Category Archives: Design Exercises

How to Use the Design Exercises on this Site

The Design Exercises on this site, like the Design Explorations in the book, are appropriate thought exercises for designers which should help them to think outside their disciplinary training and focus on the collective process of inventing the medium.

For students, these Design Exercises are appropriate for short weekly assignments to develop the habit of critiquing design with carefully chosen words and specific examples. A good way to organize this assignment is to have students submit a 50-200 word text and an image with link to an online video, app,  or live website as appropriate, and to have them look at one another’s submissions by posting them to a shared page, like a wiki or a page generated by php from a shared folder. They are a good complement to courses that also include substantial hands-on project development.

The Design Explorations in the book can also be used in the same way but they tend to be more open-ended and time-intensive group activities, suitable for an in-class design lab or longer-term student project development.

Design Exercise: Visual Overviews

Using one of the sites below, or any site of your own choosing that offers visual access to  a complex information space, evaluate whether and how  it affords  Overview, Zoom, Filtering,  and Details on Demand (Ben Shneiderman’s design values).  Are  size, color, proximity, used semantically?  Does the user navigate up and down a hierarchy? across a network? Can the user rearrange the elements? Is there a choice of multiple granularities? What is an example of a specific task that the site supports particularly well or particularly badly?

Smartmoney Map of the Market

Gapminder World

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