22 December 2009

Design Ignites Change: Anchor

Design Ignites Change is a program that challenges students to use design thinking to explore and create solutions for pressing social problems. The Kansas City Art Institute is a founding school in Design Ignites Change, and our entire senior class has being working on individual projects all semester to submit to this program. The deadline is fast approaching (December 31st!) and I'm excited to see the results!

My social change project is called 'Anchor', which could act as a remedy to crime-related issues in and around the campus of KCAI. Anchor lives by it's dictionary definition: "something that provides stability and confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation". It will give students a way to empower themselves, and a feeling of security amidst a crime-ridden neighborhood.

To see more about my project, you can visit my project page on the website.

04 December 2009

MX: Project Two Final

The wireframe final!

What you see when you first go to the site:

The image collage on the left is a big ol' scroll, and when you see a thumbnail you like, you can click on it, annnd...

it opens to a huge image of it. (I still want to implement a slideshow element here, to show multiple views, etc... but time is always an issue. It's happening over winter break!)

You can click anywhere on the screen to close the big image out, and then you can click on any of the text links, like the "see more here" text

and it will take you somewhere special.

"also provide a written description of your intentions for the site -- what you hoped to achieve in its design, rationale for the design decisions you made, what you learned through this process, what you are most proud of, what you struggled most with."

What I hoped I would achieve in it's design:

My main issue was usability. I wanted a website where the user didn't have to learn something new, where they could just see all the information they need right when they get to the site, in a somewhat engaging way, and it was easy to see large detail shots of every work. I think I accomplished these things!

Rational for the design decisions I made:

Well, we weren't supposed to design it at this point... so......... umm. The layout? I wanted it easy to understand, but not the traditional name in the top left hand corner, and content below. I mixed it up a little, and I have a scroll that looks like a loosely gridded collage of my work to show that I'm pretty lighthearted about design... not too serious!

What I learned through the process:

That I actually am capable of staying afloat in Flash!! This was the first time that I actually understood what I was doing, and I did most of it on my own. I was so proud of myself!

What I am most proud of:

see above.

What I struggled with the most:

Not designing it yet. I always always always start with a concept first, then move into design, then into implementation, which is the way all designers operate, right? So it was extremely weird for me and hard to come up with something, when I don't even have a concept to ground it in, or a design to frame it with. It's going to be weird skinning it with something next semester, and I feel like I'll end up having to change the entire layout and everything. But! It was a good experience.

29 November 2009

MX: Reading response 4

reading: "the language of new media" pp 103-115 the screen and the body, representation vs simulation

New concepts learned:

The screen represents the idea of the imprisonment of the body. Because you are watching a screen, your body must remain immobile, in order to watch it. It began with photography, in traditional daguerrotypes, the subjects must remain completely still while the image was exposing. Today, we must sit still in front of computer screens or in the darkness of the movie theater to be able to grasp what is going on in the screen.

Relate the reading to MX projects:

In the reading, the author was talking about the interactivity between the body and the screen. I plan on the users of my portfolio site to use a mouse to be able to click through my work, and navigate the website. It's up to them to decide what they want to see and when, and for how long!

Relate the reading to life beyond MX:

Interestingly, the Wii is allowing us to move beyond the body's imprisonment while watching a screen- for many games on the Wii, you are required to get up and move around your living room in order to interact with the screen. I was also watching a video on the future of Microsoft technology, and they are planning on developing screens that act as newspapers, that can be folded up and read on the go, screens on the side of your coffee mug, on your coffee table, on the walls, and EVERRRRYYWHERRE. With so many screens, it will be easier to move around and not be limited by them, because they will be EVERRYYWHERRE so you can just move 10 feet down the hall, and voila! another screen! (Thank goodness...)

MX: Reading response 3

reading: "the language of new media" pp 94-103 the screen and the user, a screens' genealogy

New concepts learned:

The author phrased the term 'screen' as something much more ubiquitous than I had ever thought the screen could be. He mentioned that the 'screen' has been around ever since the Renaissance, as paintings. He defined the screen as something that showed the existence of another virtual space (enclosed by a frame). I also never realized how long the real screen has been around- beginning with radar. It's the oldest technology, really, of our modern-day sense of the term, and it is becoming more and more widespread with every passing day. Everything needs to have a screen now. Even books. You don't need to actually open up a book and flip through it's pages, they have a screen for that now. It's called Kindle. It's so crazy to think about- how much we rely on screens in our society- we can't go a day without interacting with them, for some of us (most of us?) we can't go a day without needing a screen.

Connections between reading and MX projects:

He talked about how the screen withdraws the users from reality, how they forget about their surroundings, because they are looking 'into' another world. The content is completely filling the screen, and all background noise is eliminated. I want to do the same thing with my portfolio site, so when you are looking at large images of my work, there is nothing else distracting you. I want people looking at my work to be only looking at my work, and hopefully not being distracted by outside sources. To do this, I either want the images to completely fill up the screen, with no other 'chrome' in the way, or darken out all background info, so you don't pay attention to it- whichever i can manage.

Connections between reading and life:

Oh the screen. I'll admit, it's really helping us, by connecting individuals, faster, stronger, better.... and allowing us access to information at a rate so incredibly efficient that we don't feel the need to look anywhere else. It's revolutionizing the way we think about things- a few years ago, we wouldn't have cared how to make better connections between groups of people, because we didn't have the abilities, but now that we do, that's mainly what we concentrate on- social networking, and community-based projects. Interesting. I just hope we don't forget about everything else that's equally important, when we have this bright shiny new thing distracting us!