I haven’t been very consistent with blogging these days, the truth is I have been busy working with students developing the Sustainable Living Departments New Website. In block 8 I taught a High Performance Team Building Class that did the marketing research, implemented the marketing research through the web site design, developed the website, and created an 80 page marketing plan for future classes, all with in a month. WOW! Go Team!
We felt the Sustainable Living Department should be marketed for students by students. So here it is, please have a drive of the Beta SL Site. All Feedback welcome. Colin Heaton and I will be writing a case study on this unique pedagogy and will be working on a publication next year. Stay Tuned.
Click to exspand: Wordle
Change Makers: Visual Thinking is a critical skill that we must develop to help influence positive social change. Why?
- Gets People’s attention quickly
- Helps us to learn faster and more effectively
- Lets people do their own thinking
- Helps us tell stories
Can bad visual design slow sustainability efforts? If the Aesthetic- Usability Effect holds true-you bet. First lets see how Ashley Towers operationalize aesthetic usability effect in her blog post.
The aesthetic usability effect is where a user will perceive an attractive product as easier to use than an ugly one. It doesn’t actually matter if they are easier to use or not they are perceived as such so users will make subconscious concessions and overlook many difficulties. The seminal work on this principle is “Apparent usability vs. inherent usability: experimental analysis on the determinants of the apparent usability”. This is available for ACM members to download from the ACM Portal (If anyone knows of a freely available source for this paper please share it in the comments!). The conclusion from their abstract nicely sums things up though:
These results show that the apparent usability is less correlated with the inherent usability compared to the apparent beauty… This suggests that the user may be strongly affected by the aesthetic aspect of the interface even when they try to evaluate the interface in its functional aspects and it is suggested that the interface designers should strive not only to improve the inherent usability but also brush up the apparent usability or the aesthetic aspect of the interface.
The aesthetics of a product have far reaching consequences. The desire to posses attractive items is an innate part of the human condition and we should use this to our advantage. All other things being equal, when comparing two products:
- The attractive product will be perceived as easier to use. Ease of use is often a criteria in purchase decisions – easy to use products require less training and support. So by improving the attractiveness it increases the perceived ease of use – improving the chances of making a sale
- Users will be more likely to develop positive feelings towards the attractive product. This can lead to:
- Positive reviews – leading to more sales
- They’ll tell their friends – resulting in more sales leads
- They’ll tolerate faults more – reducing support calls
- The attractive product will be perceived as of higher quality
- And, perhaps most importantly; customers may overlook feature deficiencies so they get to use the more attractive product
Spending time and money on the outward appearance of your product makes a lot of sense and that it can more than pay for itself in increased sales. So, if users are complaining that your product isn’t user friendly it might not be a problem with the interface mechanics – it might be their way of saying that it isn’t pretty enough!
With that being said have a look at the photos below showing the same technology, most likely same 25-30 year warranty.
Which do you think will last longer? Which makes you feel like you would want it if the price was right?
Good Idea, Bad Design
Good Idea, Good Design
Is anyone into this? Have a look at Open Source Ecology?
Open Source Ecology is a movement dedicated to the collaborative development of tools for replicable, open source, modern off-grid “resilient communities.” By using permaculture and digital fabrication together to provide for basic needs and open source methodology to allow low cost replication of the entire operation, we hope toempower anyone who desires to move beyond the struggle for survival and “evolve to freedom.”
By our analysis, most of the technologies needed for a sustainable and pleasant standard of living could be reduced to the cost of scrap metal + labor. There is immense potential for social transformation once this technology is fully developed for building interconnected self-sufficient communities, since people will be freed from material constraints and able to seek self-actualization.
We understand that this is an ambitious task, but we have accomplished much and are making rapid progress. Factor e Farm is the land-based facility where we are putting this theory into practice. Our means of achieving these goals are meticulously detailed in the “Global Village Construction Set” and the OSE Proposal.
What are the benefits of getting a chapter started in Fairfield? What are the obstacles? What are your thoughts about getting this started at MUM?