Tutaleni I. Asino
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Reaction Note: Chapter 6 – Foundation of Design

Complementing the previous chapter on the use of personas as a mean of gaining insight on end users, chapter six aims to utilize the information gather on personas and thereby begin “the first part of a process for bridging the research-design gap” (pg.108).

In the foundations of Design: Scenarios and Requirements, the authors discuss the four major activities of arriving at a design solution which include “developing stories or scenarios as a means of imagining ideal user interactions, using those scenarios to define requirements and using requirements in turn to define the fundamental interaction framework”

Originating from work done in the Human-Computer-Interaction field, scenarios are commonly used as “a method of design problem solving by concretization: making use of a specific story to both construct and illustrate design solutions” (pg.111). The concept of “requirements”, differs from features or functions, in that it refers to “what the product will do before you design how the product will do it” (pg.114).

What registered with me was how the chapter captured in its opening paragraph the quintessential and integral concern of instructional designers or perhaps any designer, which is “how to create a design solution that satisfy and inspire users, while simultaneously addressing business goals and technical constraints” (pg. 109). Put simply, how does one create something that would have the user say “that’s cool” but still allow the user and or the sponsoring organization meet it stated desired goals and objectives that necessitated the request for the design of the product. At times these two concepts are mutually exclusive, and there is always a risk of going for the cool affect as a way of showcasing programming and designing skills while forgoing the learning component and/or completely missing the learning focus or the need/goals of the end user.

Alternatively, one can get focused on the end goal and the narrow definition of the end users’ needs and miss the magic of the design process. Designers must never cease “pretending it is magic”. Magic is a powerful tool in early stages of developing scenarios especially for interfaces. “If your persona has goals and the product has magical powers to meet them, how simple could the interaction be” (pg.121)? This statement serves as a reminder that an important aspect to the instructional systems/educational technology field is not simply to extend the reach of education by making it accessible en masse, rather it is also to be aware of and seek out the opportunities to do on computers, online, or virtual environments what is not possible in the physical environments. To be able to achieve this it is imperative that the designers look outside the box and think of creative ways to accomplish what seems to be technically impossible. In other words, to create magic!

The background of individuals in any team is as much rich in creativity and inspiration as it is in creative blockades. Thus, ‘awakening the magic,’ would perhaps be the title of a research piece based on this chapter. The question would concern how team leaders can create the environments that cultivate the magic and encouraged the designers to remove the blockades and get outside their boxes.

Reference: Cooper, Reimann, & Cronin. (2007). About face 3: The essentials of Interaction Design. Wiley.

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