Author Archives: Xueying Duan

Universal design principles on game design —- take Candy Crush as an example

Abstract

In July 2018, a research of a typical “match 3 game” Candy Crush revealed an estimated revenue of about $930 in the past 12 months, from both the purchasing action from its users and the commercial profit from its advertisers. There’s also a whopping 9.2 million users spend more than 3 hours daily on the game according to the developer of this game (Cheema, 2019). The prosperity of internet technology development gave birth to the development of both stand-alone games and online games. Tracing back to the possibility and playability of games, I can see the process of the prevalence and maturity of the game market as well as their design logic. Curious about mobile games and the game development thereof, I hope to illustrate how the universal design principles and the design of PC and smartphones are being applied in game designs in this paper.

In the following part of this paper, I’ll first explain the current market situation and consumer habit to summarize the premise and growing environment of the game market. Then, I’ll focus on the de-blackboxing of video games developed in the past 10 years, using Candy Crush as the main example and conducting comparison and contrast between different devices and some contemporary games. Eventually, I hope to illustrate the specific adoption of universal design principles.

Background

Game market analysis

United States was the top country for mobile game development, which varied from browser games, PvP (Player versus player) to MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena games). The history of online games started in the 1970s and went through a flourishing period in the early 20th century. The development of mobile games profits from the development of mobile phones, including a higher resolution, accurate screen response and high-speed networks.

Graph 1: Worldwide distribution of games market revenue from 2015 to 2019, data collected by Newzoo and graph created by WePC.com

During the recent 5 years, the market share of smartphone games and PC games has continuously occupied a large percentage of total game market. Also, according to the research by WePC.com, 53% of game developers were developing games for PC and Mac, followed by 38% of them for smartphones and tablets. PC and smartphones have always been the 2 most popular platforms for game developing, which also lead to a compatible requirement on multi-platforms investment. Moreover, 72.3% of mobile users in the U.S. are mobile phone gamers (IAB(Trends), 2016). Although there is not a huge overlap on mobile games and PC games, there is a tendency to expand games’ adaptability on multi-platforms both for promoting and technology developing.

Graph 2: iPhone’s top grossing mobile gaming apps in the U.S., data collected by Newzoo and graph created by WePC.com

For all mobile games released in the U.S. market, Candy Crush has occupied the second and the fourth highest daily revenue. It is interesting to find that Candy Crush adopts a much easier game logic, technical demands and producing cost than Fortnite, the champion, while still occupies a great market feedback. What makes a simple “match 3 game” go viral and become a national-wide popular mobile game? The rest of the paper will explicitly explain it by de-blackboxing the design principle and the compatibility of consumers’ psychology.

Consumer insight

Graph3: gamers demographic in the U.S. by 2017. Data collected by Pew Research Center and graph are created by WePC.com

According to the research, 64% of the general U.S. population are game players. Most of them are younger people (below 50) and don’t possess an extremely high education level. Also, women usually have a higher evaluation of games that are well-designed, fantasy and call for the participation of a community or with a storyline. While most men overweight the competitivity over those factors.

Therefore, for game designers, it is important to accurately target users by identifying their internet acceptance, learning ability, and plot preferences. Generation Z game players tend to be accustomed to computational learning and are relatively easier to accept new things and operation methods autonomously. Not to mention that there are a great bunch of game users who witness the whole creation and development of the internet and internet products. As a result, almost all current game players own a general perception of computational techniques and have a strong anatomy of self-learning skills.

Furthermore, some game players used to spend time viewing game videos of peer players on YouTube, including reviews, trailers, instructions, etc., most of whom aged between 16 to 34 years. In conclusion, the game designers should both guarantee the game effect and also make the players pick it up and figure it out quickly. The adoption of long-accumulated computer using habit should fit the demand of game players and designers, out of this standpoint, take on the universal design principles and apply them to the new game development.

Match 3 game developing analysis

Game developers are always finding ways to attract new users and keep them active. There is a previous research paper conducting comparisons over 7 different “match 3” games. First, social network sites enable people to share their profiles and daily lives within a limited community. Usually, SNS (like Facebook) accounts are external tools that can be displayed in a player’s game profile and thus establish the relationship with the player’s friends in real life. Only with a few clicks, the players can then reach an emotional connection as well as deliver a real attraction to their friends with the game (Omori & Felinto, 2012). Second, games with a flexible concentration requirement and lower entrance bar will easily attract more “un-hardcore” players. Allowing consumers to spend little time on it for several minutes anywhere at their convenient, it simply attracts them by the game’s entertaining quality and casualness. Then, by interaction between the game and the player and the bonus mechanism, the continuous gratification keeps the players with a longer connectivity. Other than those, privacy and security, marketing virality, etc. also affect user’s activeness and attractiveness. In conclusion, despite game interface, there are mechanics, gameplay and ideal stories that taken into account when evaluating a good game. In the rest of the paper, I’ll focus more on the design principles, like software and hardware dependence, modules interaction and network communication, etc. on analyzing the specific application on the game industry.

Affordance

The term affordance was first introduced by Gibson in 1977 to interpret the interaction of the environment and the user from the ecological psychology view. The prevalence of smartphones has drawn huge attention over the affordance for exploring user’s perception and adoption for ICT (Information and Communication Technology) products (Leonardi,2011), which can actually affect the usability of the products. The graphic interface design and interface interaction of game design mostly benefit from the capacity of the smartphone screen.

Graphic User Interface

The icon of the game is made up of three basic items of the game: two normal candies and a special one (which owns some special function). Here are several more examples of the icon design in the game.

With the emerging smartphone screen development, the screen resolution has been experiencing a rapid improvement from 1136*640 of iPhone 5 to 2436*1125 of iPhone X. The Apple corporation nearly doubles its presenting quality to reach the lucidity of object presenting. And the newest MacBook Pro 13’ has a higher resolution of 2560*1600. Other than the displaying quality regarding screen resolution between the mobile device and PC, the screen arrangement is also sharing a different ratio. The following is a comparison of the same module (the first stage of the map) of the game entrance interface. The left one is what displayed on a webpage that is more like a square shape and is organized as a plane layout, while the right one is compatible with my iPhone 8 that not only adopts a rectangle shape but also demonstrates a deepened arrangement that simulates natural physics law of a foreshortening perspective. Moreover, when zooming in the two screenshots, I can see there is a worse fringe color on the PC website since this display area has fewer pixels to hold different color dots to achieve a smooth transition. However, one thing that the PC webpage one overweighs the mobile one is that it reacts to the cursor and the click while the mobile one can only sense the touch/press. Both cursor and touch ask for the detection within a specific area that I’ll illustrate more thoroughly in the following parts.

Vibration

The vibration of a smartphone is connected to the haptics. Inside a phone, there is usually a vibration motor inside the smartphone that controls the thousands of vibrations of our phone each day. The vibration in Candy Crush can notify an effective swiping together with the elimination of an array of candies. After the swiping triggers the backstage program, it analyzes whether a player’s action is effective or not together by delivering signals to the vibration program. If it is classified to be an effective swipe, it will both complete the exchanging action and the vibration, along with a slight sound effect generated by the speaker of the smartphone. If it is classified to be a noneffective swipe, it will neither complete the exchanging action nor make the sound effect, but will still activate the vibration motor that indicates the swiping action.

Other than that, the design of the smartphone inserts the functional module of the vibration motor, which not only helps with the convenience of smartphone users but also creates more possibilities for the application designers. I still remember when I first set up my iPhone, it asked me to customize some functions that are related to my personal habits. The vibration feedback is one of such examples. iPhone actually provides several vibration patterns for its users to choose from and apply to different occasions. It is not only a feedback or a reminder from the phone, but also an interaction between the user and the device which lets users know that they are participating in the design process of their devices and also improving the user experience.

Consistency

For a long time, designers of physical products and internet applications have formed a common knowledge to adopt a strong consistency both from other pre-existing works and other parts of this system. Replicating and transferring the older services into a new context greatly increase the usability and learnability of a new application or product. Lidwell, Holden, and Butler classified the system consistency of design principles into 4 types: the aesthetic consistency, the functional consistency, the internal consistency, and the external consistency.

Aesthetic consistency

The aesthetic design on the interface of one application leaves the users a strong visual impression for the basic characteristics and functions. Previous researchers have concluded that visual aesthetics plays an important role in the evaluation process of users when they encounter an interaction system (Tractinsky, Cokhavi, Kirschenbaum & Sharfi, 2006). The consistency in Candy Crush reflects both in its icon design and its uniform style throughout the game.

For the simplest element—a candy, the designers rebuild a candy world by animating geometric figures with designed lightening effect to mimic the true candy shape. By means of the pixels and their capacity on the screen, one pixel can display 16777216 colors by changing the proportion of the primary colors (Red, Green and Blue) and their luminance by 256 extents. As human eyes are most sensitive to those colors, the huge variety of colors is enough for human eyes to recognize. Also, plus the high resolution of current electrical devices, the icons can present a 3D effect. By arranging the colors on different pixels, the designers create a vivid color effect including highlight and shadow of an object, thus can simulate what we see every day in our life.  Nowadays, designers are always trying to simulate human eyes effect to focus on the “human-centered” interaction and promote the communication between users and the machine. Creating an interface from the users’ point of view helps the users to understand the system without having a knowledge of the algorithm behind the interface or any complicated learning instructions. It helps the users figure out what something does, how it works and what operations and interactions are possible in this system (Norman, 2013). Not only the candies displayed on the game icon or the level composition, the obstacles and boosters also show a vivid simulation of real-world objects for user’s recognition.

Functional consistency

In an interaction system, there are always some signifiers that can be easily precepted by the users and explicitly illustrate their functions in the right place. The functional consistency uses symbols from previous social experience and asks the users to leverage them those previous knowledge in dealing with a new application. Common signifiers to some extent teach people how to control those functions in the new environment.

There are several main special candies in the game Candy Crush. Based on fundamental candy forms, there are advanced types of candies, such as striped candies (those with horizontal strips and those with vertical stripes), wrapped candies (those look like a bag of candies) and color bombs (the black chocolate ball covered with colorful sprinkles). Stripes candies allow users to eliminate an entire row or columns candies. We get to know the direction by observing the direction of the stripes: those with horizontal stripes can clear all candies of their rows and those with vertical stripes can clear all candies of their columns. Wrapped candies can explode and eliminate the 8 candies around it in a 3*3 rectangle range, it is designed like a shopping bag that can explode anytime and create a strong damage around it. The color bombs can clear all the candies with the same color after being swiped with a color candy near it. The large amount of colorful candies attached to the chocolate ball shows its capability to absorb a large amount of candies at one time. Beyond those, there are also various kinds of boosters, blockers and obstacles with different designs and t functions. Candy Crush hardly has any instructions for users to learn how to create or use specific items or boosters. A good functional consistency also focuses on creating an appropriate affordance to make the users’ desire doable with the technology used.

Internal consistency

We can see the internal consistency everywhere in a design: The icon of the game shares the same elements with the compositions, the character design and environment design both achieve a playful and colorful theme, not to mention the sound effects. All those elements are combined together and provide the users with a joyful consistency that also cultivates trust with the users.

External consistency

It is not an easy thing for various internet products are observed having similar design standards, but it is essential for users to have a continuous perception of using habits to let game designers apply those intelligence into new game creations. In the early 2000s, when emerging mobile games were carried by the improvement of smartphone techniques, they were also exploring the best-fitting way to help with the effective communication between users and machines, as well as encourage the appropriate feedback from the system. Before Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds promoted the interaction between users and the game in virtue of screen-touching control technique. The development of touchscreen enables the installation of mass interaction application and better exploits the affordance and possibility of smartphone.

There are many substrates on a smartphone screen or other devices that support touchscreen function, in which the top several layers are transparent that catch electrically movement. When our fingers touch on the screen, there is a touch sensor that detects the presence or movement of one object within a touch-sensitive area. Therefore, it can catch the location, proximity, pressure magnitude, etc. of the object movement. In this way, our bodies get to connect with the computing system and become part of the design.

In Candy Crush, after the players making an “swiping gesture”, the screen then provides the feedback as the result of exchanging the position of two candies. However, the rules of the game restrain the effectiveness of the exchange. If the exchange action makes a three same matching in the same row or column, or combine two special candy to promote a stronger effect, the exchange is considered effective, vice versa and the two candy jellies return to their original position, and this noneffective swiping won’t be concluded in the movement limitation.

Some touch sensors include several electrodes on different substrates. By approaching the screen with our finger, there exist several electronic changes on different layers of the touch-sensitive areas and thus enables the screen to recognize our gestures and moving tendency. Fruit Ninja, similarly, uses a screen swipe to simulate the chopping action when a fruit is “killed”. The users first create a moving path on the screen, after the sensor detects and decodes it as a continuous action, the feedback would be a cut-up effect follows the line on the screen. So is Angry Birds. The successful action in Angry Birds requires the detection of both moving path and the intensity and touching time. No matter what, by copying some properties of familiar objects or operations, they mimic the users’ daily using habit and maintain a good user experience.

People are better at recognizing things they have previously experienced than recalling them from memory (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010). In a complex system, it is important to make unfamiliar things recognizable. Often, encountering familiar options stimulates users’ acceptance and the decision-making process of a new product. Maintaining the consistency of application is thus important for designers to adopt previous game design construction and apply those experiences into new product creation.

Feedback Loop

Candy Crush is a game of luck, as the success of the level depends on the random candy pattern you are given. Actually, not completely random. The game researchers classified it as a behaviorist psychology strategy. It stimulates a positive feedback loop that encourages a repetitive behavior. The level is divided into several difficulties, at the beginning of the introduction of a new element, the game is at the entry-level to help the players develop substantial skills in recognizing and applying those elements. Then, it suffers a relatively higher difficulty to reduce the satisfactory and intrigue their competitivity. And at one time, an easier level will be needed again to maintain the player’s activeness and confidence.

When it comes to how to control the level difficulty, there are many patterns of the algorithm design that decide the overall difficulty of one level. For example, the players cannot predict the falling pattern of the candies. Every time a bunch of candies are cleared, there will be candies dropping from the very top and become part of the new candy pattern. Therefore, the game will be planning the dropping candies that decide whether the possibility of a user to complete the current level. For the users, they can either choose a riskier way without predicting possible falling patterns or resisting change and maintaining an equilibrium strategy in game playing. This is a mutual feedback that also requires a long-term memory and analysis of the player’s operating habits. It keeps the player assessing their plans and choices of the game strategy. It has long enticed the players to stick to this uncertainty.

Discussion

Video games have been developing since the existence of internet and computational technologies. The construction of game design is built on the affordance and capability of current technology and decides the degree and development phase that a game can be supported. Learning from the previous experience, game designers pass the intelligence to new game creation and innovative application. Although it seems that Candy Crush has adopted a simple customer logic design, the development background is actually deeply rooted in the human primitive behavior pattern for a long time. Game company thus manages to demonstrate a lower development cost and let it become popular all in a sudden.

Those universal design principles and the examples provided above indicate the adaptability and continuity of some basic design rules: affordance to best apply the hardware capacity and software capacity into user interactive process, consistency to stimulate recognition and build trust with users and make the game more controllable and learnable, also, an appropriate feedback that keeps the stickiness and activeness of users by memorizing and analyzing their previous behavior patterns. This article decomposes the daily game habit into calculable and controllable rules and techniques that make what used to be obscure and hidden design logic more transparent. Therefore, it concludes several wide-applied design principles in the game design industry and retains the possibility to further optimize PC and mobile video games, but also helps with the forecast and evaluation of the consumer’s future performances and behaviors.

 

References:

Anderson, G. S., Varonis, E. M., & Varonis, M. E. (2015). Deconstructing candy crush: what instructional design can learn from game design. The international journal of information and learning technology.

Cheema, S. (2019, June 27). A whopping 9.2 million people play ‘Candy Crush’ for 3 hours daily. Retrieved from https://sea.mashable.com/entertainment/4647/a-whopping-92-million-people-play-candy-crush-for-3-hours-daily.

Dondlinger, M. J. (2007). Educational video game design: A review of the literature. Journal of applied educational technology4(1), 21-31.

Guard, D. B., & Trend, M. (2018). U.S. Patent No. 9,965,106. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Heaven, D. (2014). Engineered compulsion: why Candy Crush is the future of more than games. New Scientist222(2971), 38-41.

Jerald, J. (2015). The VR Book: Human-centered design for virtual reality. Morgan & Claypool.

Leonardi, P.M. (2011), “When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: affordance, constraint, and the imbrication of human and material agencies”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 147-167.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal principles of design. Beverly, Mass: Rockport Publishers.

Omori, M. T., & Felinto, A. S. (2012). Analysis of motivational elements of social games: a puzzle match 3-games study case. International Journal of Computer Games Technology2012, 9.

Smith, D. (2014, April 1). This is what Candy Crush Saga does to your brain | Dana Smith. Retrieved December 15, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/apr/01/candy-crush-saga-app-brain.

Tractinsky, N., Cokhavi, A., Kirschenbaum, M., & Sharfi, T. (2006). Evaluating the consistency of immediate aesthetic perceptions of web pages. International journal of human-computer studies64(11), 1071-1083.

Tsai, J. and Ho, C. (2013), “Does design matter? Affordance perspective on smartphone usage”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 113 No. 9, pp. 1248-1269.

2018 Video Game Industry Statistics, Trends & Data – The Ultimate List. (2019, November 5). Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/.

Web Design Application and User Information Security

Xueying Duan

The Internet designs aiming at creating a bigger platform to cover unlimited servers and clients into an integrated system. We discussed several methods in optimizing internet transforming methods before including breaking information down into different layers. The term layer is used in new media forms and is gradually introduced into the internet design area. When discussing a streaming work or any interaction medium on the internet, we see different components of it. There’s audio track, image track, lines track and various meta elements like sound effect, timbre, pixel and color data, the transformation from natural signal to electric signal and back to natural signal (like the presentation of sound, word, video and so on). The same is applied in the internet design thinking process. We started talking about modules and modular design principle from the very beginning of the class. Until now, we can still see its popularity in every field of application. Internet is a mixture of all kinds of medium genres, and the decomposition of each single piece combines together to form what we now see a complicated and sophisticate internet “network”.

Hypertext and hypermedia is a frequent word using to describe how internet connect individual address and device together. I see the concept of HTML, CSS, Javascript in building a webpage and learn a little bit from my friends who is studying web development this semester. Hypertext is the basic standard for document designed to be displayed in a website browser, shows the interaction with various media form on a single page and enable people to view external files that were encoded ahead as a specific navigation mark at this page. When using an HTML-coding online editor like Glitch, I see that people can choose what types of devices they’re going to display on (like MacBook, iPad, different version of iPhone and other media players) in order to adapt to the size, resolution and viewing habit, etc. However, I also noticed that there’re several web design software like Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Xd. The first one is a common tool for both amateur and professional web designers to present a website with the advantage of visualization at the same time of coding. The second one is mostly used to design for mobile apps. For most people who do not have a professional practice with coding, these software allow everyone to design a website simply by pulling in and arranging images and paragraphs. However, when delving deeper in the Adobe Dw, I find that there are also boxes supported to insert many types of web design languages like C#, CSS, HTML, Java, JavaScript, and many others, and the syntax highlighting function in it helps with the recognization of different functional sentences. Even in WordPress, we can choose whether to show me the visual view or text view that has a different concentration on whether visualize the final presentation or the raw code. Other than traditional coding platforms that request people to focus on the code all the time, this kind of preview software help us better follow the output of our thoughts and shows a visualized page. Back to the previous topic, every software we use that seems to reduce its entry barrier for actually still follow that basic internet design principles rather in a more secret layer.

Moreover, many websites introduce cookies to store and control user’s personal information including account and password, encrypted bank account number, viewing frequency and habit and so on. Each website creates your personal computer a unique code that links your device with its database. Many searching engine integrate those document to create a whole personal profile that have more your information in it in order to present the users with better service and customized content. In that case, we consumers are actually the most important “product”. Those who hold more information of consumers can actually stand out from its competitors for better targeting the consumers and hold an advantage for other advertisers to customize their content to us. “Selling” users’ information nowadays is more common for companies out of the restriction for user privacy. It, on the other hand, helps us with the decision-making process and on the other hand, has seduced us to jump into the companies’ plot.

References:

Martin Irvine, Intro to the Web: Extensible Design Principles and “Appification”

Ron White, “How the World Wide Web Works.” From: How Computers Work. 9th ed. Que Publishing, 2007.

World Wide Web Timeline (Pew Research Internet Project)

The W3C: World Wide Web Consortium: Overview of Mission and Standards from the international organization that manages development of services and extensions to Web architecture.

https://glitch.com/

Internet data transmission: from LAN to Internet

Xueying Duan

This week’s readings bring us to the interaction between internet devices and what is behind the interface that presents to users. The success of the internet (or what we see today) is all based on a uniform principle — online communication. There can’t be a further connection between digital devices unless they have access to the same online system. Everything we do on the “internet” is actually all based on communicating in an invisible space. Before the existence of the World Wide Web, I remembered that there used to be “Network Neighborhood” that links all digital devices like computers, printers and other resources that are connected to the same “Local-area Network”. Computers in it create a special folders to store files and informations of each single computer and share them within the whole group like a “cloud”. Also, there’s one “browse master” that takes control of the whole network system. Until now, there’re companies using this kind of half-closed network connection to collect and manage their sharing materials and information.

We can now connect into one Wifi networking (Wireless-LAN) and form some connection with each other. Or we can turn on the airdrop or Bluetooth to send packages all in a second. And the online applications, we managed to communicate with other people instantly based on the information/data transforming quickly through some techniques. The internet is not telling us how it was made to accomplish those functions, but just present it to us and benefit our daily life. After this week’s reading, I notice the internet common protocols which are designed to allow individuals to connect to the internet under the same transmission system. This common protocol is developed out of how a telephone is conducting a two-way communication through a reserved circuits. The IP, however, breaks down the data into different packets and allows them to transmit separately and also at a high speed. In this case, our information is like being stored in a public domain. When the software or applications have the demand to reach some specific information, they get access to easily subtract what they need from specific packets and deliver them into further processing program.

The design of computer and the internet can never be finished. I see the transition from PAN to LAN, WLAN, MAN, WAN, and to Internet in a rapidly-developing speed when searching for information. The scalability and extensibility of the internet allows virtual data communication technique to gradually update and integrate continually. The future internet connection development is also built on new modules, layers and so on in a pre-existing principle and increase its connection scale and data quantity. But I still cannot recognize the difference between WAN (Wide-area Network), Internet and WWW (World Wide Web) and am looking forward to further explanation.

References:

Martin Irvine, The Internet: Design Principles and Extensible Futures (Why Learn This?)

Denning and Martell, Great Principles of Computing, Chap. 11, “Networking.”

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, April 29). My Network Places. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:04, November 15, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=My_Network_Places&oldid=838768423

Hybrid Media, Affordance and Previous Design Research

Xueying Duan

For this week, the introduction of hybrid media helps me with the understanding of the blackbox of product design. Hybrid media can be seen as a mix of various media forms. It enables multiple function modules to be applied in one integrated application and serve the overall operation. It’s like tearing the application apart into several different layers, the first layer – the interface, is the external layer that presents us with the ultimate graphic presentation. The second layer may have GPS function, photo-shooting function, payment function and so on. Followed by the huge database, algorithm and deeper program including binary numbers. This kind of hierarchy and the overlaps between layers are included in all stages of electronic products’ development.

For a long time. Many companies have been working on the optimization of the affordance on a simple device. Just look at the screen of a smartphone. Every upgrade is made for promoting it to carry more pixels in a limited space. The same is with the camera. HUAWEI recently released its smartphone with supersensing and telephoto camera which not only shows the improvement of the camera design but also the development of screen display. Although I don’t totally agree with the crankiness of focusing on the update of camera precision and variety, it can still somehow represent the technology tendency of maximizing the affordance.

Moreover, with the ambition of internet companies and the intense market situation. There occur many homogenous products that share a similar function but differentiate in their designing details. For me and some designers, the process of launching a new product or new function is the process of communicating with your consumers. The focus should be on how to keep consumers’ interest in learning and accepting your application, or how to let them explore your products painless and follows your principles. If I compare the interface of two similar apps: Booking and ctrip. First of all, when I was doing the screenshotting of the two apps, I noticed that ctrip (which is a Chinese platform) cannot change its display language into English which I find a little bit inconvenient.

By comparing the welcoming page of them. Booking presents the choice like destination, dates and so on precisely in the middle which ctrip, because it integrates too many functions in one app, requires users to find the hotel booking module among lots of choices. In the next few steps, they both present a very good filter function of the results like types or brands. But when I come to the checking out section, booking usually charges you the price that they present exactly on the result page while I sometimes find that the price when I’m going to check out is a little bit different than what shows out there. Moreover, every time I make my appointment on Booking during a trip, it always presents me with the purchased date on the searching box and gives suggestions on the destinations or routines during the available days. Although it’s not precise or useful sometimes, I can still see its innovation and better user experience. 

I also noticed that the research on gesture recognition was performed firstly in the corporate, rather than in the university which most innovations took place first. My explanation is, during the manufacture of electronic devices, it first happens when the corporate or industry was thinking about developing the user experience of early electronic devices. Rather, university labs that own some funding from the government tend to focus more on the basic principles of the whole industry like mouse, windows and so on.  I’m still a little bit confused on the big gap between each two fields of those technologies and the difference between corporate research and commercial research, I would very like to hear about more explanations on the occurrence of those distinctions between categories.

References:

Martin Irvine, Introduction to Symbolic-Cognitive Interfaces: History of Design Principles (essay). Read Part 3.

Martin Irvine, (New Intro) From Cognitive Interfaces to Interaction Designs with Touch Screens.

Brad A. Myers, “A Brief History of Human-Computer Interaction Technology,” Interactions 5, no. 2 (March 1998): 44-54.

Human Symbol Manipulation and User Interface Building

Xueying Duan

The early computer is designed for human problem-solving, especially in mathematical and logic process. Although the device itself is big in its size, it can only deal with a single task at one time and run the orders in a linear sequence. Gradually, it was introduced graphical elements and allow users to interact with it using the displayed interface, which calls for the definition of GUI and occurs different interaction interface experiences pointing to the same function. The concept of “desktop” of the modern computer is a typical interface. The word desktop actually originated from the surface of a desk which people use to manage personal belongings and multiple works. Considering user’s demand and the affordance of this object, here comes the prototype of modern computer that we now are used to which combines screen, memory, mouse, keyboard and so on in an integrated device that allow user to interact between each layers. What interests me is the concept of the Symbol Manipulation System designed for individual to transform symbol ideas into machines. Human thinking itself is one kind of symbol manipulation that they can add their intelligence into a machine to reach some intention or action. As the computer science developing, there exists several methods that enable digital users to be creators using specific computer language or software, which bring what was supposed to be limited inside computer scientist to open to everyone in the same virtual world. Human’s creativity and our cultural symbols can often lead us into new creations. As sometimes we believe that we are sharing the same principles in user interfaces, there’re still significant distinction according to different physical structures and perceptions.

Speaking of the idea of “user interface”, I’m trying to think about an application or website which can customize its interface or function out of users’ preference or demand. Then social platform service comes into my mind. Although unlike a specific software that can be arranged freely according to the user’s design, social media like Twitter or Instagram allow users to customize their following list in order to receive what they prefer to watch. Traditional media like CNN and the Guardian mostly foster the pattern of cramming information to its users rather than let the user pick whatever they would like to see due to their personal interests. Social media, to some extent, have fulfilled one’s will to design their content on a pre-existing program. Another product is Apple’s IOS system, which allows users to customize their dock, desktop and gestures on the SketchPad to promote a more fluent user experience. After all, although I currently cannot come up with a specific software or program that user can randomly change the position or function of its modules. Social media and IOS both share the same design principle about the flexible tendency to decompose what used to be like a whole system into different modules and then reconnect them via specific interfaces and finally, like Manovich said, create a cultural medium.

References:

Martin Irvine, Introduction to Symbolic-Cognitive Interfaces for Computer Systems: History of Design Principles (essay).

Lev Manovich, Software Takes Command, pp. 55-106, on the background for Allan Kay’s “Dynabook” Metamedium design concept.

Bill Moggridge, ed., Designing Interactions. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007. Excepts from Chapters 1 and 2: The Designs for the “Desktop Computer” and the first PCs.

Computing and Coding

Xueying Duan

One idea of this week’s readings is that the concept of computer is derived from people’s calculating ability. Inspired by human’s calculating habit, the computer is designed to repeat human work at a higher speed. And the concept of computational thinking brings me back to a Chicken and Egg Situation. I can see a lot in common of the characteristic of computational thinking and what we discussed about the design thinking process of product developing (for example, a computer). Computational thinking requires us to think reversely, which means that we need to trace back to our intention in making every decision. What would we like to achieve? And how to arrange the module and each component and let them interact with each other? How to simplify the computing process of different occasion into something universal or can adopted widely in order to support some overall request (like the introduction of binary)? What are the affordance and limitations of it? How to improve it to fit in diverse situations? These questions all come to me when I start to think about making a new product that fulfills some users’ new requirements. The same is with the development of the computer. Devote the computational thinking process into the product development enables the vitality and success of modern artifacts. Computer science, from the very beginning of its birth, is related to various fields like mathematics, electrical engineering and some computational-oriented science. It is built to solve daily questions for people. Thus, this subject is first being created and observed and then being defined and clarified as an independent research field. What makes me a little bit confusing is the installation process of the algorithm in the computer. If people use some uniform “language” (algorithm) to control the action of computer, what is the process before the computers have learned to recognize the languages? Is there a teaching and studying process?

Computer science equals programming. So then I take the Basic of Programming tutorial on the Codecademy. It first introduces the principle of computer language that we must make the sentence extremely uniform to make it recognizable for computers. Basically it introduces three basic data types: numbers, strings and boolean data. But then I run into big confusion when learning the definition of function and the use of it in Java Script. Then I come across the definition of control flow, which is the order of execution in a program and create different logic command for computers. BTW, here is a program that I write to tell a story…

After the tutorial, what is clearer is the procedure of computational language. Basically, it accords with the daily speaking habit of people, which makes us a lot easier to understand each command by simply reading it. By mastering some basic rules when writing to a computer like the use of specific punctuation and terms, we can then “chat” with the computer. Every miracle we now see is happening due to hundreds and thousands of sentences just like this. Everything about the computer is based on human intelligence and calculating habits. 

References:

Martin Campbell-Kelly, “Origin of Computing.” Scientific American 301, no. 3 (September 2009): 62–69.

Jeannette Wing, “Computational Thinking.” Communications of the ACM 49, no. 3 (March 2006): 33–35.

Peter J. Denning, “The Great Principles of Computing.” American Scientist, October, 2010.

Information system: from machine to machine learning

Xueying Duan

Information system is a convergent system that combines telecommunication and computing techniques together in order to deliver information to the receivers. What makes the system reliable is the process when the information (signal) is transforming to something that most receivers can comprehend easily and also interpreting the intention of the sender clearly. The signal-code-transmission model is widely used in many of today’s situations and applications, no matter when we’re going to transfer our information through a physical speaker or the designers of a product need to deliver his purpose and design clearly through the screen. The main feature of the signal-code-transmission model is the randomness and uncertainty happened in information communication. It is somehow due to the limitation of technology, every change happened during the transformation of information on a machine can sometimes be misunderstood. Therefore, the introduction of information entropy has later provide researchers a way to optimize the effectiveness of information communication.

Also, the introduction of bit largely help with the storage and communication of all electronic devices. The binary system well matches the process that digital information is created, transformed and stored. Machine first tears apart every input and reconstruct them. But the meaningful parts in our system like signs and symbols, on most occasions, do not have a specific meaning that has a universally acknowledged interpretation. Moreover, most knowledge in our cultural accumulation can’t apply dichotomy that it become even harder for us to decode those mysterious codes.

Human culture’s continuity, to some extent, based on the human habits in historical learning and the process of gradually transform signs to symbols. Without a uniform rule for coding and interpreting, we humans can still receive other people’s information with a low error rate, while digital devices require complicated rule to regulate the communicating process in order to get rid of or minimize the influence of noises. On the other side, it is due to the consistency within machines and electric devices help them simplify the process of communication between different systems as long as they share the same rule.

The theory of information system remind me of machine learning or AI. The process of machine learning is like a continuous trial to reduce information entropy. Denning and Bell says, a computer is a machine that uses some information to control how it transforms other information. As the technique for controlling a computer is quite mature these days, scientists have started to research on how to let a computer choose the effective information independently. I am thinking about the process of how an AI program is sorting information among thousands of them. The process of judging from two identical databases and the error-correcting program inside a machine all improve the correctness when making judgments and during the machine learning process. The binary also guarantees the speed and smooth transmission within an intelligent machine.

References:

Martin Irvine, Introduction to the Technical Theory of Information (read first)

Luciano Floridi, Information: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010. Read Chapters 1-4. Excerpts.

Peter Denning and Tim Bell, “The Information Paradox.” From American Scientist, 100, Nov-Dec. 2012.

Affordance and Restrains in the Interface of Lime and Scooter

Xueying Duan

Affordance and constrains present us with a direct perception of an artifact as we see it. So the process when an artifact is designed also accord with the affordance principle that allows us to quickly specify its function under the outer cover of it. When considering an artifact, the inner function should be appropriate to the outer environment that the artifact can serve its purpose perfectly. For this term, I come up with the invention of scooters as well as the application Lime which serves as an electric scooter rental platform.

Firstly, Scooter provides me with a good example of the understanding of affordance and constrains. Scooter as a new transportation vehicle shares the same affordance with traditional vehicles that enable citizens to travel for a long distance within the city rather than walk on foot. Scooter exists during the evolution of a skateboard, that notify people to stand on the large deck and generate it with rolling two wheels at the front and back. As it comes to people that it is often difficult for many of us to keep a balance on a skateboard, a scooter installs a standing rod to help navigate the direction as well as keep a balance. There’s also a kickstand in the middle of the deck to mobilize the whole scooter when the user wants to park it temporarily. These are all physical affordance according to Zhang and Patel. Moreover, an electric scooter also has an accelerator on its handle that provides propulsion to the scooter. As the handle is designed to be a cylinder as well as the wheels, users can easily get to know to rotate the handle for accelerating as it matches with the principle of perceptual affordance. We also learn how to stop an electric scooter using brake that is a convention from the familiarity of the bicycle. These characteristics enable us to quickly identify a scooter’s affordance when look at one rather than any separated part of it. Also because we’ve already familiar with many types of vehicles like cars, bicycles and scooters. We can easily see their constrains. The usage of a car is constrained by its physical appearance that limits its driving occasion, road condition and requires the accessibility to a gas station. The application of scooter is limited by its electric support that one can hardly cover a long distance using a scooter. Also, it might be not that firm for some occasions. But we can still see the remediation between a scooter and a car that scooters have gradually been optimized to support more outing occasion.

As for the interface of the application Lime, firstly we can quickly identify it as something related to a scooter from its icon as a wheel. The shape of the name “lime” also accords with the shape of a real wheel. After entering the “desktop” of it, what presents us is actually a nearby map that shows the location of the available sharing scooters. The explicitness of the location of the scooters as well as the annotation about the distance and estimated time all influence the decision-making process of a consumer as it has provided many conveniences. On the bottom of the interface is a “scan” button with an icon of a line in the middle of a square. Users’ are so familiar with the QR code and the scanning instruction on our other applications that we get to know there will be a scan box for us to put the QR code on the body of a scooter in it. Moreover, there’re small battery icon beside each available spot for scooters that shows the remaining electricity of the specific one. When a user pressed the scooter icon, there exists a command whether to ring the scooter or reserve it, as well as the remaining distance it can cover and the exact spending on this journey. It also shows the navigating reference line for the user to reach the scooter faster. Moreover, while moving the map to some remote area, it also shows the parking-forbidden area which is marked red on the screen that leads us to acknowledge the appropriate parking area. The whole system is carried on the direction function of Google Map and an online database of the condition of each scooter as I can hardly find its constrains as a user. However, from the system design and accumulative perspective, Lime also need permission to some private data like payment methods and location service. And this function can be constrained when people do not have a powered smartphone with cellular data.

Designers have always been doing some refinements to a pre-existing product to make it affordable with people’s daily needs and habits. And we should always see our nearby object from the perspective of system designing to see how something is designed under the consideration of its affordance, constrains and interfaces.

References:

Martin Irvine, “Introduction to Affordances and Interfaces.”

Donald A. Norman, “Affordance, Conventions, and Design.” Interactions 6, no. 3 (May 1999): 38-43.

Jiajie Zhang and Vimla L. Patel. “Distributed Cognition, Representation, and Affordance.” Pragmatics & Cognition 14, no. 2 (July 2006): 333-341.

Sociotechnical theory and innovation’s historical view

Xueying Duan

This weeks’ reading mainly focuses on the everlasting discussion between the relationship of technology development, media existence and culture evolution. Human has started to use natural materials and other technique in handy to create artifacts and contribute to our convenience for a long time. It usually seems that the process of creating is a human evolution which differs artifacts with natural sources by means of applying them appropriately and endow them with further significance.

Media has always existed among human development, from language to written record, from traditional medium to digital one. McLuhan proposed his famous ‘the medium is the message’ which claims that it is the media that are the most significant messages during human development. It emphasizes the importance of medium itself rather than the contents it carries. Although it seems to most of us that the contents which carry the most important information is what shape our behavior and attitude in the short period. But the medium form, and the technology behind it are actually leading toward a long-term evolution in people’s social habits. Even more, according to the sociotechnical theory, it is the social habits and the dynamic cultural development that trigger further evolution in technology and more media forms.

Podcast is an example that combining the sociotechnical theory with the accumulative cognitive advances and module design principle altogether. Podcast is a modern digital casting platform that works like a mobile radio while adopting the UGC pattern. Look back at the invention of radio, which first appear along with the discovery of electromagnetic theory, when people started to consider radio as a news receiving tool as gradually turn to a medium to spread, communicate and educate the public. After efficient communicating between information and the fast developing of information technology, the Internet exists as a worldwide spread of information that breaks the constraints of time and space. Follows by the trend of digitalization of our daily products. For those digital natives, they are enjoying their digital identity as both an information receiver and an information creator. Podcast exist as a combination of traditional social habit of information communication using the carrier/medium of audio and the digital lifestyle of sharing and recommending. This process presents the sociotechnical system of audio, internet and the evolution of social habits and human culture between their developing and applying. And also from the system and cognitive accumulation view, software and technology developments are first designed and then gradually become part of human being’s society and intellectual property, and continue as the technique accumulation in a long term. It is a mutual influence in the culture-shaping and medium development. rather than simply one-way communication. They are actually co-produced and co-constitutive.

Consider the design of Podcast as a blackbox, we cannot see the internal structure of it clearly simply from the external presentations or an iconic sign. The de-blackboxing process of Podcast reveals the different modules that construct of it. The account is linked with users’ Google account which has access to the viewing record, media-using habits, searching history an so on that support the interaction between different platforms that share the same account and personal profile. And the algorithm behind users’ habit enables it to better distribute or recommend to the target users. Moreover, it also has links to project on the outer devices via pin code or voice-activated. Using such methods by elaborating each module’s function and interfaces helps with better understanding the inner part of a blackbox.

References:

Martin Irvine, “Understanding Media, Mediation, and Sociotechnical Systems: Developing a De-Blackboxing Method”

Pieter Vermaas, Peter Kroes, Ibo van de Poel, Maarten Franssen, and Wybo Houkes. A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2011.

Regis Debray, “What is Mediology?”, from Le Monde Diplomatique, Aug., 1999. Trans. Martin Irvine.

Accumulative cognitive advances in human development and product designing

Xueying Duan

This week’s readings partly remind me of what we discussed in week 2 about the artifacts created by humans and served us as enhanced “tools” on a specific environment or function. However, this week’s articles enrich my understanding of artifacts as “continuum of accumulative cognitive advances” during the development of human beings. What impressed me most this week is the term “cultural mediation”. How can we simply regard everything human created from primitive to modern as tools to cope with the difficulties happened around us. Human created language, which might be the greatest invention across every species down the ages, as a unique intelligence to communicate, record, trade and develop different cultures here and there. Humans also invented fire first as a tool to heat raw food and at a time worked as a bridge and gift to maintain harmony with neighboring tribes and finally turned to weapons and power in technology inventions. Not only does the position of artifacts change as time goes by, but they are also rearranged due to the cognition of humans that posit them differently. As the meditational triangle mentions: the meditational means has an impact on how the subject (human) consider the usage of object (tools) under different context and time period. The use of artifacts and signs has always linked with human activity.

Take Wikipedia as a common example for “Cognitive artifact” which I regard as an encyclopedia plus digital technologies in modern society. Although Wikipedia does not exist until recent years, but its users could be found all over the world nowadays. We now can find more than 5,935,000 articles related to different subjects in different languages all in a sudden. There’s no doubt that it has become an online library that plays the role of traditional library but can we reach it no matter what time and space it is. During its development, we can see people keep updating those articles and improve its immediacy as well as accuracy. And it has also carried the function as community or forum where people can share/implement their own ideas. Moreover, it surprisingly balance the relationship between the privacy of each person as well as regulating their behavior in anonymous commenting and viewing.

Another example is Amazon Prime, which combines the membership which can provide customers with products in a high discount with fulfilling people’s need for fast delivery at one time. Also, it has now developed a wide range of services including TV programs, songs, books and are developing business cooperation with Whole Food, bank services and so on. The mobile payment technology and some recommendation algorithm plus those functions enable its platform to carry and integrate people’s daily needs in one simple APP/platform. This cannot be achieved without collecting people’s “historical psychology” for a long time. We can use Norman’s two views to analyze the evolution: From system view, we think the development of Amazon Prime has improved the efficiency of people’s lives as the installation of online payment and function integrity has saved our time which was distributed more separately before. From a personal view, the integrated and the accessibility has changed our daily habit, and for a designer, he can even use this innovation on the updating and optimizing other internet product.

References:

Michael Cole, On Cognitive Artifacts, From Cultural Psychology: A Once and Future Discipline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996. Connected excerpts.

Donald A. Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts.” In Designing Interaction, edited by John M. Carroll, 17-38. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Kate Wong, “The Morning of the Modern Mind: Symbolic Culture.” Scientific American 292, no. 6 (June 2005): 86-95.

Modularity in Product Development and Interface Design

Xueying Duan

Apple’s Innovation Intelligence

Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, no earlier than other smartphone producer. At the beginning of its occurrence, it creatively renovate its touchscreen rather than traditional physical keyboard and stylus, which was monopolized by Blackberry, Motorola and so on at that time. Nonetheless, Apple was seen as a design company at first that the first iPhone, we cannot deny, has lots of defects compared to other companies, like poor internet connection, lacking substantial function and a high price an so on. The user experience towards the touchscreen nowadays has confirmed its success in this innovation. iPhone has met people’s demand to use personal smartphones as a microcomputer which is easy to control and switch between applications smoothly. Its affordance has satisfactorily “correspondent with its intended function” (Lidwell, William, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler. Universal Principles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010.). We then look at the newly-released iPhone 11, as Apple mentions on iPhone’s webpage, “Just amount of everything” encapsulate this new version appropriately. The dual-camera system enables users to take a photo from wide to ultra-wide at the same time save the most detail of an enlarged photo, a new screen with better display technology improve the speed of facial identity and optimize the screen-looking. Other improvements in its camera all meet modern people’s daily demand for taking photos and shooting videos. As we look deeper as iPhone’s design module. It combines hundreds of function in one 13-inch box. Instant communicating with a receiver and a speaker, portable camera and an online personal album, digital wallet which enable us to pay without a physical credit card, music player as an iPod which can be connected to an earphone, maps and GPS, and most importantly, high-speed which is the base of mass online applications which satisfy our daily needs from all perspectives. We can also see the interaction between each modules: We adopt camera inside our social media that allows us to take photos or scan QR Codes; We insert maps and GPS when we’re calling a taxi or discovering restaurants or traveling guidances around us; We can even transform data between applications…As more and more applications share the same design logic and principle in their basic construction, the user experiences are also highly homogenized that lead to a better interacting experience, which also accords with the conformity principle in the design rule.

Modular principle in GUI

If we compare the computer system or a smartphone or any machine as a whole factory, integrated system, different applications or different functions can be compared to the machines as subsystems under the control of the factory. As the whole factory is a quite complicated system which owns millions of different modules to control different functions. Some of them may be independent of each other, but many of them may be adopted by several different machines. So in order to better organize them and watch their performance, designers divide them into different subsystems which control several elements and works as a whole to perform some functions. Therefore, an application was made and was represented with a specific graphical interface to distinguish and present their function. Also, the design of GUI also provides both the application designers and users with a standard for better regulating the aesthetic of the screen.

Module Analysis in RED—a social media and e-commerce platform

RED, also known as Xiaohongshu, is a mobile application in China as a community for users and some KOLs to post and share their product reviews, travel blogs and lifestyle stories via short videos and photos as well as an e-commerce platform. Basically it consists of 4 parts: the Front Page as the main sharing platform and are divided into My Following, Discover and Nearby to see people in different classifications; RED Mall which sells international products; Messages where users can interact with others and the Personal Profile page. This application is made to form a closed loop that users watch reviews, purchase items and produce their own contents.

On the Log in page, user can choose to create a new account which connect to his/her phone number, or they can just log in with their social media account (including Wechat, Weibo and QQ) as the app can find who is using RED from your friends on other social platforms. And the Share option also enables users to share with their friends on the former media. As a sharing platform whose main reviews are proposed with photos or videos, this app allow user to take photos or shoot videos from there camera or just choose from the album, it also has the function to record and publish a story by sliding to the right (similar to Instagram stories); It can also allow Users to discover posts from nearby users which adopt the location service of this smartphone; The accurate content distribution function is based on the big data algorithm which collects users’ reviewing habit. (BTW, I sometimes notice that it is also collecting my “words” from the microphone and messages sent on other platforms. For example, if I talked with my friends that I want to go to NYC next week and RED will present me with the recommended food, hotels, travel reviews in NYC on the same day. I guess it is quite common in many apps nowadays but it is also an interacting example on how this app links with other modules on the same phone to maximize its function). Products user view or those on the same categories will also be displayed on the RED Mall, which involves external payment method and delivery services. The message page allows users to check if anybody “likes” or “archive” their posts and they can also chat through a chat window.

From my perspective, The development of RED is actually based on several previous applications which share some similar functions. As Richard N. Langlois described in his Modularity in Technology and Organization, each module is independent but interdependent. I regard many modern functions which are quite sophisticated as public modules and what inventors do is to rearrange them in a new “box” to meet different demands, like what an Architecture Innovation mentions. Product Managers research on users’ psychology characteristics and behavior characteristics to design the most comfortable and effective interaction patterns, which may include the eye-movement habits of an interface, color preference, communicating demands, etc. What present on the “interface” of an application is just one final result from the whole design process out of many. There may be thousands of times failure on testing the cooperation of these independent modules, and it finally works together when it fits users’ habits.

References:

Lidwell, William, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler. Universal Principles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010. 

Richard N. Langlois, “Modularity in Technology and Organization.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 49, no. 1 (September 2002)

https://www.apple.com/iphone-11/

Artifact and Combination Creation: Development from Mobile Payment to Sharing Economy

Xueying Duan

Artifacts has long be seen as the intellectual result of human beings and a method to satisfy people’s daily need and cover for human’s disadvantages. Cognitive Artifacts by Norman mentions that the invention of artificial devices at first enhance our ability when defending some natural danger. However gradually carries a function to affect our cognition. We used to take things around us as granted as they are designed to serve us or fulfill people’s need. As we deconstruct the logic of product designing we should start to pay more attention to the “thingness” of each object that what is it meant to help us with our behavior and what’s people’s intention to build it so.

Another idea of combination work has also been mentions in several articles like Introduction to Design Thinking: Systems and Architectures by Martin Irvine and The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves by Brian Arthur on different perspectives. Prof. Irvine emphasize the importance of systematic design principle and the characteristic of mutually constitutive. And Arthur mentioned the continuity of a technique that is used to develop a series of related thing, like to combine the old, traditional technology and latest needs and presenting forms to creation. If we research on a product, we disintegrate it and find out that everything is operated in relation to each other. There is network between each modules and there’s also a sophisticated operating standard in the whole inventing/creating process. Moreover, look back at the history of design and inventing. Creation and Invention always comes from chaos rather that void, which is also compatible with the principle of combining. Managing the very first step before creating or upgrading a new product is important for us to learn the basic principle of the certain field which actually compose the most basic but most important knowledge. This also lead to what is mentioned in the latter part of the article that we break the complicated things down into parts or chunks to understand and manipulate it more easily.

I draw an analogy between mobile payment and sharing power bank as the same cluster of technology innovation that the latter one derived from the former one. If we trace the origin of sharing power bank, it will be the growing popularity of mobile payment and other mobile usage among different situations. However, the wide-spread of sharing economy is also due to the convenience of mobile payment and they share some similar function or prerequisite like both having a fixed transaction place as well as scan specific code to enter a set program and so on. As for this example, We see the similarities and development on a daily function and related technologies.

Reference:

Martin Irvine, Introduction to Design Thinking: Systems and Architectures.Print.

Brian Arthur, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves. New York: Free, 2009. Print.

Donald A. Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts” In Designing Interaction, edited by John M. Carroll, 17-38. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991.