Posts Tagged 'design'

Designing for Informal Mentorship?

This might be a kind of rambly piece but I want to get my thoughts out
while I still have them kind of together.
I was in the middle of tracking down some literature for our
independent reading list for the Student Life and Learning redesign and
this concept of “informal mentoring” came up as related to, but
different than, apprenticeship. I am trying to get access to the
perfect article for this exact thing (but due to issues with the ERIC
database we’ll see…). Anyways, what we are really wanting in the SLL
space is a better sense of community and belonging as well as more
students taking advantage of the mentorship possibilities. The
apprenticeship literature isn’t really of help here, as we are not
wanting to enculturate undergraduates into practices (or careers) in
student services. So this concept of mentorship seems perfect!
Relationships between the undergrads and professional staff can help
students by providing a) access to more information, b) a human point
of contact within the amorphous and faceless “university”, c) students
with much needed personal recommendation letters, and probably other
things that I am not even thinking of. Designing with the intention of
creating informal mentorships is somewhat of an oxymoron but a useful
goal. I think this really helps us to focus and get at the real “need”
that Rafi was pushing us about in class this past week.
I’m sure reading about this concept in the literature will shed some
light on what specifically we should be designing but right now I’m
thinking maybe it’s not about playing games at our series of “open
houses” but instead have group making projects at the open houses that
would promote informal interaction between and among all user groups
and also help to create a feeling of ownership in the space. Immediate
ideas that jump out are creating: a center banner that welcomes people
to the space and a collaborative mural for the long lonely hallway.



Design thinking and the car of the future

This is one of the videos from Stanford’s online archive of presentations: I stumbled across this earlier today while working on something totally unrelated to our class. This is a cool site though, they have other presentations by people from the and about designing. Check it out!

Also upcoming talks are listed here:

And podcasts of all of the entrepreneurial talks go all the way back to 2005!

I want to watch all of these right now!!! (alas I should do my actual homework though…)

Enjoy! -Andi


SuperHappyFun time Game Lab Design 2.0

It was great to see everyone’s prototypes of the space in class. Testing the other prototypes, as well as receiving feedback about ours helped us to make some informed changes to our design. Below is a link to our revised prototype. Feel free to review it and leave us a comment on this post!

Current iteration of the prototype:



To give a brief of some changes we made and why….we didn’t want to rely on the florescent overhead lighting, so we are still wanting to use lamps, but more mobile lamps. Also the lamps are kind of an artistic accent of sorts. So pretty but useful 🙂 Instead of having one wall be a white board, whiteboard painted wall for the walls will allow greatest use of wall space. A little research shows that this could be done on the cinder-block walls if they are spackeled and painted with Kilz first. We thought through the access issues more as a group and decided to go with a key code secured lock box that holds the door key that  would be mounted outside the door (a big thank you to whoever mentioned the lock boxes realtors use!). It seems there will be enough space just inside the doorway to fit a minifridge with a candy jar to make things a little more comfortable. Then three more cosmetic changes are adding decals as decorations both in the hall outside the room and inside to add more color, getting some geeky front door mat for just outside in the hallway, and finally we thought about adding some artwork but decided it would be way better to have a giant digital picture frame that we could upload pictures to or just display rotating pics from the internet. We think all these changes along with some of the original features of the prototype will make an inviting and productive atmosphere for all users of the space.

To see a budget for this design go here:

-Andi, Rafi, & Verily

Brainstorm about game lab space

So after looking at the files Sean shared with us, it seemed that the GLS game lab is organized around the tv/game console and the Miami lab has no overwhelming focal point. There are a few different areas in both labs. The media consumption area and the media creation area along the walls. One possible issue with the computers being in a line is that it is difficult to collaborate when you are down a row, and there isn’t much room to huddle around a single computer screen. So how might we set up a collaborative space for media creation?

I think it would be totally awesome to have whiteboard walls so that you/we could write anywhere during the design process. It would also make good use of otherwise underutilized space.


Designing for community: stage 0

After a visit of my likely design space this week I am both surprised and excited. The Undergraduate Life and Learning center is an interesting place. It is home to many professional staff, graduate student advisors, and the hub for some of the undergraduate organizations. Lots of different people use this space and have differing agendas & goals. As the center has grown they have just made due with the space; as Hilary (one of the graduate student advisors and my collaborator for this project) mentioned to me very little in the space seems to have been done intentionally. The result? A functional but not optimal workspace, and a less than inviting atmosphere. The center wants to encourage community between the different users of the space, but the current structure and spacial design do not promote or really afford for (9)

Graduate Student Advisors’ work area – one thing that stood out to me was the advisors used giant sticky poster paper to post ideas and pictures, also colorful sticky notes were everywhere. They need whiteboards and bulletin boards!

image (1)

Main hallway – it is a very wide hall but gave the feeling of being in my old elementary school. There is very little on the walls, except at the very end there are some flyers for events. However, students rarely make it all the way down the hall. Undergraduates that show up to the center are usually there for something official like a mediation or applying for something.

It seems a redesign of the Undergraduate Life and Learning office will be both a redesign of the space and of the system. At least the users all seem ready for change. One of the undergraduates that works at the front desk put together some ideas that the undergraduates had about a redesign of the space.

photo (9)

The proposed floor plan shows more open space (most areas can only be accessed by keycode currently) and a much more lively hallway with bulletin boards, etc.

This is for sure going to be a fun and challenging redesign!


On Studio H’s Design Vision and Process

One form of reflection we’d envision for the blog are design critiques and evaluations. This might be of products, learning environments, policies, what have you. The idea is just to look with a critical eye at something that somebody else made (ideally outside the class, so that we don’t have to worry about hurting feelings!). In this case, the reflection is actually on the design of a design intervention. Meta!


As one of our readings this week, we watched a TED talk about a design studio that became involved with a disadvantaged rural community, and, using design as a framework, worked to revitalize that community. I have to say that in general, from a design perspective, I was incredibly impressed.

The thing that I noticed most from a design perspective, and what I’ll focus on in this refection, is that they were designing according to a core set of principles. I think this is an incredibly important part of the design process, and they seemed to have nailed it. Here’s their list of principles:

  1. There is no design without (critical) action;
  2. We design WITH, not FOR;
  3. We document, share, and measure;
  4. We start locally and scale globally;
  5. We design systems, not stuff;
  6. We build.

So aside from nodding my head vigorously as I read each and every one of these, I would step back and just note the importance of having principles at all. For me, design is always undergirded by values and principles, even if these aren’t articulated. This is partly what I talk about when I talk about hacker literacies – how all technology is designed, and all designed things have politics, because all people have politics (whether they know it or not). To me, having a set of articulated design principles, even if we don’t always live up to them, is essential. It’s a sort of weathervane we can check against when we’re in the midst of the work, at the times when it’s hardest to keep perspective. It’s what makes sure we’re bringing action to our values, as opposed to just doing stuff.

The second piece that struck me in looking at the talk was just how well they seemed to have manifest their principles in the design process. All of the activities described seemed to be perfectly in line with that set of principles. Reflecting on it, I actually want to hear more about what the edges were, the kind of things that you usually don’t talk about in a TED talk. When was it hard to realize these principles? How did reality bump up against these values? To me that’s always the interesting part. And I totally acknowledge that that wasn’t the purpose of the talk, but I think from a design critique perspective that’s focusing in on this issue of having articulated design principles, I know that I’m really interested in hearing more as I reflect on the project.