Parsons Core Interaction S21 Reading Reflections
Please write a comment, reflection, or question about the reading at the appropriate section. (1 to 2 sentences max).

Weel 4b – The Web’s Grain (Luna)

Jillian: As someone who tends to overcomplicate things and becomes overwhelmed by having to deal with a lot of elements at once, Frank Chimero’s reassuring advice to embrace the natural character of the web and therefore strive for clarity in design as opposed to simplicity, as things have enough depth and worth on their own terms, is a sentiment I haven’t heard before, but will definitely refer back to not only in future web-based projects but, by extension, all designs moving forward. I also appreciate Chimero addressing the common misconception that the internet is a “wide-open, infinitely malleable material” when, more often than not, many sites share design solutions because designers use the same materials. As designers, Chimero suggests that we’re not supposed to re-invent the wheel, but instead improve upon what already exists–“What would happen if we stopped treating the web like a blank canvas to paint on, and instead like a material to build with?” 

Whitley: “If you’ve ever designed a responsive website, this is the source of all your sadness. This is the fount of your tears, the wellspring of your suffering. If you believe in the afterlife, this is the circle of hell where they light the soles of your feet on fire” I love how there is a connection to this reading and our project. For me it is like really insightful to hear that someone who has made website can unapologetically say how they feel about it. I think formatting a website to be responsive is a pain in the ass. I just wish it can do it itself, but i’ll live.

Michelle N.: This article, including its visual and auditory assets, helped me to gain a better understanding of responsive design.  I found the author’s description of designing responsively- “If you’ve ever designed a responsive website, this is the source of all your sadness. This is the fount of your tears, the wellspring of your suffering. If you believe in the afterlife, this is the circle of hell where they light the soles of your feet on fire” to be really humorous, because last semester I found that this task was one of my hardest coding tasks. With that being said, the way that the article describes responsive design in terms of algorithms and proportions helped me to view responsive design in a logical and simple manner, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the different numerical values that I struggled to keep track of in my experience of responsive design.

Luna: The reading was very insightful about responsive design and it gave great advices on how we should design responsive layouts. I find it really interesting that the writer references David Hockney’s photographic works to relate it to how we should approach responsive design, it made it clearer to me on how we should deal with assembling a website.

Chichi: The article uses many examples like audio and videos to directly make a sense of how responsive web page works. Other than changeable web width, I think the grid system and multiple layouts with overlaying and cropping image is more interesting in interactive design. “In Buddhism, there’s something called the beginner’s mind.” As a Buddhist, I am resonate with this quote. We first perceive a web page as a simple combination of grid system with text and image. And then, we find new ways to look at it in a more complicated direction through adding our own thoughts and understanding. But at the end, we cannot abandon our beginner’s mind of how web speak for itself. “Things are added in chaos, then if successful, they expanded further and further out until they collapse and rearrange.” This is important for us to draw a line and keep a balance between what we can show and how technology help us achieve what we want to show. 

Yuka: The reading gave me a new perspective of responsive design because I was thinking that responsive design is just interactive and accessible to the users. I felt responsive design must be complicated and impressive . I really enjoyed the article that gave us the example about David Hockney. I tend to see or focus on one point to get visual sense, but his experimentation allows me to expand the sight of design (of course responsive design too). I would say I agree with what Chichi said in the end. I’m still beginner to dive into chaos, therefore I need to train myself keeping balance.

Isabella: The article provides a very interesting perspective on web’s natural character. When we try to make the website more unique and fancy, although it looks impressive, it often produces contradictory and strange responsive designs. Technology should overcome limitations, not create limitations. For this reason, we should respect the grain of the web and this will end up with common design results, which inspiring me to think how, as a designer, we can find a balance between the innovation and naturalness of the design in a multitude of elements.  

Tingyue: In the beginning part, the author talked about the beginner's mind, this reminds me of another mind- empty cup mentality. Empty cup mentality symbolizes that the premise of doing things is to have a good attitude. If you want to learn more, think of yourself as "an empty cap" instead of becoming complacent. My favorite part of this article is to describe David Hockney to get the information about “control versus discovery, uniformity versus multiplicity.” Different media need to do different things. Of course, the question follows: how to design our web pages to better adapt to different carriers (computers, mobile phones, iPads, etc.)?

Kristy: While reading this article, I was able to understand responsive design in various ways and how dynamic and diverse this field is. “Fortunately, we can treat this over-expansion just like everything else I’ve mentioned. We can draw a line, and create a point of reassembly for what we’ve made.” After reading this line, I learned that it is thankful to take a part in this domain. i

Julia: It’s interesting in how the concept of edgelessness could be connected to our project. Edgelessness break through the traditional motion of fixed and clear constructed edges. An edgeless surface of unknown proportions include small elements which aggregately assemble into a readable document at a certain moment. Our story as network project in this way is also a construction of different fragments of the short stories that brings the narrative in the overall theme. 

I thought that the example/analogy made with David Hockney’s photographic works helped me better understand the idea of responsive web. design in a nutshell. “Edgelessness is in the web’s structure: it’s comprised of individual pages linked together, so its structure can branch out forever.” It helped me provide a more concrete, logical way of approaching responsive web design. 

The reading gave me a deep insight on responsive style and design. "The consistencies establish best practices; they are proof of design patterns that play off of the needs of a common medium, and not evidence of a visual monoculture." He recounts what it means to design natively for the web for ages, by showing us how responsive design paired with the unpredictability of devices, environments, and connectivity. It's kind of heart-wrenching to live on two planes: one as a designer who's inspired by the ideas brought up by this article, and the other as a designer who must contend with the daily, prosaic concerns of contributing to a actual business whose goal isn't to carry the field of web design forward. In the last paragraph, he touches on things that I've been thinking about recently - regarding over dependence on technology's, and how we might eventually tone it down. 

Lou: This piece made me reflect a lot in the qualities of responsive design particularly in relation to David Hockney photographs and the constriction of the grid. But what mostly interested me was a question the author brought up near the end: what is technology’s role in your life? And what, really, do you want from it? His answer is a metaphor that goes back to the idea of edglessness that he brings up in relation to web design and its possibilities. But looking further and more practically into this question makes me think about what technologies role in my life actually is and why Im scared and intimidated by technology when really its supposed to be something that serves humans and not something humans should be afraid of.


Week 4 – Typography and the Screen (Kashish)

Jillian: It’s interesting how, similar to the typical tech-user nowadays, early Macintosh users craved customization, exploiting “typographic control through the built-in styling capabilities of the Macintosh Operating Systems”, eventually leading users to seek and install additional content like font families that weren’t included in the standard Macintosh applications. Which is not unlike how we crave upgrades and custom designs in a social simulation game like Animal Crossing, whereby making us feel individualized or ‘special’ even in a potentially vast community of other online players. According to a psychological study conducted by the University of Texas, we can credit our affinity towards personalized experiences and customization to two main factors: the want to control things, and the want to compartmentalize information, both of which are evident in many of the examples featured in Staple’s essay. 

Whitley: I found it really interesting to hear how type began on the web and how in the beginning Macintosh gave users ‘text-entry’ which gave them power to pick fonts they wanted and what weight to use. I think for me I thought when people started making typefaces that everything just came together. I didn’t think that how to type was used in the web started a different way. I just thought things clicked and that could be because of what Jillian said with this age craving upgrades and such. Upgrades just happen, people see mistakes and people want new specks so companies make them. I think that’s why I didn’t think about type and the web. 

Chichi: The article basically discussed how technical developments influence typographic design. I found it interesting to see how people incorporate the variations of type when new devices and technology came out. The Macintosh system really provided a clean virtual interface that included the Finder and menu bar. It popularized the GUI and provided kinda wide range of type choices and personalized setting based on user needs such as type sizes and styles. I found the term “Aliasing” interesting since every time I use Photoshop and Procreate, the object edges will show up some jaggies and pixel when enlarging it. However, I’ve never noticed there’s “antialiasing” function that can blur edges. 

Kashish: The reading provided me an overview of the digital revolution by inquiring the cultural and intellectual issues surrounding design. It informed me how computers enabled designers to create and manipulate letters in new ways by offering new options for crafting letterforms and “outputting” them. The reading primarily focuses on the Macintosh platform as Apple technologies stimulated typographic experimentation within the graphic design community during the period. I learnt about the origins of screen and print based type and how they evolved over the eyes. I’m curious to know if “vintage” type design would come back as trend in the near future or are we going to see a new era of type design? 

Tingyue: In this article, it is very interesting to read the section describing early times Adobe’s platform. For decades, users have had the option of freely overriding the designer’s specifications. “Most graphic designers use tools such as Photoshop to create text that can be set, de-aliased, and saved as a graphic file.” The success of software often depends on two important factors: a suitable carrier, a suitable era. In the early days of the World Wide Web, both Adobe and Apple computer were great revolutionaries.

Yuka:  Through both  article and lecture, I deeply felt that design and technology are very strong connections and from black space to color space allows us to make visual information clear. Otherwise, developing technology expands the possibility of design like she showed us museums in VR space which we could experience as real. In terms of typography, Adobe, which we are using as a design tool, contributed so much for digital advance. Those developments now are benefitting to create our own visual world.
I assume before introducing those technologies, all designs were created by hand. Then I’m wondering what the process was or how typography things were decided.

Luna: It was very interesting to dive into the history of how early computer typefaces developed, from the pixellated look into what we see today. Apple’s early bitmap typefaces were revolutionary yet it presented issues when moved into print mediums due to its pixellated quality, hence mediators such as the PostScript laser printer became a tool to solve legibility from screen to paper. However, it means that the font family was required to have a distinction for both fonts for screen display and fonts for printing. It’s fascinating to see how technological development is now able to make things easier to translate from screen and print or vice versa. Through noticing and solving these mistranslation from screen to print, this became the drive to improve digital typography and what it might offer for the future of digital design.

Isabella: The development of computer technology has created more possibilities for visual design. In the article, it introduced the continuous iterative update of the Apple Mancitosh computer and Adobe photoshop systems, helping designers create, edit, and disseminate text and images in multiple ways, and stimulated the importance of typographic design. To a certain extent, digital technology enables texts to be used and modified in innovational ways, bringing the text and image space in a balance relationship, and then change the position of the texts/fonts to a dominant status.

Kristy: It was interesting to learn about all the specific details of the developments and the process of the typography and other web and Adobe technologies through this article. Also I learned that through these developments of technology, it is now closely connected to the art and design area. We now use technology as a frequent tool for creating art. It was easy to understand in depth why typography rules are strictly existing and why it is significant. Since art and design is very subjective, I believe the combination with technology that is very objective will result in many different variations of designs and innovative art styles.