Nov 25, 2007

english gardens

1. I went to Macy's. They market to mid to upper-class people who have dispensible income.

2. a) From the outside, there was a display window with a dressed up manikin in a wintery, christmas looking scene. The manikin was wearing winter apparel (coat, hat, gloves, etc.). There was snow on the ground and a snowy looking background, along with Christmas ornament strings scattered across the ground. When you walk in, you see a projected clock in the forst floor and then there's the perfume section in the front and the women's shoes along the side. The second floor has women's clothing on both sides of you with jewelry in the middle. The third floor has home goods, starting with plates and glassware near the entrance.
b) Inside the store, there was Christmas music going because it was Black Friday and that's what pretty much all the stores do. It was very loud, due to all the shoppers. I would assume it was more crowded than usual. It seemed to have the normal sounds of people busy Christmas shopping on black Friday, meaning everywhere is busy and slightly noisy.
c) Most of the clothes were displayed on racks throughout the clothes sections, a few things like jeans were put onto some tables. The glassware was on glass shelves. The china was on black tables (they were covered in fabric), more like podium style. The jewelry was in cases or on racks for some of the less expensive things. The shoes are on the wall, and you have to request them all if you would like to try them on. The teen section has a more teen-like-feel. The colors get away from the red and black of the majority of the rest of the store, and are instead a darker blue/turquoise color along with more teen-like decorating of hip looking manikins.
d) The floors of the store are all a white tile except in the teen section where they are black and have somewhat of a sparkle to them.
e) The outside sign tht says Macy's matches the red and black theme by having black lettering with a red star. Inside the store, the signs for the elevators and the bathrooms have a white background, with black lettering and picture symbols. There wasn't any set section labeling that I noticed. I think that does help Macy's though, not to have a misses section vs a lady's section- it allows customers not to feel limited. The signs on the actual merchandise racks and shelves had an off-white background with black lettering to make it easy to read.
f) The cashier area's are set up as a koisk-type style. They have one somewhat round desk with multiple registers on three or four sides in portions of the store like the teens. These registers have one line running to them. Other parts of the stores have registers in the middle of a section that are small and only serve one person at a time. These are usually in the back of a specific section like dresses.

3. This image trys to looks somewhat up-scale while still keeping the typical department store look. They stuck with the red and black scheme that makes it seem like it is more up-scale. Red and black is a traditional color scheme. Red can be associated with celebrities and the red carpet. Black is usually a sleek color that can make another color stand out. The clothes in the store are more high-class also. There were multiple racks of furs. In most stores, you wouldn't see this, because not that many people wear furs. While I was there, my friend and I saw a guy offering to play 5,000 dollars for a fur. We were both in shock, and the salesperson started to negociate with the man a fair deal. I didn't know that you could negoicate for prices in a department store, but my dad explained that since it was such a high price, and they work off of commission, negociating is possible. The elevators in the middle also give the feel of a nice place. They have glass doors and gold lights. Other stores won't have elaborate elevators in the middle, and instead just have them on the side, and in the wall with only escalators in the middle of the store.

4. As I said before, we saw the one man interacting with the salesperson over the fur. The saleperson seemed to be engaged to the customer, but not willing to give him the first price he offered. He instead started to negociate. Other customers were in a hurry and just walking. Some customers were engaged in certain types of merchandise or certain sections. I did see men who were with their wives and looking bored or just following along. Most customers were shopping by themselves, but salespeople were around. The cash registers were all busy, but I would assume that's because it was black friday.

5. The thing I like most about the store is the clock that is projected on the floor when you walk in on the first floor. It is an eye-catching item that is also helpful. A lot of the time, you lose track of time when shopping or you would like to check on the time, and this clock is bound to be seen based on it's unique design. It also gives the store a special feel, just because it has something cool that no one else has. I also noticed that them men's things were all on one floor in one secion, while the women's was on multiple floors, very spread out. This went back to what Paco said- that men feel very uncomfortable in the women's section, and that women make up more purchases than men. It was also interesting though that a man was the one making the $5000 offer for the fur coat. Men have always been known as better barginers even though it was a women's coat.

Nov 18, 2007


In response to Brandon's question, I'm drawn into a store by the products they sell and if I am shopping for that product that day. I'm also drawn in by online shopping a lot. If I'm bored at home and contemplating shopping the next day, I tend to go online and look for things I want to buy. This allows me to see a good chunk of the store before I even get there. I think it makes my shopping more productive, but it also sometimes makes it harder if you can't find the item in the store that you saw online. Store displays are less likely to draw me into a store. Usually I don't like the items on the displays, and then if you do, they tend to be impossible to find in the store because the display is no where near the actual merchandise. I think if a store wants to gain a new customer, they have to have the certain feel a customer is looking for in order to draw the customer in. If not, the customer will forever bypass the store. I can't be drawn into a store that I feel out-of-place in, so it's all about the environment they create for the potential customers.

In response to Laura's second question, I think the "butt-brush" theory is not disproven with clearance racks. The theory states that things that involve careful examination before they buy should be placed far away as to avoid the "butt-brush". With clearance racks, however, careful attention is not required. I think clearance shopping is more impulse buying. Everything is marked down, so you don't contemplate buying it as much. If you make a quick buy and regret it later, it's still okay because you didn't spend all that much money. The racks are allowed to be placed close together because the cheaper prices will compensate for the "uncomfortableness" of the racks.


Is the power of shopping really up to the store owner or can a consumer control their own shopping habits? Have you ever thought about your own shopping habits? Do you browse through everything, only go for what catches your eye, or have one particular reason for entering a store? Can you be swayed by the way a store is set up, or will you only go for what really interests you? Can the way a store is set up influence what you end up buying?

Nov 15, 2007

packaging part 2

1. We discussed how packaging can be used to draw consumers' attention to a product. What other purposes does packaging serve? Give examples.

Packaging serves a lot of purposes. For food, the packaging is used to keep it fresh, and adequately sealed. Some packaging for things like water bottles are made to purposely re-sealable.

For things that are fragile, packaging is used to protet the item. Some packaging may add extra layers or padding to keep something in-cased. Other things may have foam incasing the entire object to fit the exact shape to keep it safe.

Packaging on many things is used so that they can't be opened in stores and used prematurely. It makes it so the consumers know they are getting a good item, one that is perfectly new.

The packaging is also used for information about the item. Pretty much anything you buy has some type of writing on it. This can be anything from directions, to ingredients, information about the item, product specification, branding, taglines, etc. The packaging also tends to have a picture of the item that's in the package if it can't be visibly seen and the brand logo.

2.What do these articles suggest about packaging design? Give examples of how modifications to current practices could have environmental benefits.

These articles suggest that we use way too much packaging on most of our goods, especially packaging that pollutes the enviroment. If we want to save the enviroment, we need to change our current packaging and still be concerned about what happens to the packaging once we dispose of it.

Currently, if we reduced the amount of plastic used in packaging, we could greatly reduce the amount of plastic that ends up polluting our environment. We also should be using more biodegradable materials for packaging. As soon as we get a product, we dispose of the packaging, and it just fills up our landfills. Packaging needs to be minimized and biodegradable. This will greatly benefit our world.

We also need to reduce the use of plastic bags. This is one of the main things I think that could easily be reduced. If i don't need a bag, I never get one. Anytime I go to the bookstore or get one item somewhere I try not to get a bag. When I'm working in the bookstore, I always ask people if they'd like a bag if they have one or a few small items. If you ask people, they tend to say they don't need one. I know other employees who just put everything, no matter how small in a bag, and people will most likely not a refuse a bag unless asked. By asking about and refusing bags, I think I'm helping to reduce some of the waste of plastic bags in our world.

Nov 14, 2007


1. To what extent is packaging important in marketing a product? Give an example of how a package influenced your decision to buy (or not buy) something.

I think packaging is very important. I personally love things that are bright, colorful, and eye-catching. Anything that has an eye catching package is a lot more likely to grab the eye of a consumer. This can be done many different ways using the shape of the package, the design on it, the colors, etc. It's also about style in today's world. People want to be seen with the products deemed "cool". If you have a product that everyone is like "wow, where did you get that?" you're going to be seen as cool or stylish.

There are a lot of books that I completely pass over because their covers or the title on the binding don't look appealing at all. It could be a great book, but I won't even give it a chance unless the fonts and colors or the actual title grabs me. This can be both good and bad because most academic books are less appealing, meaning i'm drawn towards the entertaining books more.

2. What other products have iconic packaging?

A lot of foods have iconic packaging because they have to beat out their competitors. Most foods and their competitors have the same type of general design (like a bag of chips) but then the actual design on the bag has to appeal to a consumer. If it was tostitos vs better made, I would pic tostitos because the colors are more vibrant (blue, purple, and white), the font is big, bold, and cool looking, and the overall design is inticing. The better made one lacks in comparrison with less color, and a less appealing font in my opinion.

School supplies for kids are also very iconic. Kids always want to have the coolest things for school and the producers know that. They deck out all the supplies in bright colors, lots of designs, and make them as appealing as possible. Kids always want the more intensely designed product no matter if it's exactly the same as the generic one without the extra design.

A lot of alcohol bottles are also iconic. There's a party store by my house with thousands of different alcohol bottles, and I always go through and find the coolest looking bottles while I'm there. The ones with the coolest shape, color combination, and font usually win in my mind.

3. What usability issues exist for packaging? Give examples of particularly good or bad packaging from a usability perspective.

Packaging has to be there to be eye-catching but it can't hinder the use of the actual product. Some packaging is just poorly designed like bottles that don't poor well due to the shape of the top.

I have a small tub of lemonade mix in my room, and to open it, you have to peel off half of the label. The only problem is that it's not perferrated, so you usually end up ripping off more than you need, which usually includes the instructions for how much water to use with the mix. The lemonade should have a better peel off label.

The "industrial" size package of goldfish I buy is also not that great. The package looks cool because it's like a giant milk carton, but once you eat half the package, you can no longer reach in and grab goldfish, you have to use a bowl, which makes eating harder. The box is also too big to hold on one hand, so it is impossible to poor and hold a bowl in your hand. Though it looks like a cool design, it's actually harder to use.

Nov 4, 2007

bad websites

1. This article was all about poor design in websites. Things should be made user friendly logical, but this website demonstrated many examples of poorly designed sites. It had everything from hard to use/find links, websites that you can't tell what they're for, annoying things that commonly happen like music that you can't turn off, no-readable websites, etc. A good product means it is user friendly, and these websites all were not.

2. I think the most important point is making sure your website is navigatable. If someone is at your website, they want to be able to move through it all and find what they set out to do. If a website can't even do that, then consumers will be easily discouraged.

3. A website must be....
- navigatable
- have it's purpose easily visible
- not have any hidden links- all things should be accessed from the home page
- readable
- concise
- easy to figure out
- have a good search feature
- no annoying animations

Oct 30, 2007

design design design

I liked Spencer's blog on the Leopard. I know when I used to have windows, and when I would update internet explorer, or AIM, half the time things wouldn't even look any different, and the other half of the timeeverything would be completely different and confusing. Leopard sounds like it makes things better while keeping the macs setup relatively the same.

Spencer's Blog

Kelsey's blog was another one I liked. I took marketing back in high school, and she brings up the fact that marketing is important in selling any good. Bad products can easily be sold if the marketing is tweeked, and good products without marketing will never be recgonized. Without marketing, products wouldn't sell the way they do today.

Kelsey's Blog

Ezra's blog was also interesting. Bike helmets are things that most kids try to out-grow at some point in their life. Kids feel that they are un-cool. As Ezra said though, there are some cool helmets out there like "aggressive skating" helmets. Why not design more helmets like that? Bike helemts really aren't that great half the time unless they are designed well. My current helmet at home, doesn't really fit my head correctly. It slides around and if it were to get a hard impact, would probably slide off my head and be of no help to my skull. I got it though because I liked the color. It was a peral color that reflects rainbow, which I thought was awesome. The things that look cool are only good if they still do their job. You would think designers making a helmet would be more concerned with safety than asthetics, but in reality, they still want to sell a product, so they do put a good chunk of their time into design rather than safety.

Ezra's Blog

Oct 29, 2007

"hidden" features

This weekend my parents were here, and I went with them when they went to check into their hotel. As soon as we walked in, there was confusion on where the light switch should be. It's an unframiliar room, so when the switch is not in the first place you think it should be, you don't know where to look next. The light switch was found in a relatively short period of time, but there were more problems to come. When my dad turned all the lamps on, they all were very dim, and there's no overhead lights above the bed. The room did seem fairly dark, but there didn't appear to be anything else we could turn on. When we were going to leave though, he went to turn off the light and the light got brighter. It is apparently one of those lights where the more times you hit the switch, the brighter it gets (through three settings). When I went to try it on the other lamp though, the light ust turned off. I told him it was only tht lamp that did it. He came over and tried the lamp again though, and it apparently did do the three setting thing. It was all in the touch of how you hit the button apparently. That is very poor design, as I could not make the lamp cycle through it's settings but my dad could. If you hadn't been able to first see that the lamp could cycle, you may have never known. If I was alone in the room, the lights all would have permanately stayed at the first setting or off because I don't have the proper touch.

Now, being unframiliar with the original switches is expected. They should be in a place that you can see (visability) though. They were, but just not where expected. The more visible you make things, the more pleased consumers will be. The same goes for the buttons on the lamps. They should have some sort of instructions on them to let you know that they have multiple settings. Consumers can be "left in the dark" literally without proper visability cues.

Why do designers even make functions of their products invisible? It's only giving them a bad reputation and confusing their consumers. Sure they may have to change the button on their product and it may look a bit less pleasing to the eye, but if you spent the time, you could find an asthetically pleasing switch that visually shows all the possible functions.

If all designers spent a bit more time on a good majority of their products, confusion would be greatly reduced, and companies would gain more loyal customers because of the good experiences with their products

Oct 25, 2007

blogs galore

After looking at a good portion of the class' blogs, I liked Trey's and Alex's the best.


1. I wanted to see how improved a stapler could be. The stapeler was ended up not being the interesting part on the website though.

2. I really liked the badly designed doors that caused the robbers not to be able to rob a restaurant. I also thought that the child seat on the luggage was a bad idea. A lot of people pull their suitcases, thus putting the child behind the parent meaning they aren't being watched and could be kidnapped.

3. This website was all about improving designs or creating things that are needed in the world. It focused on both good and bad features.

Trey's Blog
Trey's Blog


1. I was interested to read more about the invisibility of design and what that entailed.

2. I liked that it showed that now we take a lot of things for granted on good designs because the good designs have been around for so long. We no longer consider the intricate design process of basic things because we never knew a time before the good designs.

3. This website talks about the really good designs. We usually talked about bad designs, but this shows the polar opposite of some of the best things out there that we take for granted.

Alex's Blog

Oct 23, 2007

award winning design

A passage about design I found interesting (taken from a business week article titled The Best Product Design Of 2007) was...

"The evolution of design from a narrow focus on aesthetics into a richer discipline that embraces branding, services, sustainability, medicine--even the comfort and safety of pilots and passengers--is on clear display in the 2007 International Design Excellence Awards."


This article was about products that won awards in 2007 for their design. It breifly mentioned the top winners and the types of goods that were able to take the most awards. These mainly were enviromentally friendly objects and reinvented things.

When reading this article, it made me think "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman. He mentions how a lot of products that win awards for their design are not user friendly.

I wonder how these products were judged for this contest? From reading the article you can tell that asthetics were a part of it, and the potential capabilities of the product, but they don't mention ease of use really.

Oct 21, 2007

fun fun

A passage I thought was interesting from the article titled "How to get users to RTFM" by Kathy Sierra was...

"Change the "F" in RTFM to "Fun"

Not funny, just fun. Fun as in chess. Fun as in writing elegant code. Fun as in doing something you're good at... something that lets you have a high-resolution experience. What would it mean if you asked, "How can we make the manual a fun experience?" Don't jump to the "nobody wants humour in a manual" argument--you don't need "humour" to have fun."1


I think it's relevant to design because you have to make something that is going to appeal to the user. Even the boring part like the manual should be made entertaining and fun. The directions for the game Outburst, have things included like "most people learn games from other people, not from the rules. But at some point somebody has to read the rules in order to figure out what's going on. Besides, the people you learn from rarely know what they're talking about!" and "Teams should sit together (unless you're being served chili!)" or "Team members are encouraged to yell out answers at the same time (which can really annoy your opponent who is trying to keep score)."2 These simple little blurbs that are added on, make reading the instructions so much more entertaining. The user is actually turned on to the game from the instructions rather just being confused because they read the directions as fast as possible. Outburst knew what they were doing when they created their instructions.

1. Sierra, Kathy. "How to get users to RTFM." Creating Passionate Users. Available from Internet; accessed 21 October 2007.

2. Hersch and Company. Outburst Instructions (Los Angeles: Hersch and Company, 2002)

Oct 9, 2007

my shelf

I think a well designed product was the shelf I have in my dorm room.

I bought it at target and it is a smallish 4 level shelf. The box said it had minimal no tool assembly. When I actually went to set it up, it was quite easy. The poles all easily twisted into the wood shelves, the bottom rubber things easily screwed into the bottom, and the top metal things for the top shelf also screwed in. I had the whole shelf up in under five minutes and I didn't even have to look at the instructions. I knew how most shelves look and the pieces were pretty self explanatory as where they went.

I love the easy assmebly and that it was self explanatory. It also is a pretty cool looking shelf.

Free Image Hosting at

Oct 7, 2007


A product I think that has design flaws is the oven on the second floor of trowbridge. My friend Leslie and I have made cookies in it twice now, and I always seem to mess up the settings everytime i touch it.

The big thing is that it has a timer and everytime I go to turn the timer off, I end up turning the entire oven off because I hit the switch that says off when the alarm is ringing. I still don't actually know what button makes the alarm stop ringing. You would think it wouldn't be too hard to figure out.

The second problem with it is that when you set the timer, there's no indication that it's actually timing. I can set it for 11 minutes, but apparently you don't have to hit a set button or start button, it just starts counting, but the timer is in minutes only, so you would have to wait by the oven for a whole minute to make sure the timer is actually on, as I have done multiple times as to not burn cookies.

The other problem is when I turn the whole oven off, accidently from the timer issue, the entire oven resets itself, and I usually forget to reset the temperature. It's all digital, so it goes back to the default settings instead of the last used settings.

Last time while baking cookies, when I messed up the timer and turned the whole oven off for probably the third time I actually stated that it was not my fault and the oven was designed poorly.

Oct 5, 2007

egg drop

I worked with Taylor on the egg drop. As soon as we partnered up, we voted on doing a very simple design. We didn't want to take the time to build something elaborate, especially if it didn't work. Our original plans were to go to target, get some soft things like cotton balls, put it all in a box, and be good to go.

We decided to build on Sunday, and I had come up with the idea of pillows because we had two sitting around in my room in the closet. That seemed like a good idea, but just to be sure we also wrapped the egg in a liquid ice pack, and a dish towel and the surrounded that with the two pillows. We then threw it out of my 2nd story window to test it, and it was perfectly fine.

In class, our design also worked, both on the concrete and the dirt surfaces. When trying to minimize our design, we went to only the ice pack surrounding the egg. There was not enough give in the ice pack, which burst upon impact, which caused the egg to break. I think if the ice pack had more give, and a more sturdy outer casing, it may have worked.

Sep 27, 2007

chapter 2- The Design of Everyday Things

A passage I thought was interesting from The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman was...

"Now consider Tom's point of view. "I really had a hard day," Tom explains. "I woke up late because when my clock radio turned on, I tried to hit the snooze bar to give me five more minutes' sleep; instead I reset the time so that I overslept for a whole hour. That wasn't my fault-- the radio's badly designed.""1

Interestingly enough I got an email yesterday from a website called I found out about them a couple years ago from one of my high school teachers. It's a website that designs a lot of cool items. Some are just very cool looking art wise, some are things you would never think to make, and some are things that are designed well to replace today's products with new ways of thinking. (everyone should definitly take a look at the website. It's pretty cool. )

Okay, but back to the topic. So the email was one of the ones i get every month or so about new products on the website. The main product advertised in this email was an alarm clock. It was described as an alarm clock that will ring at whatever time you set it, but then if you hit snooze, the clock has an interesting feature to get you up. The clock has wheels on the bottom and once you hit snooze will quietly roll away to some place in your room. It will always choose a new direction and "go hide". Then the next time it rings (5-10 mins), you actually have to get up and find the alarm clock. It's a creative way to get people up in the morning and I'm sure is probably designed well so that you accidently can't reset the time or something like happened to Tom in the story.

If you want to see the clock and product description...

it's a unique product, but i'd be intriqued to see how it actually works.

1. Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. (New York: Basic Books, 1988), 41.

Sep 25, 2007

kate's opening blog

well I just finished the rest of the homework for our class, so now on to bogging.

Well, personally I love our seminar. It's a lot of fun, but it is surprising how many people have never heard of it. At least 50% of people I talk to (whether they're freshman or not) have never heard of the class and hav no idea what it would even be about.

And since I don't know what else to write, how about an overview of me...

-My name is Kate
-I'm from Berkley, MI
-I have one sister(back at home) and two best friends (1 back at home, and 1 at Hope)
-I want to be an econ major at K
-I spend most of my free time hanging out with people, watching seasons of friends (I own all 10), grey's anatomy, or sports
-I absolutely love sports- both playing and watching- The Red Wings are my favorite team
-I tend to be pretty quiet until I get to know people
-I want to be an entrepreneur one day
-In high school I played tennis, soccer, and I was a figure skater. I'm going to play tennis here at K and do a bunch of other sports for fun, and I still plan to seek out the closest ice rink and hit the ice from time to time. (if anyone ever wants to go skate, leave a message)

ok that's all for now