Floor Plan Light Switch

This week, I would like to discuss the floor plan light switch. This switch is the answer to the problem of never knowing which switch belongs to which light or fan. Rather than the switch being a regular toggle switch, the switch is actually a layout of the home it is being used in. the switch gives its user a birds eye view of their home right on the wall. It shows every room that has a light that can be manipulated. This allows the user to know which switch belongs to which room, and what lights are on and off in the house.

This new device is relevant to HCC because it is a device physically manipulated by its user. The device also allows the user to gain feedback and better understand what switch does what. The device also lets you know what lights are already on.

Skills used to create this device:

Electrical engineer

Graphic designer

Construction architect


This design will change the way people interact with the lights in their homes. This new interaction will hopefully save energy and help users take less time to finish a simple task such as turning a light off. I would be very interested in working on a project similar to this once I graduate from the HCC program.


30 cool high tech gadgets to give your home a futuristic look. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.designyourway.net/blog/inspiration/30-cool-high-tech-gadgets-to-give-your-home-a-futuristic-look/


Week 8: Fitts Law

This weeks reading discusses various types of virtual enhancements for pointing facilitation. One idea discussed in the paper was to bring potential targets that need to be pointed at closer to the cursor. This would lessen the amount of time it takes to get a pointer to an icon. The issue with this idea is knowing what icons need to be moved to the cursor, as well as how many icons should move towards the cursor. Once too many items are moved, the cursor may become cluttered with unwanted icons. Another idea discussed in the paper was to create less distance between the icons. Creating less distance between the icons can be done by setting the icons next to one another. This creates a space with more purpose, lessening the amount of unused pixels between icons. The paper also discusses making the cursor larger. By enhancing the width of the cursor, the cursor can then be used as a tool for determining which icon a user would like to select. Lastly, the paper discusses expanding targets. When a user is on a newer model Macintosh, they can scroll over widgets and icons on the bottom of the page. Mac has given the option to make those icons at the bottom of the screen larger when they are being scrolled over. Thus, the widgets and icons expand their own width that may in some cases, lessen the distance between the icon and the cursor.


This paper contained lots of beneficial information for students in HCI. Understanding how icons and cursors are being manipulated to create an easier workflow is something that will affect anyone who uses a touch-screen interface or computer. Creating better sized icons, promoting more usable space, and creating smarter working cursors will all lead to a more efficient workflow within the Human Centered Interaction.


Balakrishnan, R. (2004). ‘‘beating’’ fitts’ law: virtual enhancements for pointing facilitation. Retrieved from http://is303.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/ijhcs2004_beatingfittslaw.pdf

Week 8: Touchscreen Smartphones

This weeks reading discusses accessibility with touchscreen devices (tablets and smartphones). The research identified types of touch screen accessibility such as timing for certain actions and multi-finger operations that are used on these touchscreen devices. The 16 individuals interviewed in the research all had multiple levels of Dexterity impairments including motion limitations and difficulty isolating movement to just one muscle group. The research was able to identify accidental touches and incorrect movements when the participants were using their touchscreen devices. This research shows how unique users of a specific touchscreen device can be. An example of these differences is how many font sizes were liked most among the participants. Although all participants preferred larger text, not all of the participants had the same visual capacity, causing ambiguity regarding which font size worked best for this group of participants. Just as font size preference was dependent on the participant, touchscreen techniques such as the pinch motion was found to challenge the group of participants in different ways. Some of the participants were able to succeed in the pinching task with no problem, some users were unable to use two fingers at once, and other participants found this task to be somewhat difficult.


Accessibility to touchscreen interfaces such as smartphones and tablets requires the understanding of how dynamic each individual is to the next. Accessibility affects my user experience with a touchscreen device very differently than it does with other people that I know. Some applications and touchscreen actions that I use may not work efficiently for the next person. Recognizing this can help to make these devices more versatile while still maintaining its simplicity.


Trewin, S., Swart, C., & Pettick, D. (n.d.). Physical accessibility of touchscreen smartphones. Retrieved from http://hcc629.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/a19-trewin.pdf

Week Seven

This weeks reading discusses the design of interfaces as well as the different types of interfaces. Don Norman’s execution-evaluation cycle is based upon seven stages and helps to understand what happens when interacting with a user interface. The reading goes on to explain the cycle in a linear fashion. First the user must create a goal. After that goal has been created, the goal must then become more precise by turning it into an intention. This intention will help the user to better identify what actions need to be taken in order to meet the goal. After the action/actions have taken place, the user must perceive the new system. If the system is in the state that matches the user goal, then the task has been completed.

After reading this chapter, I realized how often I do this in my day-to-day activity. Don Norman explains that even turning on a light switch while reading a book requires all of these steps in the execution-evaluation cycle. This gives more insight to how goals, intentions, and actions must work together in order to complete any task.

One of the interfaces I found most interesting to read about was the WIMP interface. The WIMP interface is the interface used on PC’s and MAC’s. The WIMP interface consists of windows, pointers, icons, menus, toolbars, and much more. Out of all of these WIMP interface attributes, I find the menus to be most interesting. When a menu is clicked, it becomes its own interface. The menu also contains information-cues which helps the user distinguish between meaningful options found on the menu.



Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G., & Russell, R. (n.d.). Human-computer interaction. Retrieved from http://is303.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/hci-ch3.pdf


The UV Handle

The self-sterilizing door handle is exactly what it sounds like. When the door handle is not being used, it actually cleans itself off. The door handle contains a UV light inside of its metal casing. The handle is able to sense when it is being used. When the handle isn’t being used, the UV light is turned on, killing any germs that may remain from the handles past users. Once the handle detects movement, the UV light is turned off only to turn back on when there is a lack of movement.

The door handle is relevant to HCI because it requires human interaction to work as intended. The entire reason the design was created was to help people lessen their chances of becoming sick. The handle is also a part of HCI because it is interpreted by its user through sight and touch.

People needed to create this design:

Ergonomics (for having a comfortable and easy to use handle)

Construction engineer


Experts in lighting

I enjoyed reading about this design because it is simple, yet can have a huge impact on peoples lives. I would definitely be interested in working on project such as the UV handle after I have completed the HCC program.


30 cool high tech gadgets to give your home a futuristic look. http://www.designyourway.net/blog/inspiration/30-cool-high-tech-gadgets-to-give-your-home-a-futuristic-look/

Affective Design and Physical Controls


In this weeks reading “Exploring Affective Design for Physical Controls” research was conducted to identify the distinction between different types of knobs, and user experience. The goal of the research was to identify how different types of knobs and their attributes made the user feel. The results of the research found that higher friction in knobs reduced overall performance. However, small amounts of inertia improved performance. When using the different types of controls within the experiment, participants preferred smaller amounts of friction, inertia, and detents compared to higher levels. The study also concluded that although stronger detents improved the users performance, the user still preferred subtle detents.


It is interesting how a slight manipulation of a knobs attribute can affect the outcome of a users performance. This includes not only using a computer or technical interface, but also knobs that are used everyday. Knobs have become a part of everyday life whether it is turning on a stove, adjusting the timing of windshield wiper blades, taking a shower, or opening a door.


Being a musician, turning knobs is part of my hobby. When I want to adjust the tone of my guitar or bass, a knob must be turned. This research article made me realize how undesirable the act of adjusting my tone on my guitar is for me. When adjusting a knob on any of my guitars, there is no friction or inertia. The only to ways to identify where the knob must be adjusted is by visual and auditory feedback. Creating a new knob structure for electric basses and guitars with a tactile user feedback would be a great new design for any guitarist.


Swindells, C., MacLean, K., Booth, K., & Meitner, M. (2007). Exploring affective design for physical controls. Retrieved from http://is303.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/affectivedesign-physical-controls.pdf


Focus and Creativity

This weeks reading “Emotional Design” by Donald Norman discusses why attractive things work better, the three levels of processing, and focus versus creativity. Donald Norman explains that simply put, things that look good make us feel good. When a product is more attractive than the next, we tend to want that attractive product over any other less attractive product. Donald Norman then goes on to explain the differences between the visceral, behavioral, and reflective levels of the brain. The visceral level of the brain is where stress versus relaxation occurs. Quick judgments are made here and can be the determining factor in survival when approached with a threat. The behavioral level is where actions are taken. The third and final level is the reflective level that is where we are able to think about what we are doing, think about past events, or anything for that matter. Both the behavioral level and reflective level are completely separate. Donald Norman explains this why individuals are able to drive (behavior) while thinking of other things in the moment (reflective).


What I found to be most interesting about this weeks reading is how focus and creativity are affected by emotions. Donald Norman explains that when an individual is relaxed, they will be more able to create and think “out of the box”. When someone is more stressed out, they are better able to focus. This does not include when someone is too stressed or anxious. Being too stressed or anxious can result in what Donald Norman describes as tunnel vision. I find this to be interesting because I am a guitar player and lately, have focused on writing primarily when I am feeling stressed. I use my guitar as a way to de-stress and relax. Because I now have new knowledge on the subject, I am going to make an effort to begin writing when I am already feeling relaxed in hopes that I will feel more creative in my writing process.


Norman, D. (n.d.). Emotional design. Retrieved from http://is303.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/norman-emotional-design-chapter-1.pdf




Moticon Insoles


The moticon insole is a shoe insole with 13 built in motion sensors. The insole can be worn in any shoe and allows its user to identify a number of features regarding foot placement and pressure. The insole connects to a computer via usb and allows its user to better understand how they are moving. Originally, the product was designed to give skiers real time audio coaching for foot placement in order to better their skiing capabilities. The insoles also come with a temperature gage and can record up to four days of data for its user. Designers also realized the impact this device can have on physical therapy.


This device is relevant to Human-Centered Computing because it is a wearable piece of technology. The insole also gives real time feedback to its user allowing the individual to generate a better performance. The design enables the user to receive visual feedback on a computer and also real-time audio feedback, helping the user to adjust movements immediately.


Skills needed for this design.


–       Podiatrist

–       Electrical engineer

–       Software technician

–       Personal trainer

–       Ergonomics


This article was very interesting to me because of all of the new wearable technology that has recently come out. What I believe is most fascinating about this product is how it will help individuals in physical therapy. I would definitely be interested in working on a product such as this when I finish this course.


Weiss, C. (2014). Moticon sensor insoles track your feet for injury and performance. Retrieved from http://www.gizmag.com/moticon-sensor-insoles/30920/




Principals of Design

In this weeks reading “Universal Principals of Design”, various principles of design are discussed in the context of design and usability. Some of the topics discussed include alignment, closure, consistency, form follows function, and good continuation. Alignment refers to the elements which make-up a design. Alignment includes using rows and columns. Using alignment allows for the sum of the parts of a design to unite into a whole. Closure has to do with what a viewer perceives in regards to an entire design. A designer can give visual cues to the viewer so that objects may be better understood as one entire object. And example of closure is a circle created from 10 short lines. If created properly, the lines may resemble more of a circle rather than 10 short lines. Consistency involves making similar parts work alike one another. This allows individuals to take a piece of knowledge and apply it to other various situations. An example of consistency is a guitar. On most electric guitars, the volume, bass, and treble knobs are typically placed in the same location. This makes it easy for any player to know where adjustments to tone and volume are.


What I found interesting about this weeks reading is the idea of consistency. An example given in the reading was Bob Evans. Bob Evans is able to stay consistent with their logo, color schemes, and menus. This made me think about other restaurants and fast food chains. An example would be McDonalds. All McDonalds color schemes are same, but also the inside of the restaurant are very similar. When walking into a McDonalds, it is easy to identify where all of the products are behind the counter. When inside of a McDonalds, I know that the drive thru window is on the left, the fries are cooked on the left, the burgers are made straight back behind the counter, and the shakes are made to the right behind the counter. Much like McDonalds, consistency is found in many chain restaurants.


Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. Universal principles of design. http://hcc629.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/universalprinciplesofdesign.pdf


The Grid


In this weeks reading, I was exposed to the grid used for graphic design. The reading describes how different variations of the grid are used for several fashions. The Point of the grid is to create a whole that is larger than the sum of its own parts. The grid gives clarity to the viewer, and helps to understand the material being represented. Some of the different types of graphic design grids include the manuscript grid, the column grid, and the modular grid. Because each grid can offer information I various manners, the designer of the grid has full control over size, weight, and placement of the grid in order to create a hierarchy of information. All of the options given when creating a grid can lead to enhanced clarity of the information provided.


Although I felt the first half of the reading did not flow well, I really enjoyed the second half of the reading, which explained how the grid operates, as well as some of the different types of grids. I learned how the grid was created over time and how the grid is used today. What I found to be most interesting in the reading is the flexibility a grid has. The reading describes the grid as a tool with certain rules and layouts. Although a grid is a tool and can have certain rules to its structure, it is important that the designer pushes the limits of the grid in order to create a better representation of the material conveyed on the grid.


Samara, T. Making and breaking the grid. http://hcc629.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/makingandbreakingthegrid.pdf