Ixd101 Lecture Retrospective Part 1

This post is the first of two where I’ll be looking back at what I have learned from Monday’s ixd101 lectures over the past 12 weeks and what impact the things I’ve leaned have had on my work going forward.

Week 1

This weeks lecture gave me a good overview of the module. We looked into where ideas come from and I got to learn about the different kinds of research I could look towards to influence my work, which could be project specific and non-project specific. There was a big emphasis on the importance of doing a good amount of research before starting a project and doing so with paper sketches as opposed to starting out digitally. This is definitely something I’ve kept in mind with each project I’ve worked on so far and will continue to do so. It a lot easier for me to come up with designs on paper first as I’m not restricted by my knowledge of working digitally. If there is something that I’ve sketched out and really want to do, I can always learn how to with the help of the internet or my lecturers but if I were to just start on illustrator I wouldn’t have anything to aim towards  so I’d be stuck not knowing what to do. In this lecture we also did a quick button exercise on Figma which was my first experience of using it. At first I hadn’t a clue how to navigate my way around the place but since then, although I do prefer using illustrator I’ve definitely gotten a lot more confident with Figma swell.

 

Week2- Point, Line and Plane

In this weeks lecture we looked at building a visual vocabulary with point line and plane. I learned about point, line and plane and how these are essentially the building blocks of design.

For point we first looked at Josh Worth’s If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel website. We then looked at its uses in branding like for the Norwegian University of Science logo. We looked at points in relation to displaying data like the work of Brendan Dawes and David McCandless and we looked at the use of point in patterns like in the work of Josef Müller-Brockmann.

For line we first looked at the present hp logo swell as the work of Brendan Dawes again but this time in relation to line data as well as the work he did with movie frames creating lines on posters. We also looked at the illustrative work of Nigel Peake.

For plane we looked at example from the work of Josef Müller-Brockmann and Blanka. We also looked at the different effects of things like frequency, rhythm, density and symmetry/asymmetry can have when designing with these design principles. We were given excursuses to do on Figma relating to point and plane which I have put in a previous blog post from that week.

The key thing that I learned from this lecture is that more often than not, setting constraints like sticking to points, lines or planes allows for more creative design solutions. This is something I have kept in mind in my projects going forward and I’ve tried to  incorporated at least one of point, line and plain (mostly line) into my projects for this module.

 

Week3- Core Principles

In this weeks lecture I got to learn about some of the core principles of design. We first looked at Da Vinci’s Vitruvian and the Golden Ratio which is an example of  fibonacci  sequence. It is a visual representation of the number PHI and is used frequently in design as I learned from examples shown in the lecture. I learned a bit about type scale and was tasked during the lecture to redesign my manifesto using type scale, adding appropriate emphasis on key words of the manifesto. What I did for this exercise is on my blog in a previous post. We also looked at the rule of thirds.

I got to learn a bit about the Gestalt principles of visual perception these being; proximity, similarly, continuity, closure, common fate, figure and ground, and focal point. We finished by looking at the law of Pragnanz and the laws of Ux and were tasked with doing up simple layouts using planes of 3 of our favourite apps in Figma. This is also on my blog in a previous post.

This lecture overall gave me a good understanding of the different key principles of design. That said to be honest when working on projects for this module I only took a few of these principles into consideration.  Looking back now I see that I should try to keep more of these principles in mind when working on future projects. I kept type scale in mind in particular while working on  my manifesto redesign and my follow the rhythm project.

 

Week4-Typography and Colour

This weeks lecture all about typography as well as colour and I learned a lot of things that I’ve kept in mind working on my projects for both modules. This lecture only tapped into tapped on the surface of typography which was fine since I’d be learning about type much more in-depth in my other module that said I still got a great overview as we went on a journey from letters and words to paragraphs and pages and looked at different key elements of good typography in each. In the first part of the lecture we were given a couple exercises to experiment with the character of letters themselves. We later look at the importance of typographic hierarchy and we were given an exercise to explore that as well.

Here is a link to the post with all my exercises from this week: http://blogs.ulster.ac.uk/laurabfoy/2020/10/14/1xd101-week4-typography-exercises/

We also looked at colour, colour theory and its use by designers like Joseph Müller-Brockmann, MuirMcNeil and  Josef Albers as a primary means of communication. As someone who loves experimenting with colour and the feelings they invoke I already had some knowledge of colour theory but it was good for me to see the way different designers work with it.

Typographic hierarchy. and colour  are two things I have kept in mind in particular while working on different projects and I hope this is evident in my projects so far. I no longer purely pick out colour combination solely on what I think looks good (although that is definitely a part of it) I also look at what colours fit with what I’m trying to convey as well as what colours compliment each other well. I have taken some risks in my colour combinations from time to time though but it tends to pay off when I do. I also look at sights like adobe colour when I want to find a good colour palette for the websites I’ve made and my 9 iterations project.

 

Week5- Introduction to User Interface  Design

In this weeks lecture we to a look  at different user interface principles. I learned that Ui design is all about focusing on what users might need to do and ensuring  that the interface is accessible, understandable and is based in concepts of interaction design, visual design and information architecture. We looked at quite a brief explanation of the history of user interface which was okay since I would be learning about this more in depth in the other module and it gave me a good base of understanding in how the original GUI of the 80’s has now evolved into over time.

I learned about design systems and how they are collections of reusable components, guided by clear standards that can be put together to build any number of applications. We looked at some design systems like for Apple, the Olympics and nasa. We looked at buttons and how it is important that they are identifiable, findable and Clear. I also learned about human interface guidelines and human centred design and how it is a practise that is becoming more and more prevalent in design.

I learned about some of the fundamentals of Ui which included starting out with wireframes, the ui building blocks point line and plane and the different components like buttons and cards. We did an exercise on Miro where we had to look for buttons and cards and put them up on the board. I put down quite a few but the ones I can remember where the buttons from FE Heroes and tiktok which I screens shotted and cropped on my phone. This was a great exercise as it made me more aware of the different components of ui in the various apps, games and sites I visit in my day to day. I have also become a lot more aware of when applications have really bad user interface as well, like discord in my opinion can be very confusing when using it at first and I feel that good ui should be understandable from the outset rather than having to learn how everything works over time. This can also be said for Campus/Word press and GitHub at least from my experience anyway.

We did another exercises where we were asked to design a ui card for an album based on a template from material.io which is one of multiple great sites I learned about in this lecture that I’m able to use as a guide or reference when I get stuck or just need some inspiration. Here is a link to what I did for this exercise: http://blogs.ulster.ac.uk/laurabfoy/2020/10/22/ixd101-week-5-creating-a-ui-card/. We also took a quick look at GitHub and markdown in this lecture.

Week 6- Human Centred Design & Github 101

In this weeks lecture I learned a lot more about Human centred design and user experience design. These are things I don’t really need to know about in-depth till next but it’s still good to have at least a basic understanding of them now. We started out with an exercise on Miro where we identified different possible uses for a brick with some holes in it. This was an interesting exercise as some of my classmates came up with ideas that I would never have thought of, like a hamster assault course and a rabbit feeder. Anyway, after that we watched a Vox video about the Norman door and how its door that tell you to instinctively do the opposite of what you are actually supposed to do. There are a lot of things like that not just doors and human centred design is a design philosophy with the aim to change that. I learned from Don Norman in the video that the cycle involved in human centred design thinking; observation, idea generation, prototyping and testing. We looked at the different factors of consideration for both human centred design and user experience design and my main takeaway is that when designing we should always keep the users and their need in mind. The user demographic can be vastly different depending on the product so it is important to keep their specific needs in mind. You are not designing for yourself but for the users and it’s important to always be conscious of that.

In this lecture we were properly introduced to Github and I set up a Github account and learned how to create a repository, commit files among other things. We were tasked with a simple markdown excise and to upload it to a the Github repo we created during the lecture. It was all a bit confusing to me at first but it was long before I managed to make sense of everything, eventually. It ended up being a lot simpler than I was expecting although I did end up having to delete the repo and start again a few times because I had messed up somehow. It was okay though since my markdown file was saved to my computer so I just had to commit it again.. I’ve come a long way with GitHub since then I think.

Here is a link to a blog post on that markdown exercise: http://blogs.ulster.ac.uk/laurabfoy/2020/12/03/ixd102-html-and-css-for-my-web-essay/

 

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