures it's easy to see.
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? Very effective for young children, and the adults reading to them.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The yellow of the ducks stand out because of their size. You can see all of the other bright colors in the tabs as well. This draws the attention of the child. 
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? Infants and their parents.
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? The similarity in the tabs shapes shows the function is similar.
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? The purpose and audience are consistent. 
Jan 25 HOA funds request
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The groupings of text in a standard "Memo" format. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? This tells me that it is (supposed to be) an official document. 
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? It was effective because it wasn't in our mailbox, but at our front door. Might have skimmed over it if it was electronic or with our other mail. 
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The white of the paper and the black contrasting text. 
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? Homeowners.
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? The format of the text, left justification, grouping at the top (and bottom below the line) lead me to think of this as an "official" document worth my time to read.
    • What you have about the design's purpose and audience? The alignment of the text (as mentioned) shows coherence in the message. 


Jan 26 Comic book (Spider-Man) spread
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The blacks of the inking gives a dark mood to the pages. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? The comic layout is very distinct, thus the message is that this is a comic and has a story. 
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? Again, because this is a comic, the medium is definitely effective in getting my attention. 
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The blacks of the shading, and the red of the hair. This provides contrast and shading. 
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? The standard comic reader.
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? The comic presents a standard order for reading from left to right/up to down. 
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? The design is exactly what the audience is accustomed to and wants.
Jan 27 Parents Magazine page
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The photo in the top right corner of the child crying, because the child is crying (emotional response) and it is dominant on the page - minus the ad at the bottom. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? The intended material is the story beginning (in the right column) with the photo leading into it. The text on the left (and the ad below) get in the way. 
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? Effective for the consumer of the magazine.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The red in the advertisement stands out, and the pea-green also provides a contrast to the black and white.
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? Parents searching for help with their children. 
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? I concluded that the advertisement was more important to the magazine than the story.
    • What you have about the design's purpose and audience? Using visual culture, the magazine is playing to the intended audience of parents to get their attention.

Jan 28 Omaha World Herald front page
    • What do you see and why do you notice it? The flag photo in center because of its size and location. 
    • How does the layout shape the message? The title of the paper is in the top portion of the page, with a large photo above the fold. Text surrounds the page - making this obviously a newspaper.
    • How does the medium affect your attention? Is it effective or ineffective? Why? The newspaper grabs my attention because I'm a journalism teacher.
    • What colors stand out and why? What effect is this design intended to have? The red/white/blue of the flag draw your eye from the contrast to black and white of text. 
    • What audience do you think the design addresses? Locals to the area and newspapers readers.
    • What elements & arrangements in the design led you to conclude something? Very few photos in the center of the page led me to think that the ones there are for emphasis purposes. 
    • What you have learned about the design's purpose and audience? The purpose of this design is to inform an audience. No advertisements on the front page draw the audience in. 

Lindquist

Author

I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.

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