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Capstone Poster

For our final capstone/thesis project in my masters program, we must create a poster, a presentation, and write a long-ass paper. I present my capstone in just three weeks, and last night I finished my capstone poster. I will blog about my entire capstone, as well as add it to my portfolio, once it’s submitted, for now it’s back to work!

‘Brave’ Sketches

After Bruce Sterling‘s ending keynote for Interaction 11, I knew my capstone could not continue has it had before. Tonight I decided to go back and sketch more designs, while trying to be ‘braver’. I also attempted to take to heart two other Interaction 11 speaker notes by looking at how I handled complexity within the interface, and how I might use the information itself as the interface.

My desk as I was sketching
JW desk while sketching

Overall, I’m very happy with these new sketches and I’ll continue to explore new designs for critique.

Have thoughts, comments, or feedback? I would love to hear it.

Give a Crit Iteration 5

In this iteration, I’ve added some toggle buttons that allow for viewing the title, description, category, and exif information for a given photograph. This information appears as an overlay on the image directly, and is always ‘at-hand’ during a critique.

5th Design Iteration


I’m looking for feedback from photographers and designers. For background information on this design, please see, the first post has some good information.

Give a Crit – 4th Iteration

In continuing work on my capstone design, Give a Crit, I present the fourth iteration.

Expert Review and Critique

After my last iterations, I decided to have other designers look at my work and provide a review and critique. They gave me some great feedback that lead to more whiteboard sketching.

Designing through sketching

After a critique session by fellow designers, I headed up to a fantastic whiteboard room in our design studio. I went to work by sketching larger than life versions of my design. By sketching out my design in a larger-than-life fashion, I was able to notice patterns and details that I might have missed out by sketching in a small notebook. I was then able to pair these sketches, find similar elements, and find interesting deviations. This in turn sparked many new ideas which I promptly sketched as well. Furthermore, I had now read and reviewed multiple literature sources and theories that I was able to use in my designs. This helped inform my decisions and hopefully had lead to a better iteration.

4th Iteration

In this iteration I have pulled some interaction styles from Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, with which most photographers are familiar. The screen shown below shows a critique in session. On the top right you can see a criticizer recording video and audio of his thoughts. Furthermore, this design allows for a criticizer to ‘edit’ photos in order to show what might work better for a particular photograph. There are selection, drawing, and note taking tools on the bottom right had side that allow criticizers to directly annotate particular features of a photograph in order to better explain their thoughts. A criticizer is also able to pull up two photos for side-by-side comparison or pull up ‘before edit’ and ‘after edit’ versions of the photograph being critiqued. My intention is to allow for easy and powerful critiques that the photographer or other’s can learn from and converse about.

Give A Crit - iteration four


I think some potential weaknesses in this iteration could be non-scannable critiques (critiques take considerable more time to digest here), too little conversation between the criticizer and the photographer, and no real comparison of a set of photographs (besides the strip of thumbnails along the bottom of the screen). Furthermore, the design doesn’t really allow for a photographer’s intention to show through, which I’ve recently found through user research can be very important.

I would love further comments and feedback on this iteration, especially from photographers.

Literature Cliff Notes

The Process of Effective Critiques

  • Newcomers lack photographic vocabulary
  • Put forth a criteria for critique
  • Critique is about suggestions and not absolutes
  • Show examples of good work
  • Talk about characteristics
    • Focal point(s)
    • Prominent elements
    • Unity
    • Rhythm
    • Balance
    • Technical innovations
    • Color
    • Composition
    • What does the photo communicate

Whittington, J. 2004. The process of effective critiques. Computers & Graphics 28, no. 3 (June): 401-407. doi:10.1016/j.cag.2004.03.007.

Give and Take: A Study of Consumer Photo-Sharing Culture and Practice

  • Kodak culture vs Snapr culture
  • Photo sharing on Flickr is equal to photo blogging
    • Has traditional photo aesthetics
    • Some critique and photo hints
  • Snapr culture participate in an active organization of photos
  • Tagging photo is done for ‘others’ sake
  • Flickr is not Kodak culture, but rather “art photos”

Miller, Andrew D, and W Keith Edwards. 2007. Give and Take : A Study of Consumer Photo-Sharing Culture and Practice. Methodology: 347-356.

A Structure for the Critique of Student Photographs

  • Critique does not equal an ‘evaluation’, stay away from the term evaluation
  • Critique is a two-way communication
  • Post-facto -> a priori (crit happens after a photo is taken and informs the next photo)
  • Critique should talk about artist intention, subject, technique, composition
  • Likert scale works well for critique
  • Critiques should appreciate the formal and the technical
  • Critiques should involve an active participation which leads to a “re-education of the perception” (Dewey)

Cary, Rick. 1985. A Structure for the Critique of Student Photographs. In Annual Meeting of the National Art Education Association.

Using Design Critique as Research to Link Sustainability and Interactive Technologies

  • Critique as a method of research
  • Focuses on the particulars instead of generals
  • Critique adds to design discourse
  • Critique can be used as a tool for design
  • Critique is a comment on the ultimate particulars

Blevis, Eli, Youn-kyung Lim, David Roedl, and Erik Stolterman. 2007. Using Design Critique as Research to Link Sustainability and Interactive Technologies. Communities: 22-31.

Double Blending: online theory with on-campus practice in photography instruction

  • There is both a factual and interpretive meaning to a photo
  • Should use critical theory in ‘read’ a photo
  • There is a second meaning to ‘good’ photos
  • Reading photos impacted taking photos
  • Common criteria for critique
    • Focal points
    • Quality and direction of light
    • Composition
    • Depth of field
    • Relationship between foreground and background

Abrahmov, Shlomo Lee, and Miky Ronen. 2008. Double blending: online theory with on-campus practice in photography instruction. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 45, no. 1 (February): 3-14. doi:10.1080/14703290701757385.||D404A21C5BB053405B1A640AFFD44AE3.

Formalism and Structuralism

From Clive Bell, Wolfman, Hebdige, and Polhemus

  • Formal elements are intrinsic to the artifact
  • Formal and stylistic characteristics may be conceived as structures
  • Formal qualities can account for most visual culture
  • Formalism neglects contexts such as class, gender, and ethnicity
  • Significant form
  • Style is the consistency in the treatment of formal qualities
  • Structures of formal qualities equal pairs of oppositions
  • Structuralism can help account for social context, mainly through the notion of style and relation

Formal elements: elements of an artifact that are intrinsic to that artifact

Style: a collection of formal elements used to intentionally communicate a message

Barnard, M. Approaches to Understanding Visual Culture

Technology as Experience

  • Formal tools influence pragmatics while social context shapes use
  • Going from rationalism to practice
  • Culture must engage with felt life
  • Experience as a totality of acting, thinking, feeling, and sense making

Intone: how individual’s make acts their own

Aesthetic Experience: simultaneously sensual, emotional, and intellectual

  • Aesthetic experience consists of: cumulation, conservation, tension, and anticipation
  • Dialogics?
  • Dialectics?
  • Dialogue between self and other: I can only imagine your pain, I can never experience it.

John McCarthy, Peter Wright. Technology as Experience

Dewey’s Four Threads of Experience

  • Sensual – concerned with the senses
  • Emotional – qualities of particular experiences, value judgments
  • Compositional – relationships between parts and the whole
  • Spatio-Temporal – relating to the space and time of an experience

John McCarthy, Peter Wright. Technology as Experience

Gadamer’s Aesthetics

  • Truth as a hermeneutical experience
  • Art is a form of truth
  • Art is not a representation of truth
  • Art uncovers truths about ourselves
  • Art gives us access to truth
  • Art raises our sensitivity
  • Truth is not how A represents B, but is rather in how humans perceive A as B, an experience

Lawn, C. Gadamer’s Aesthetics. In Gadamer: A Guide for the Perplexed, 87-104.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow: “a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity”

  • 8 components of enjoyment
    • We confront tasks we have a chance of completing
    • We must be able to concentrate on what we are doing
    • The task has clear goals
    • The task provides immediate feedback
    • One acts with deep, but effortless involvement, that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life
    • One exercises a sense of control over their actions
    • Concern for the self disappears, yet, paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over
    • The sense of duration of time is altered.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 1991. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Design Issues 8, no. 1 (January): 80. doi:10.2307/1511458.

Understanding Affective Interaction : Emotion , Engagement , and Internet Videos. Emotion

  • Provides a methodology to understand affective interaction
  • Triangulate data sources to see and understand how each “tell the same story”
    • Physiological
    • Emotional self report
    • Open ended prose
  • Behavioral
  • An Experience
  • Purposeful progression
  • Contient synthesis

Bardzell, Shaowen, Jeffrey Bardzell, and Tyler Pace. 2009. Understanding Affective Interaction : Emotion , Engagement , and Internet Videos. Emotion.

The Form of Human Experience: Interpretation

  • Experience is interpretative
  • Synthesis of temporal passing

Experiences: synthetic process of imaginative interpretation

  • Phenomenon express in calls to action
  • Memory and expectations shape meaning

Russon. The Form of Human Experience: Interpretation. In Human Experience, 9-20.

Staying open to interpretation: Engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation

  • Multiple interpretations can be good
  • Comes from
    • Expansion of computing (work->home)
    • HCI’s interest in the arts and humanities
    • Sociology of HCI
  • Alternatives to a single interpretation
  • NOT an “anything goes” interpretation
  • 6 design strategies
    • specify usability
    • support space of interpretation
    • block expected interpretations
    • unfold new opportunities
    • downplay system authority
    • thwart consistent interpretation

Sengers, P, and B Gaver. 2006. Staying open to interpretation: Engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation. Proc. of DIS 2006, ACM Press: 99-108.

Activity Theory in a Nutshell

“Activity theory proposes that consciousness is shaped by practice, that people and artifacts mediate our relationship with reality. Consciousness is produced in the enactment of activity with other people and things, rather than being something confined inside a human head. Activity theory began in Russia with the work of Lev Vygotsky in the 1920’s, continuing through his student Aleksey Leontiev, and then through students of Leontiev. This work has been influential in education, organizational design, and interaction design. Activity theory works well with design because activity theorists have always tested their theories in practical ways and believe that application is an outcome of theory, not a separate activity. In some of my writings I have discussed how, as a psychological theory, activity theory can be scaled to collaborative settings without losing sight of individual participants in an activity.” (Bonnie Nardi,, 11/6/2010)

Nardi. Activity Theory in a Nutshell. Word Journal Of The International Linguistic Association.

Creativity in amateur multimedia: popular culture, critical theory, and hci

  • Three views on creativity
    • HCI, Rationalist, instrumentalist
    • Post-Structuralist (death of the author)
    • Technological Determinist
  • All see creativity as a discourse contributing to knowledge
  • The useable is the message
  • Found art drives meaning
  • Creativity as primitive art management

Bardzell, Jeffrey. 2007. Creativity in amateur multimedia: popular culture, critical theory, and hci. Creativity 3, no. February: 12-33.

Do Clothes Speak? What Makes them Fashion?

  • Formal qualities evoke style
  • Style equals fashion
  • Fashion helps create social identities
  • Clothing has a code, which equals a style

Davis, F. Do Clothes Speak? In Fashion, Culture, and Identity.

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