Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Auckland Cultural Institutions
“Above are the Auckland Cultural Institutions: Top left Auckland Art Gallery, Bottom left Auckland Museum, Top right Motat and the Auckland Zoo at the bottom right corner”.
In my final year, I joined the Hybrid Practice Group (Rest Interactive Group) tasked with creating a mobile application for the Auckland Cultural Institutions. I am using a User Centered Design(UCD)(designing for the users needs). My aim is to focus on conceptualizing graphic design elements that will appeal not just to my targeted audience (elderly/late adults, 50 and above) but to create a universal design. The challenge is to keep the shapes, layout, text and colors simple, considering the complexities of the design elements and its impact towards the market and users.
My goal is to create a successfully appealing and user-friendly mobile application design that will stand out in the market. A design that communicates to it’s users, a design that sums up all the graphic elements and principles to achieve a much richer and solid user interface content/context. To achieve these things, I will consider scale, to cater to my targeted audience giving them options to cater their comforts. Unity is also considered on the pages to achieve consistency.The mobile application should also give the users a fun and better way of learning and experiencing the institutions mentioned earlier. Although my initial role as a practicing Graphic Design student in this project, is to conceptualize icons for the application, I have also broaden my knowledge and skills on producing design layouts, posters, user interface designs(Rest Interactive team are: Ryan, Tee, San and Myself).
Visualizing, sketching and refining ideas digitally are the key areas that interest me the most. Branding logos, icons, posters and advertising has always had an appeal for me and will most likely be the direction I will be taking. This has likewise influenced my Graphic Design practice because of the influence by various designers in different fields. On this blog, I will walk you through my process and progress step by step to understand what I am/was intending to achieve. User testing my survey was one of the most influential stage on this project, as it gave me a broader knowledge on people’s behaviors, reading skills, and identification of icons.
RESEARCH (USER TESTING-SURVEY)
“Testing visibility, readability and icon functions”
“Here are some of the few points that I brought up while testing the users: Visibility, Readability, Do they recognize the icons/buttons functions?, How do they feel when the icons are too big/small? Can the user identify the function for each feature?”. During my User testing on my targeted audience, I quite enjoyed it, as it involved a lot of communication about what the users want (prioritizing them than myself). The respondents were fun, both the researcher(myself) and the users asked questions, suggested particular things that they want to see or options they prefer having on their smartphones(a mobile phone built on a mobile operating system with an advanced computing capability and connectivity than a feature phone). Here are the some of the findings gathered: Men preffered soft pastel colors(Perano, Dutch White Pancho, Wistful and Vista Blue-most liked) whilst Women preferred Soft Mid-Toned Colors(Mexican Red, Putty Pure White, Astra and Spanish White-most liked)”. All of the men preferred the typeface called “British Rail Light Normal- Bold and Justified whilst the Women had a bit of options : British Rail Light Normal, Century Schoolbook and Frutiger.
(USER TESTING- WIREFRAME)
Testing wayfindings/ navigation, layout (icons, features, where things go) how users/respondents will manage to go back to the home page or previous page, how they read, and how they respond to certain situations were the key questions that I brought up during this research. User Testing the wireframe was really fun, even better than my previous research above because it was much more on physical actions and expectations rather than just providing the users with a ready made survey. The respondents also pointed out their troubles that they have when using their own smartphones.
(Icon Research– Based on the volume 3 Logo Lounge Book,“It is important to cover the full array of ideas, even the extreme ones, so the client is exposed to the full range of creative possibilities”(Michael Osbourne Team-San Francisco-a design firm known for its classic but modern look)I have been inspired not just with the concepts shown on the book but was inspired how certain designers dealt with solving the problems, facing scenarios/situations with their clients in order to have a much more unique and understandable design. This book showed me the process, the variations of design(developments/exploration) and also collaborative work involved. This lead me to conceptualizing my ideas much more in depth which took me to my process and brainstorming stage.The Logo Lounge Books really gave my graphic design knowledge a lot of inspirations, broaden my knowledge on how important it is to analyze the clients as well as the targeted audience needs in order to achieve and conceptualize design elements.
(This book was referred to me by my tutor William B. after my formative assessment)
WORKBOOK VISUALS/CRITICAL ANALYSIS
During this stage, I have been sketching out possibile features, icons, concept analysis onto my workbook and how the relationship between text and image contrasts with each other. These areas will be explored more.
The smartphone was really one of the major turning points that the team and I encountered, because the clients kept on changing preferences. I started using the Ipad, which had a bigger screen size(suitable for elderlies). On the other hand, this wouldn’t be as user-friendly to my targeted audience(elderlies) because of its weight depending on how long they are planning to visit on the Auckland Cultural Institutions. Another turning point was choosing important features. I really want to combine the features of these smartphones onto our chosen smartphone (SONY XPERIA-top right). Because some of the respondents/users that I tested wanted to have features that the Samsung Galaxy had. Some preferred to have both the Ipad and the Nokia Lumia 800. Another turning point that came up, was probably the design aesthetic that these smartphones had, because I had to adjust my ideas based on whats existing on the market. I didn’t want to scare people because of the futuristic and modern appeal that I can possibly come up with. So the team suggested that we should design a mobile application that would be in between plain and complex to be as user-friendly and understandable.Another turning point for me was to work with a project either in a group or as an individual. Collaboration is quite hard sometimes, finding the right people to work with and sharing knowledge. However, it is critical during the stage of decision making. During first semester, the group started doing research about mobile applications, user research, card sorting, mental models, card sorting, icons etc. It was all about understanding the importance and value towards this mobile application proposal to the Auckland Cultural Institutions. This second semester, it is about user testing our concepts, user testing the possible situations encountered during a user experience enable to achieve a successful mobile application(user interface design). Refining ideas based on what I have learned from my research and from other designers as well.
Home Icons(abstracted shapes based on the existing Auckland Cultural Institution buildings)
Above was my initial home icon concepts(Icon Proposal), however, the client disagreed and stated that I can’t change the home icon as users and the clients might find it hard to adjust identifying the icons shape because of its abstract style. At this stage, icons will be a focal point and will be developed thoroughly which will reflect the aesthetic and branding of the mobile application. These are the Graphic Decisions that I will be focusing on: shape, size, color, scale, unity, balance and rhythm. The Process: I started developing and testing out the Elements of Design: balance, color, emphasis, rhythm, scale, shape, size, line, unity and value. Whether these icons will communicate well visually and graphically appealing. This is also a way of brainstorming ideas, by going back through previous icons made and comparing its consistent use of balance and most especially unity/unison and how they link to each other when it comes to designing the user interface of the mobile application.
Testing Positive and Negative Space-Silhouette Icons
USER INTERFACE DESIGN CONCEPTS – Explorations
Above is my working progress and proposal of ideas that could be possibly added onto the mobile application. The top left image was my first mock up of a user interface design(end of semester 1-2012) which reflects a really cluttered and less structured design. However, during my progress(top right image and the following images below), I have been trying to make my design much more organized, by categorizing certain elements of the application such as: images, features and consistent layout design etc. In saying so, it is also important to give space on the pages to give the eye a visual rest(this is critical and important in Graphic Design as space can create focus and emphasis).
“Although the client liked this concept because of its unique interface design, he wanted me to reiterate a few things by simply taking photographs of the existing features at the Auckland Art Gallery.”(Turning point- was to design a unique and less structured home page format, but still ended up with a much more structured and justified layout. Re-conceptualizing my concept above by simply applying the grid system(by Josef Müller-Brockmann) and applied the Principles of User Interface Design(Organize, Economize and Communicate) gave the page a clear and consistent conceptual structure, did the most with the least amount of cues and matched the presentation to the capabilities of the user.
By using the Grid System( “Is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice. Josef Müller-Brockmann”)I have achieved a much more organized concept than my previous one(MONA LISA). With that in mind, I also applied contrasting colors as it is critical in Graphic Design mainly because it creates the sense of mood, gives the aesthetics of a design, and connects each elements which can possibly create harmony.
Design Process-From Ipad Tablet(iOS) to Sony Xperia(android)
There will be a few reiterations during the process of producing concepts, specially with icons. Further research will be made as well as collaborating ideas with an update of what is being done will continue. As for my Graphic Design practice, there are always new things to learn everyday, from research, to new skills, to refining ideas. I have somehow grasped the idea of User Centered Design, how people respond to certain design elements, how people see things differently, personal preferences. These were probably the main highlights, understanding people’s value towards design and everyday living.