For Physical Computing class, I had to come up with a creative idea for a switch. I sewed a switch out of conductive tread that is activated with pressure.
Here is what conductive tread looks like:
Here is a great video that explains it all:
Here is what the interior of my switch looks like.
I sewed the negative wire to this side:
Then I sewed the positive wired to this one:
Then in between the two, I put a resistor material:
The switch in thus activated with pressure. The more you press, the brighter the LED is.
In the following weeks, I will sew a street gang style fabric patch with LEDs. When you will hug someone, the switch will activate the LEDs.
Every student going to the NYU Health Clinic has to sign in upon arrival. They do so using an interactive screen located in the main hall of the Clinic.
Where it is
The screen is on a 3 feet high support along the wall. Almost none of the students see it at first glance. One out of ten go directly to the reception desk to tell the receptionist they have arrived for their appointment. This clearly shows the interactive screen is not well displayed in the space as it is supposed to prevent every student to disturb the receptionist for appointments. Instead of being displayed along the wall in front of the reception desk, the screen should be located in front of the elevator. There should also be a sign with an arrow indicating students they have to do directly to the interactive screen to check in.
How it works
The interactive screen uses two different fonctions: there is a card reader on the right hand side and the screen is a touch screen one. When the screen is not being used, is darkens. To light it up you have to touch it. There is no indication for that, which is confusing for most people. They assume the screen is not working. Then they touch the screen to see, and then it works. But they did it as a personal initiative, not because they followed instructions.
When the screen is on it asks the student to enter his student number using a touch screen keyboard. The keys are really hard to use. It did not seem to work when using the forefinger. Most of the people had to use their thumb to make it works. Most of them tried with their forefinger first, then switched to using the thumb after they saw it did not work. The digital square for each letter recognizes only a big fingerprint. People with really tiny fingers have a hard time typing their student numbers.
The touch screen is really slow. It take a long time to enter a 8 digits numbers. Most of the people had to press more than once on every number before it was registered by the screen. This means that instead of pressing only 8 times, most people have to press at least 15 times to enter their 8 digits student number.
Once users have understood they have to use the touch screen to enter their details, things seems to work find for everybody. They follow the instructions and go through the questions and answer to check in for their appointments. The average transaction takes three minutes.
The thing is that in addition to the touch screen there is another option students can use to enter their student number: there is a card reader on the right hand side of the screen. Only 2 students out of 10 saw it and understood what it was for. There is no sigh on the machine that tells you you could it. It is simply there, expecting people to understand what it is for. This is not really convenient as it is so much faster to swipe the card instead of entering the numbers with the fingers on the screen.
This interactive device is a great idea in itself. It is supposed to save time to the receptionists and make sure every student has checked in before their appointment. The things is that, like Norman explained, the visibility of the fonctions is not well organized. The machine offers several options to the user, but none of them are clearly displayed and explained. There is no sign, no arrow, etc. Users stand in front of the screen and try to figure things out on their own. The instructions are not clear, same as for the telephone system shown in Norman’s book.
People stand in front of the machine and have to guess how to use it. They are not well guided in the experience.
Tattoos and Body Piercing shop
This shop is on 6th Avenue and W 4th Street. The design of the logo is so unclear, I had to cross the street and stand in front of it to try to understand what it means: “Kingdom”. I understand the goal is to have a logo that shows in which creative sphere the tattooists of the shops work in, fantastic and fantasy tales. Role-playing game style. But due to fact the “typo” used is so confusing to the eye, I would strongly suggest using images around the logo instead of the logo itself. Per example, the logo could be clearly written in a typo everyone can easily read. And the rest of the sign could have a design or images that would reflect the shop style.
Havemeyer Meat Shop
This meat shop is situated in a Puerto rican neighborhood in Williamsburg. The shop clearly is the biggest meat shop around. The logo in itself is fine. It is more with the pictures at the street level that I have a problem… Using pictures in a public sign is really hard. Low quality photos look so bad when enlarged. In this case, the pictures are not only of bad quality, but they display meat parts. I understand the shop owner wants to shop the variety of meat he offers, but to me, this sign is really not attractive. Meat parts are not beautiful, even if displayed on a rainbow of bright colors. The second picture on the right is even worst. In addition to the pictures, there is a list of what is available. The typo is really small. I would strongly suggest no pictures of meat would be used at all. A well displayed list of what is available would work better than those images.
The Barber Shop
The same suggestion can be applied to this barber shop sign. I am not sure showing happy shaved men really serves the purpose. I do not know if they are the barbers or if they represent happy clients. At the far right of the sign, there is logo. I think it represents a pocketknife with barbers’ tools. I could not really understand what it meant. It looks like the shop owner want to play with the “gangsters” aesthetic. I would suggest they change the name of the shop use only a logo and no picture. The logo should be bigger and more clear too.
This restaurant is situated on Braodway right underneath the Marcy stop. The picture I took of it makes the sign actually clearer that what it is in reality. The design of the sign uses a weird texture that is raw and full of small bumps (clearly handmade). It is also a 3D logo. This means, you have to stand right in front of it to read the sign. As if you stand on the side you cannot read the letters. The thing is that the shop is under the Subway stop right where the Exit stairs are. It is thus really hard to stand in front and read the sign. The texture idea is a good one, but in this case, it clearly does not serve the purpose. The sign should be a 2D one and use a typo that we can read.
The bike path
I think the worst sign I have encounter in Brooklyn is the one on the bike path right after you crossed the bridge towards Brooklyn. With the number of people using the bridge bike path every day, you would expect the signage the be really clear. But it is not. Right after you left the bridge, you have to follow (and guess where it is) the bike path. When you found it, you turn right on South 3rd Street to go towards East. Then you can see signs of cyclists painted on the street. BUT, at the end of South 3rd the sign leads you to a one-way street that only goes towards West… in direction of the bridge! This means, you just left the bridge and are guided to follow street signs that bring you back to where you came.
It took me 2 weeks to notice another sign situated…on the sidewalk.
It is a weird circle with an arrow that indicates you should take the sidewalk to go towards East. Than, when you follow the sign, on the sidewalk, you arrive at the bike path…going in the wrong direction. I would strongly suggest the signs are clearly painted on the pavement with line that would lead you to a proper path.
The prize of confusing highway signs goes to Johannesburg. When you are drive around for the first time, you must slow down before the sign to manage to understand it.
When I first arrived in NYC to study at ITP, I stayed for a week on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is a very lively hood where freshly arrived hipsters mix with the Puerto rican and dominican communities living there for 3 or 4 decades already. The neighborhood has changed a lot in the last 10 years. On the corner of South 3rd and Havemeyer, you can sit at a trendy-but-low-key cafe and watch the puerto rican elders play cards outside in the sun. I wondered how the puerto ricans felt about the gentrification of the area.
My colleague Caroline and I went for a walk in the hood and interviewed a recent immigrant from California and two puerto ricans. They explain how they feel about the changes the area is going through.