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why is this important ?

on attention design.


//this is a documentation of own exploration through the ED course at KISD – SoSe15 Mohamed Hassan Köln International School of Design MA Integrated Design //all illustrations are made by the author otherwise mentioned. //all rights reserved to their respective owners. //printed in Cologne – September 2015

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what is important.

“Everyone knows what attention is. It is taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out if what seem several simultaneously possible objects or train of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others” (William James,1890). To give attention is to get people’s attention back. People are affected by attention everyday whether intentionally or unintentionally through built up media


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or the built up environment. Advertising or marketing strategies and education apply directly different concepts of attention. Those effects are behavioural in the first place and it pushes new boundaries into the design realm through creating new thinking of design process or new product/service strategies. To buy/sell or propose an idea you need attention, and design is attached to this mental act of finding attention. “Attention acts as a means of focusing limited mental resources on the information and cognitive processes that are most salient at a given moment” (Sternberg,1999). We - with this never-ending information - may feel lost nowadays into a unlimited stream of possibilities and proposals. End products/services see this as an opportunity to pop out between the others and to get users’ attention which makes the situation more complicated. Attention is an active part of consciousness. “Attention is the process of getting an object of thought clearly before the mind” (Ross). “Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentration on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things” (John R. Anderson). Attention design is a question of whether attention can be measured and quantified or not. How design can be use or used by attention. Systems - where attention is heavily used - can have errors anytime and to know if there is an error or not we have to design the system to give us attention about that and this one very kind of attentional uses. A sub topic of this essay is about errors and how they pop out in any context and get our attention with or without error messages. From an emerging design issue point of view, we know that topic is investigated only in education, psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Thus to define and identify attentional acts is crucial to design realm and design market.


//eliminating other options is the other side of attention.

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why to ask this.

There is no doubt that we need to pay attention to how we perceive attention and how to deal with those situations of over-attention. In days of nonstop flowing information and inevitable errors in systems, we will have to organize more and more information to keep up with the flow. There is no much work on this so I had to try to recognize a pattern to this phenomena - if there is one - and define its elements. With today’s means of distraction and notifications, we find ourselves in need of new systems to


NEW!! NEW!!

NEW!!

NEW!! NEW!! //misusing attention is over flooding us.

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organize and archive notions of informative flow. Digital causes - where a call for action is initiated on the virtual world - are affecting the real world by creating effective role of opposition, revolution or an update. Users get easily the required amount of attention that drives them to act and decide or in some cases to change their behavior. In what seems to be intangible but it really produces deep meanings and strong actions based on that. That’s why it’s important to utilize that attention and study its effects. Not to mention how the tangible world is visible to us and how we perceive all kinds of attention. Attention power and control To create and deliver messages to the other people is the essence of communication and to the public is the goal of politics. Art and audience have always this relationship of influence loop. The message and the ‘receiver’ are bind together, we design and shape the messages we perceive and thus ourselves. We are affected by what we create. Effective act of design is about the best way to cycle through this loop easily and logically. Thus attention comes as an actuator or a catalyst where its power lays in how far it can effectively change society through design. In most cases it might go beyond the misuse of power to being in control as in controlling the minds and thoughts of the masses to the market profit. Attention and gaze Attention amplifies objectified gaze. We see the object’s importance, we see why we want that and this and what matters for this research is how we return the gaze where I mean, how we change that importance/desire into actions or acts of design.


Design change Change is mainly clear in the creative act of design not the applications of other disciplines - where they apply or re-apply rules of radical change - as creativity is needed and focused on in design. Giving attention to that act and looking at attention as a creative design process is a new way to assess the change needed for better design future.

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how to approach this.

Daily life is full of applications and this is the best open laboratory to observe and learn from. Several observations are presented in “on attention design� essay where I tried to be universal and specific through documenting different case studies of how attention design is presented in three different continents and cultures. I tried to achieve a logical categorization and thus approach a conclusion for the phenomenon.


It was very doable to relate attention to design as which it seems they are interconnected in every day situations or products. Unattached situations and objects were photographed and analyzed. Then they were sorted out in categories and classes according to similarity in terms of context and form. Conclusions were made through graphical presentations.

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what now.

Observations showed that there is a structure for attention where we can - or can not - see elements that were used for the pure function of attention. We also could see that psychological definitions of attention are very applicable and clear.


%100 attention free //to know what attention really contains will help us to realize new design thinking approaches.

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“Structure is both medium and outcome of practices in which it is recursively produced�. Thus to this structure the attention process can be done by breaking it down to known elements. In general attention design includes three components: object - viewer - situation, where they act interchangeably and tightly connected. 1.Receiver/viewer : is the mind/perception or simply the human. 2.Overlooked entity/Object : is the center of attention and that’s the reason for it. 3.Situation : is the presence of the moment where context and time are the stakeholders.


//viewer - object - situation.

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Visual attention is the most important type and it stands out very clearly to us. We can’t take in all visual information at once so we need to use ‘spotlight’ method to selectively focus on important information in the center and fade out in outer range so technically speaking we are looking through space that’s why it’s is a spatial model of attention and it is obviously seen around. auditory attention. In contrast to visual, auditory information is received simultaneously and we use filtering system to select and ignore other information. When you are speaking to someone in a very crowded space but your hear your name out of the crowd, you can recognize it and give him/her your attention.


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//visual search task. search for the T and Y.

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Selective attention is the term for how we select and ignore kinds of information. Attentional shifts can be achieved overtly (through the movement of head or eyes) or covertly (through internal shift) and the second type is what we would like to focus on for design reasons. So it isn’t effective to have different/same types of attentional uses in the same place as the ‘zoom lens’ model suggests that attentional resources are fixed so in larger area of focus, the slower processing will be in that area.


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//visual search task. search for the T.

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+ //visual search task. center of attention.

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We can categorize attention’s elements in two factors : external factors : size - intensity - movement - contrast - repetition - duration - change - novelty . And many internal factors such as: interest - desire motives - aim - habit - past experience. The those categories are well illustrated in the mentioned essay and in the following graphical illustrations. We could differentiate between the following terms of distractions by: in-attentional blindness : stimulus is not perceived even when the person is looking directly at it. change blindness: difficulty detecting changes in scenes. inattention : overlooking outside the center of attention. distraction : the driving of attention or some interference in attention.


//distraction could happen also by using several attention centers.

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//emphasizing the object creates attention.


//maximizing the object creates attention.

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//adding objects of attention to non-attention objects creates attention.


//adding a layout to the object creates attention.

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//adding female object creates attention.


//adding atmosphere/light to the object creates attention.

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Reflexive attention is another type of attentions and it’s about orienting toward an unexpected stimulus. And that’s mainly what we experience in accidental events or error situations. Reflexivity comes in hand when we talk about the function of attention. What we can achieve by attention and how we measure the result are important questions. Long term attention All of the marketing strategies are based on standing out or attracting people’s attention or we can call it : pop-out effect from which we can ask about this ‘pop’ or how long the attention can endure or keep up with other challenging aspects. Media development and technological updates enabled us to see new ways and experiences which is challenging for attention. But consistency is how attention survives for longer duration and for generations. Protesting Fighting against paradigms, creating paradigm shifts and moving away from the dogma require - at first - creating attention. Through attention masses can speak out loud and create their causes of change and deliver their messages and demands. It’s the attention power in its best way of usage. It creates tails of a critical mass where it continually controls or defies the existing rules or systems. Attention is like a ball of fire that keeps rolling once it started to roll down. Society change Values - shared or personal - are always tackled in every design problem. Although encouraging appropriate behaviour may not seem appreciated by many parties, attention can play a great role in enhancing or even introducing new values. Given the right amount of attention we can expect a great demand/acceptance for values that change the society.


Attention deception However the misuse of attention can lead to deceptive perceptions and false perspectives which in many ways aren’t a big issue for marketing. Economic profit is driven by attention and for attention. That’s where the power of design emerges. We could implant desires or false acquisition of ideas where the users can be controlled easily thus the market is theoretically in the hand of investors. In ‘framing’ - in economy where choices are determined - the bounded rationality is effectively choosing options - in most cases they are 6 - where the best for me is the solution. That rationality is not how the market really works because we want more and more options to choose from and compare - ineffectively - between them. That’s why advertisements and the images on the products show how good the product with imaginary and not reality-related pictures. In the digital world, framing works by the use of your data where every transaction you make is recorded and analyzed and thus you have your options that suits you. Many marketing experts see that we need customization for the self ,for you and for me where the mass production- in its old concept - doesn’t work anymore. Economists should explore those potential and of course comes along designers.

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Attention and self we seek difference ,being our own-self , marking our footprint and exposing our identity. Customization is the key to this expressive distinction for what we own. However part of that is seeking attention through self recognition. Where we look for what we make us stand out in the masses and fasten it by any means as a meaning of possession and ownership. Clothes are the most obvious expressive oddity of the self identity which the attention seekers are playing through fashion design or users of the clothes. Colors,textures and materials are explored and investigated for the sake of visual attention. Although it is controlled and organized by many constrains but social aspect is a clear and effective part of this visual attention - what you can tell out of someone’s clothes is a famous personality clue - but it also tells that people are different in what they choose to create attention on or to stand out with.


//self is attentional object.

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Architectural attention Architecture is autonomous but it always has a political basis. It can be controlled and used. With the fact that society strives for maximum efficiency, architects are fond of using every possible mean to achieve that. There are two types of architects, those who are working for the core of consumption - in a pure interest for capitalism - and those who are working under society and its direct benefits and nevertheless politics. The most interesting type of attention here is the one that political stand out or pop-out gives on the architecture form. The city is the natural home for humans and their first frontier however the value of today’s elements of nature are important. Natural resources are what we have and what we use. Each intervention means distraction. Distraction of the path we take to design the city. How we produce and distribute attention is a question we should answer in the cities of today as develop doesn’t always work as expected.


//changing norms of architecture creates attention.

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We should go beyond economy and space, where intentions should be clearly shaped and defined. We should see how the components of attention affects us and their percentages. Six degrees of separation “So we have a curious dialectical relation between topi, its realisation, and dystopia, whereby the fist predicts a paradise that some attempt to realise; as soon as the dream takes shape, it appears as hell, calling on new prophets who herald the first project in a dystopia and warn against the dream turned nightmare.� (George Minois, 1998) Utopia is the experiment of the mind. Visions for the future are always an investigation of possible realities where scenarios are used as propaganda. Propaganda means attention. Imagining creative scenarios is also part of intentionally creating attention.


//semiosphere is yet to be studied in following attention design research.

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what then.

It is not enough to collect data form those observations only and yet other observations are require but from a post provost approach I plan to create similar situations from what I discovered and test if they have the same effect or not and thus test the proposed hypothesis. We can now head to other fields again to look for what we missed about attention. Also extending the scope to deploy qualitative experiments to measure attention magnitude is preferable in this state.


//structures of complex of attention need more research.

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cases.

//case study 1 : how error messages create attention ? from ‘the red book’.


//case study 2 : how layers of attention work ? from ‘the red book’.

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designers

attention design

self cognition


design thinking

economics consumption market

//map of attention design.

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lake of knowledge.

//references Design by Use. The design of everyday things. The Interface Effect. Human Factors Methods for Design: Making Systems Human-Centered. Knowledge and error. The medium is the massage. Understanding media.


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Why is this important ?  

on attention design.

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