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2018 Master of Graphic Design Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design College of Design NC State University

MGD


Master of Graphic Design Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design College of Design NC State University

Raleigh | North Carolina | June 2018


Top Photo: Bree McMahon


Beyond Grad Studio Walls As designers, researchers, and educators, students and faculty work together to foster an outward-looking community of learners and contributors The topics that we explore, the investigations we conduct through design, by design, and for design, evolve in response to contemporary concerns, anticipating future opportunities. As the content of the 2018 Bulletin reveals, a few themes have been emerging in recent years. Were I to assign keywords, they would include machine learning, inclusivity, uncertainty, smart objects, social good. The keywords could be perceived as mere buzzwords, were it not for the convincing concepts that students and faculty developed, and for their thoughtful design solutions, speculations, and theories within these big topics. In addition to the representative work featured here, MGD students further prove that the design research projects to which we commit resonate with people beyond the college. In Fall 2017, five second-years traveled to Lisbon to represent the work of thirteen students at the first annual Food & Design conference, “Experiencing Design, Designing Dialogue.” In Spring 2018, a student presented “Design as a Tool for Cultural Preservation” at the Conference on African-American & African Diasporic Cultures and Experience (CACE). Another student presented research on “Visualizing Uncertainty in Data Journalism” at the Sackler Student Symposium in Washington D.C. And two 2018 graduates will join a 2016 alumna this summer in Limerick, Ireland, to run a workshop at the annual Design Research Society conference. We always anticipate enfolding additional, pertinent issues as new students enter the program propelled by their own inquiries. Our ideas and activities echo the design challenges everyone faces. We aim to be generative participants, if not humble leaders, in the complex work of addressing them. 1

Foreword

Denise Gonzales Crisp Professor and Director of the Graduate Program

Opposite Top: Graduate students install research posters representing a 2016 semester’s worth of studio work* in the main stage auditorium at the Food & Design Conference, Lisbon, Portugal. Opposite Bottom: Four of nine posters that students compiled, wrote, and designed in September 2017 for the conference. *Read the story: “Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogue,” 2017 Bulletin, 14–21.


Yes And... Please don’t touch Ashley Anderson

I’m kind of obsessed with this new game called Hair Nah. Scratch that, I’m completely obsessed. The game was designed by Momo Pixel, an art director at Wieden + Kennedy, with the goal of tackling an issue black women face all the time. Unwanted hair touching. In an interview, Pixel said, “I’ll be walking, and a woman will reach her hands into my head. I’m talking to a teammate, and a co-worker I just met is holding my hair in his hand. The moment someone mentions my hair, I grab it to claim ownership.”

The objective of the game is to help your character reach her destination while protecting her hair from reaching hands. In each round, you have sixty seconds to fill the “Nah Meter” by swatting hands away from your hair. If you miss or swat way too much (like I did), the meter will decrease. I’m always interested in how other designers work to communicate messages in different ways. And at the same time, my own experiences and the experiences of people who look like me are always on my mind. That’s why I think that this game resonated with me. Not only have I experienced complete strangers invading my personal space to touch my hair, but I’ve also wondered what I could

do about it. Seeing what Momo Pixel did here is refreshing, and it makes me excited to explore other ways that design can be used to address the daily issues and frustrations that occupy the discussion of a particular group, but rarely make their way to those outside of it.

Flashes and fog Mac Hill

Over winter break I got the chance to check out an exhibit of Japanese military prints at UNC’s Ackland Art Museum, Flash of Light, Fog of War. The prints were a wonderful juxtaposition of modern military technologies and centuries-old printmaking techniques. The compositions are dynamic, with explosions and searchlights illuminating night scenes or soldiers battling against snow storms on the battlefield. Artists and printmakers created compositions that captured the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War at the turn of the 20th century. I was interested in the artistic liberties these artists took. They were creating prints while the war was going on, so in a way they were documenting the conflict, yet they had a lot of power to re-imagine reality and took some definite liberties in their compositions. One print suggested that the Chinese had trained tigers to fight the Japanese soldiers (didn’t happen) and others that changed the time of day, season, or extent of battles for the sake of interesting prints.

MGD Bulletin 2018

PS!! The Ackland has a kind of a cool story… Originally William Hayes Ackland had left money to fund a museum at Duke, with the stipulation that Mr. Ackland be buried in the museum named after him and that the money be managed by trustees in Washington, D.C. Duke declined and it started nine years of litigation that resulted in UNC getting the money…and Mr. Ackland’s remains.

Me first Ellis Anderson

In my own (recent) experience with web development, I’ve been introduced to a way of working that differs from the “me first” approach I’ve grown accustomed to in my creative work. Coding is, for the most part, an open-source ideology, one that makes knowledge available to anyone. The idea that any work is so readily dissectible instills a new kind of self-awareness when creating the work: there’s nothing to hide. This is both frightening and liberating. The work is exposed and implies a community in its transparency. The focus then becomes one of experimenting, failing and learning over the creation of a polished, finished work. As a result, I feel alleviated of a certain kind of pressure to create the perfect thing. It’s a different way of working with implications for creative work beyond software development. For instance, in the rules-based approach of the Conditional Design

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collective, process is paramount and the product is ephemeral, secondary. Their directive, “to introduce Conditional Design as a term that refers to our approach rather than our chosen media” (Maurer, et al.), takes cues from a long lineage of process-based work: ... creating (designing), systems where multiple works can be created, can change and shift according to [players and circumstances]... Like open-source software, ...no one has a particular ownership over the work but everyone is contributing towards the final output. Like software development, Conditional Design is concerned with establishing the framework, the algorithm where future works can be created...

All’s fair in print and digital Bree McMahon

This past weekend, some of us attended a screen printing workshop: Print Matters. We learned all about the importance of paper, printing, and why we should continue embracing and celebrating print work. We learned about the basics of screen printing, and how to create our own DIY screen printing bonanza at home (in your garage, your basement, your shed, what-have-you). Overall it was a great time to get out of the studio, off campus, and hang out together while simultaneously getting to nerd out over paper and ink.


An art space for the future Randa Hadi

ARTECHOUSE in Washington D.C. is an art space dedicated to combining art, science, and technology to create an immersive and sensory art experience. The idea that an art space is meant for people to touch and feel made me want to experience this for myself.

As you take the stairs to the main exhibition space, Spirit of Autumn, the first thing you see is a quote: “Certain art cannot be described, it must be seen and experienced.” The exhibition is separated into three areas. A coloring room lets you color your own fall leaf, which is then transformed digitally for use in the main space. The main space has an interactive wall where all leaves rise up from the ground and dance to your moves. The last space is an interactive floor projection that moves with every step you take. The more people in the space, the more colors you see mix together.

Collaborative doodling: a ritual Krithika Sathyamurthy

What initially began as Mac’s study on possible rituals within the design studio (such as a pre-critique meal), simultaneously manifested into this side note—a table scroll of collaborative doodles. Our class continued to doodle every studio on the paper that was laid out and intended for the

participatory workshop. What’s really interesting is that as each individual contributed to this scroll, the doodles began to overlap and merge to create really interesting moments. I believe that the condensation of Amber’s water bottle at some point seeped into Rachel’s Crayola to create these wonderful gradient-ish pools of color. I was obsessing and had to share!

Experience the bite Rachael Paine

At the Food Design Studies Conference, Esteban Pueblo discussed new physical and chemical approaches to food preparation. In his research, he questioned the experience of the bite—how can the experience of biting into food be manipulated?

Pueblo focused on one particular method: vacuum impregnation. Essentially, this method can put a liquid into a solid. For example, you can put wine into a slice of pear. Different than poaching a pear in that same wine, you preserve the original properties of both liquid and solid, thus creating a new experience through bite. Listening to Pueblo’s discussion reminded me of the potential speculation and exploration has when designing for experience. Trying to imagine what

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might happen when you put a liquid into a solid is a design prompt for food studies. In what ways, as designers, can we speculate unknown experiences and design those into existence? How might the impregnation of a pear inspire us to design new experiences?

Synchronicity Alyssa Buchanan

“Apologies for the middle of the night email, studio group. I just got home and I had to share this with you all! >> Monday I came across a screening being held on campus for a documentary called “Chasing Trane…an outside-the-box thinker with extraordinary talent…” I added it to my calendar. >> Wednesday we discussed some of our provocations and I brought up diversity (specifically racial diversity) in Graphic Design. >> Friday I was drawn to Ellis’ question concerning musical improvisation and design teams. Musical improvisation lead me to jazz, which brought me back to African American creative expression. >> After class today I went to the screening. What I didn’t know until I got there was that “Trane” was referring to John Coltrane­, legendary African American jazz musician born in North Carolina! A live jazz band played before the screening, too. Sooo much accidental research was accomplished tonight, I was super excited. (If you get the chance, do watch the film.) Okay, I’m done geeking out :-) Have a great extended weekend!”

"YesAnd" Excerpts

Mushy Amber Ingram

Welp. It has been a almost a month since school started back up and I already have mushy brain syndrome (created and diagnosed by myself). My biggest realization occurred when I started writing my first essay for my thesis project. I have SO MANY ideas, thoughts, related research, and questions—more of those than anything—as to what I want to write in this essay. The problem is, my mushy brain cannot put it altogether. I have words, many words, thrown onto a Word document that currently looks like a tomato that has been dropped from the top floor of a building. Let me visualize this for you...

In all fairness Ashamsa Mathew

Yesterday happened to be my first visit to the NC State Fair. There were two main agendas for the day: keep the belly happy and win something. After stuffing myself with a hot dog, chili cheese fries, and fried Oreos, item one was definitely a success. We were left with the main mission. All I can say is, we nailed it. We won a big husky, a big bear, a super cute unicorn, an inflatable bat, and a bunny key chain. We decided to throw maturity out of the window and ensure we made every kid at the fair jealous. I even managed a death glare from a kid. My inflatable bat was taken away from me though since I kept hitting everyone who happened to walk beside me.

design.ncsu.edu/ yesand


NICO Cleaning Assistant - Spec Sheet & Storyboard

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MGD Bulletin 2018

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NOW NOW RESEARCH Student and faculty investigations captured at moments during the process. In-progress advancements.


Accessibility and IBM Watson Using machine learning to lower barriers to access Helen Armstrong Associate Professor

Above: Early concepts addressing the needs of users with visual impairments around food preparation and consumption.

Machine Learning (ML) enables a computer to sense and analyze the world more like a human. When we enter a room, we don’t learn about the space via labeled data on a spreadsheet. Instead, we use our senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste. In other words, we analyze unstructured data—images, words, sounds, textures, etc. In the past, such unstructured data has not been useful for computers, however, with thanks to ML algorithms, that has changed. Machines can increasingly analyze the world and the humans within it. We generate a tremendous amount of data as we move through the world. For example, we might use a credit card, search for something online, track our exercise, watch a streaming video, converse with a Virtual Agent like Alexa, and on and on. Machine Learning algorithms enable a computer to derive meaning from all that unstructured data. We can train the algorithms to detect patterns and make predictions such as which emails are spam, what behavior indicates possible fraud, what music, movies, or books we might prefer, what face belongs to whom, the terms of one’s loan, the ETA for an Uber, the navigation for an autonomous vehicle. Using ML, machines can increasingly analyze the world and the humans within it. What does the proliferation of ML mean for designers? What can we do with this technology? The first year MGD spring studio took on just this question over the course of the semester. We began with a series of conversational interface studies, moved on to a Future Artifact workshop with the Krissi Xenakis, Design Lead for IBM Cloud Garage, and, then, capped off the semester immersed in a project working with IBM’s Watson Health team. During this MGD Bulletin 2018

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Left: The IBM team works with MGD students to ideate within a matrix of opportunity that correlates problematic tasks for DHH and BVI users with the capabilities of Watson products. The students continued create a digital version of the matrix during early stages of the project as they sought dense areas of opportunity with which to work.

Key questions arose early on in the project: How might machine learning positively transform the user experience rather than replicating “typical” seeing or hearing? How might machine learning change the nature of human and computer interaction? What are the implications of a machine that can recognize and respond to unique user needs?

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Now Now Research


PAIN POINT Conference call. Martin is the team leader and has difficulty hearing his coworkers and understanding their ideas. He doesn’t want to ask them to continually repeat themselves and have them think that he’s incompetent, but the audio frequently cuts out and there’s outside and in-office distractions.

I think that we should wreck the toad.

Martin has the CC option on, but it is having trouble picking up what Julia says

He taps the Squish (TM) to blur Julia’s image.

PAIN POINT Conference call. Martin is the team leader and has difficulty hearing his coworkers and understanding their ideas. He doesn’t want to ask them to continually repeat themselves and have them think that he’s incompetent, but the audio frequently cuts out and there’s outside and in-office distractions.

Julia’s screen blurs at home. She knows that she should speak more clearly over the conference call.

I think that we should wreck the toad.

Martin has the CC option on, but it is having trouble picking up what Julia says

He taps the Squish (TM) to blur Julia’s image.

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six-week collaboration with IBM, students investigated how an adaptive interface that harnesses ML might lower barriers to accessibility for the blind/visually impaired (BVI) and deaf/ hard-of-hearing (DHH) users. To delve into this project, the students formed two teams: one grojup focused on the needs of BVI users and one on the needs of DHH users. Both teams worked closely with representative users with impairments, questioning both the potential for machine learning to produce adaptive interfaces and the users’ experience of ability/ disability. Designers, developers and accessibility experts from IBM—including several College of Design alums—together served as a strong sounding board throughout the project. The work culminated in a presentation at IBM’s headquarters in Research Triangle Park.    

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Now Now Research

Opposite and Above: Students created sketches of a range of possible approaches, developed some of these initial ideas into rough storyboards and wire frames, and then garnered feedback from potential DHH and BVI users, as well as the IBM Watson Health team.


NICO

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Alyssa Buchanan Matt Babb Ellis Anderson

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Persona: Hillary, a retired chef, lives with Stargardt’s Disease.

Navigate, Identify, Categorize, Organize (NICO). These cleaning glasses use machine learning to detect and identify stains and spills in the kitchen.

Via a conversational interface that speaks privately to the user through bone conduction, the glasses alert BVI users of messes and assists them with cleanup.

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When the cleanup is complete, the user can take off the glasses, thus ensuring privacy.

Now Now Research


Here-U

Shadrick Addy Jessye Holmgren-Sidell Matt Lemmond Krithika Sathyamurthy

Persona: Andrea, an HR Assistant, is profoundly deaf with two Cochlear Implants.

This wearable device interfaces with Cochlear Implants and hearing aids via Bluetooth to adjust microphones to optimal settings to facilitate conversation. The interface, powered by machine learning, continually optimizes the experience based on user feedback.

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Interface

Moment Flagged / A

Moment Flagged / B

Side Blur

Portrait Blur

Bubble Blur

Now Now Research


Can Eyes be Windows to the Soul-ution? Designing speculative interfaces controlled by gaze input Deb Littlejohn, PhD Matthew Peterson, PhD Graduate studio project, designed by Peterson and co-taught with Littlejohn. Phase II Workshop Leader, Brad Tober, Experience Design Associate Director, Publicis Media/ Publicis Spine, Boston. Invited participants: Dr. Roger Azevedo and colleagues from NC State Psychology Department SMARTLab.

The first step in tackling any speculative endeavor is to ask the right question. But how does one identify appropriate questions for an emergent problem space with few precedents? Here, we highlight a speculative project that leveraged iterative explorations to identify the potential of technology and technique—in this case, how gaze data can become the input source for human-computer interaction. Project designers used lateral thinking (i.e., approaching problems in unconventional ways to generate new solutions), and speculative visualization (i.e., material prototypes as imaginings for something that does not exist), as as modes of inquiry. The creative process was about experimenting with alternate futures by making not only prototypes of things, but prototypes of ideas. In our quest to create prototypes of ideas in material form, questions about design, its possible scenarios of use, and its characteristics, were revealed in concretely. Speculation required the generation of scenarios that critically questioned the development, implementation, and use of new technologies and their wider social implications. For this project, we established two overarching themes: speculation in the actual technological present (the “infancy condition”), and the design of an alternate present that incorporates limited future technological adoption (the “maturity condition”).

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Project Brief

“Alternative present” refers to the creation of congruent realities. In this mode, designers re-imagine the role of technology in current everyday life, without having to confront the actual application of the technology or its constraints. Rather, designers are free to consider possibilities: the designer uses design as a medium and focuses on ideas and artifacts, and—rather than solving problems—the goal is to ask questions that open up topics for debate. As an example of how this process works in generating questions for design speculation, we highlight several outcomes where we employed a problemfinding, question-seeking approach to gaze-based Human Computer Interaction systems. In an aspirational sense, these projects sought to leverage design’s inherent ability to imagine (and image) possibilities for “what could be,” thereby broadening our understanding of the potential of gaze-based interaction. How might the nature of information hierarchy change when a system can selectively provide a reader with more information at the current gaze point, without the need for visual searching? How might the paradigm of reading change when reading systems can serve information to a reader, instead of the traditional provision of a surface explored through patterned scanning of lines of type?  

Phase I: Gaze Studies Seek out potential applications of gaze-based interface through discrete studies. For each study, explore two conditions: infancy and maturity. The infancy condition is our actual present, where users are accustomed to the mouse and track pad as input devices and gaze as an option is unfamiliar. The maturity condition imagines an alternate present, where users have always controlled their computers with gaze and are thus prepared for more extreme demands. Phase II: Tober Workshop Using a functional gaze-contingent prototyping tool developed by Brad Tober, re-imagine Wikipedia, and either embrace or mitigate the “down-adozen-rabbit-holes” reading style associated with it. Phase III: Gaze Systems Imagine and prototype an interactive system as a plausible application of gaze-based interface.

Photo: Bree McMahon

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Now Now Research


Seeing is Synthesizing Dajana Nedic  I explored connections between specific keywords in a Wikipedia article, utilizing varying dwell times from the viewer’s gaze to trigger three main levels of connections: direct, indirect, and all. Options are color coded to show hierarchy between levels and help navigation. Continuing with the idea of how relational levels can provide synthesis, I focused on representing gaze tracking—how the interface could interpret a viewer’s reading patterns regarding skimming and scanning. I also explored how tracking reading patterns could keep viewers alert and allow evidence of progress and hierarchy. Exploring various ways to alert readers led to an interface that senses when viewers lose focus. In an infancy condition, when sensing an unfocused gaze, the interface adjusts text width and spacing to attract attention. In a maturity condition, lack of focus is sensed more quickly and restructures content by varying the location or the shape of its appearance. Final studies explore the behavior change of content in response to multiple instances of gaze: if the viewer is skimming an article, the words or phrases become larger and shift the article’s structure, electing and locating keywords while toggling between a regular view and a bird’s eye view of the article.

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Sight at the Museum Bree McMahon The museum label: In its infancy condition, generates information based on the visitor’s distance. The maturity condition offers a shift where all information is visible as a collage. Different snippets appear depending on how close the eye is to the label. An unlabeled reality: The entire wall delivers information and changes based on the distance of a visitor’s gaze and considers the location of the closest painting to the visitor. With augmented reality, visitors can peek into a gallery and information comes into view without having to enter the space. Multiple people (and gazes) in one space: The infancy condition is a museum label that tracks multiple gazes, and displays information democratically. Based on a democratic system, the maturity condition determines which part of the artwork is featured and visitors compete for the information to be displayed. The final system marries the prior studies. I designed a system that enriches the curator’s understanding of visitor engagement, and helps make decisions that improve the visitor experience. The wall tracks gazes across multiple works, and generates a report. The curator uses the report to improve the responsive wall. The system is a cycle of constant input from both curator and visitor.

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Now Now Research


The Power of Preview Amber Ingram I focused on three different interface aspects: search, sound and buttons. Search explores how gaze could preview a page without completely opening it. I also tested how related web pages could be shown before, during and after a search. Another aspect concerned how sound could enhance usability for the sight impaired. One study focused on how buttons open and close information. Search engines would show minimal information and gaze could then lead users to more in-depth information. The final system utilizes many aspects explored in the earlier studies, but taken further. The browser organizes search content as 3-dimensional cubes. As the user’s gaze lingers on a cube, it turns to reveal a preview of the content on related pages. The more the cube turns (related to the user’s “dwell time”), the more of the image preview is revealed to indicate that the page is about to open. Another aspect is the history panel that highlights previously-viewed pages. The preview feature is also carried throughout the history panel.

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Affordance of Gaze as Input Rachael Paine Initial studies explored how a Wikipedia interface could track pathways of information. A user records a short list of unknown terms. When reading the results, the interface detects curiosity or confusion, and then is prompted to either “record” the word for future reference or “delve” into searching for the term immediately.

Each interaction is recorded in a “Path Tracker” panel that displays the navigational pathways explored. Given prompts for starting a new path or revisiting a previously searched term, the user has a visual answer to the question, “How did I get here?”

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A gaze interface for Spotify: Through research I found that sound is processed in the visual cortex of the brain. Applying this information to justify that an audiobased interface would be better accessed via gaze was a stretch but worth exploring.

Now Now Research

Cognitive psychology has shown universal properties of time and space: UP is associated with positive experiences, DOWN with negative; FRONT/RIGHT with the future and BACK/ LEFT with the past. The system’s four quadrants are based on spatial metaphors. In addition to top, bottom, left, right, fields of view such as “narrow” and “deep” expand spatial affordance.


New Patterns for Reading Mac Hill The user creates a record of reading, arranging words like concrete poetry. Skimming would be difficult and limit control. I found that a paragraph style presentation, while more traditional, allows the reader to decide how to move through a text. In a maturity condition, the interface senses a user’s reading pattern and adapts to meet those patterns, dropping out words or lines informed by behavior.

An eye-tracking system can also recognize emotional reactions. The interface could display these inputs, creating reflective moments during a reading experience. I used different visualization techniques, including a gaze indicator that changes color to reflect emotions or “paint” the text with different colors, thereby creating an emotional record of the reading experience.

MGD Bulletin 2018

I combined several of my ideas to create a speculative gaze-based magazine app that uses emotional inputs to create a customized reading experience. Inkblots expand and contract by gaze to indicate transitions.

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Text generates as the user moves through it. Strong emotional reactions activate annotations and additional information in the margins. The interface includes a review mode that allows the user to see his/her reading and emotional behaviors.


Exploring Eye-tracking and Gaze Navigation Clemént Bordas Both infancy and maturity conditions live alongside each other in this system. I considered how a multi-gaze detection interface would constantly re-frame content to allow users a unique presentation. I also considered: how gaze navigation in a “changing room” where interactions occur on a mirror; and how gaze control would be beneficial in places where hygiene is critical, such as hospitals. I researched eye tracking and gaze navigation in an online learning environment, where both the data of the user’s gaze behavior and the gaze itself could enhance the learning experience. Data from eye tracking could provide the student with feedback on efficiency and attention while studying. Being able to see the professor’s “expert” gaze could help students maintain attention. The system context represents the key moments of a student going through an online “gaze-assisted” art history class. The student can activate the professor’s gaze while accessing new layers of content and receive immediate and personalized feedback when losing focus or finishing an assignment.    

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Now Now Research


The First Year of the MGD III Program A specialized curriculum for students entering graphic design with backgrounds in other disciplines Matthew Peterson, PhD Assistant Professor Denise Gonzales Crisp Professor

Right: Pages from Salt And Diamonds by Katie Frohbose. Opposite: Salt and Diamonds spreads. Katie came to the program with a BFA in Studio Art and Art History with a concentration in Photography. For a project assigned in the MGD III Foundation Studio, she compiled, edited, and designed this long form illustrated book, a structural, stylistic analysis of antique books she found of interest.

In Fall 2017 the MGD program welcomed a larger than usual group of graduate students to the MGD III track. Whereas in the past these incoming students enrolled in advanced undergraduate courses, this inaugural cohort enrolled in courses written to deliver specific experiences for students aiming to jump-start their venture into design education. The MGD III Foundation Studio offered in the first semester introduces students to MGD II program expectations, certainly, but is primarily a study of pragmatic aesthetics—form and function—and productivity. Students also enroll in the Tech Seminar, wherein they “tinker” with coding, 3D printing, digital rendering, and other technological processes. In the Spring semester, MGD III students join upper-level undergraduates in an Advanced Graphic Design studio and the online Graphic Design History course. Additionally, students enroll in a new graduate seminar, Design Writing and Typography, offered to further engage MGD III students in graphic design discourse as they study the history. The seminar involves reading, discussions, weekly writings, and longer essays. Students design their essays in a variety of formats and media to expand upon their knowledge of and skills using typography introduced in the Foundation Studio. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 26)

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Salt and Diamonds explores the formal understructure of the things evident in our day to day life, that which lies beneath the surface analysis of varied and abstract formations. The concept stems from a stylistic analysis of five books published in the 1950s and 1960s that present processes of formation in mathematics, evolution, and biology.

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Now Now Research


Randa Hadi conceived of and designed this system, Tecxperience, including the visual vocabulary, in the Advanced Graphic Design studio. The assignment asked students to reconsider the use of existing spaces in the James B. Hunt Library at NC State. Randa came to the program having just completed a Bachelor of Architecture.

Tech Topic PROJECT: CODE+ART STUDENT: ASHLEY Combining coding with artistic expression to create colorful forms that follow your every move.

Tech Topic is etched in the plexiglas cube.

3D printer

is a small portable personal computer having a thin LCD or LED computer screen mounted on the upper lid and a keyboard on the lower lid.

+

is the process in which material is joined under computer control to create a 3-dimensional object with material being added together.

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Laptop

STEP 1: Select a “Tech Topic” 3D pixel from the pile. Laptop +

VR headset

is an electronic musical instrument with 12 notes that produces sound + when pushed

and r hardware source compute board is an open ve y. It’s a single and interacti software companfor building digital world. microcontroller the physical and digital in objects both

thin r having a personal compute on the upper is a small portable r screen mounted compute lid. LCD or LED on the lower lid and a keyboard

3D printer

+

is joined under in which material sional is the process create a 3-dimen . control to added together computer material being object with

Arduino

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Lights

+ +

Laptop

is a device you wear over your eyes that puts you in an immersive environment

Musical Keyboard +

Lor em

Fabric

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VR

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Musical Keyboard

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VR headse

instrument ic musical s sound is an electron that produce + with 12 notes when pushed

your eyes that you wear over environment is a device e an immersiv puts you in

Laptop

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Interactive on Wall Projecti Arduino

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Laptop

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Lo re

Arduino m

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Fabric

is an open source computer hardware and software company. It’s a single board microcontroller for building digital and interactive objects both in the physical and digital world.

Lights

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INTERACTIVE TABLE: Place the 3D pixel on the interactive table inside the Tech Showcase to discover connections with projects selected by others that employ related technologies. (A hologram of each physical tool is viewable as well.)


STEP 2: Walk the 3D pixel representing the technological topic you’ve chosen to the Immersion Theater to discover more about it.

From 3D to 2D pixel, transition to the screen pixel, a minute area of illumination on the display screen, one of hundreds that comprise an image.

STEP 3: In the Immersion Theater, place the 3D pixel on the digital table and more detail displays in large scale on the “Microtiles.”

STEP 4: Once you have learned more, return the 3D pixel to the Tech Showcase, or bring it to the Interactive Table.

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Now Now Research

Illuminated digital receiving table


3D type

Left: Plan view of the Tecxperience system. The Immersion Theater (top) and the Apple Showcase, (below) are connected by the open space between them, represented in 2D “pixels.” The Showcase, a glasswalled space, currently only displays tech gear available for check-out from the library, as well as equipment available in library “Maker” spaces.

interactive tables

4D information

3D information

2D information

3D pixels

2D type

3D type + mesh

2D colors

interactive screen

The MGD III curriculum is tailored for students who either did not earn an undergraduate degree in graphic design or whose degree is only partially located within the discipline. The track doesn’t expedite the process of design as much as it concentrates the processes in the first year, pinpointing significant fundamentals of design thinking and form making. The curriculum ably encourages students to bring the diverse backgrounds and strengths developed in their previous experiences and to build on them. The program, and the graphic design profession, benefits from these varied perspectives.

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INVESTED RESEARCH Faculty and student sustained research, scholarship, and creative production. Final thesis projects.


I AM A MAN: VR Experience A virtual reality experience that brings to life the Civil Rights movement In May of 2017, Dr. Derek Ham was selected from among one hundred VR developers who participated in the “Oculus Rift Launch Pad Program,” after a nation wide competitive application process. This opportunity provided the support to create the award winning VR Experience.

Derek Ham, PhD Assistant Professor

The project is set to the historic events of the Civil Rights where users are able to move through VR scenes as they relive the events of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As you put on the VR headset and begin the journey, you find yourself in the role of a Memphis sanitation worker. It’s early morning and you are making your rounds. A member of the original strike narrates the conditions of this moment in 1968 that led to the Memphis Sanitation Strike. Using Oculus Touch controllers, you empty trash cans into a truck. In the second act, you stand on the streets of downtown Memphis taking part in the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968. You might join the demonstration by picking up the iconic picket sign, “I Am A Man,” using your Oculus Touch controllers. Behind you is a television shop where the scene is playing out on the news. Here, footage from the Civil Rights movement reportage plays as it did on national television in living rooms everywhere. As you look onto the streets you can see armored vehicles of the National Guard roll by. Later in the VR experience, you find yourself faced with the devastating aftermath of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. You experience first hand the televised broadcast breaking the news of Dr. King’s death. You hear the MGD Bulletin 2018

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Left: Scene from I Am A Man. Below: Visitors trying out the VR Experience at the National Civil Rights Museum during the MLK50 Commemoration event in Memphis, Tennessee, assisted by Shadrick Addy (far right), MGD II student and Research Assistant for Derek Ham.

chaos of police sirens in the background. As the scene ends, a police car approaches you and you’re commanded to put your hands in the air. This chilling moment asks you to make a palpable choice between submitting to perceived authority or suffering the consequences, choices that strikers and citizens alike were forced to make in this decisive historical moment. Virtual Reality has the power to bring to life historical moments. I Am A Man uses VR to bring people to a place of reflection and contemplation about America’s past, present, and its future.  For this project I was able to bring on board the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) in Memphis, Tennessee, as a collaborative partner. The museum has had a long history of maintaining a standard of excellence in museum experiences and programs. In 2013 and 2014, the museum underwent a $27.5 million renovation to further support its mission of education, information, and inspiration. Now the NCRM is looking to expand into immersive experiences through the use of VR. The museum helped deliver a critical voice in the VR piece giving historical authenticity and providing much needed resources in the form 29

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of historical film and video. In the future, the museum will also assist with the process of interviewing some of the living sanitation workers to expand the project. The final VR project will be instrumental to the NCRM, as it aims to install the work in the form of a permanent VR exhibit I Am a Man: VR Experience. The work coincides with the Museum’s MLK50 Commemoration which occurred in the spring of 2018. The timing of this project could not have been better. I Am A Man has already toured several film festivals and won awards, including the Perspectives Award for Immersive Storytelling at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize for VR/360 at the 2018 Nashville Film Festival. Additionally, I worked with the NCRM to create a very real learning opportunity for our Graphic Design sophomores. In the core design studio, co-taught with Professor Scott Townsend, student teams proposed VR installation designs for the permanent exhibit. Final development and construction for the winning team’s proposal is forthcoming.

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Scenes from the six acts of I Am A Man. Opposite Top: Sanitation vehicle from the perspective of a worker. Opposite Bottom: Sanitation workers on strike walk by as a tank moves up the street. Above: Outside the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.


Above: The I Am A Man: Black History Month exhibit, on view in the African American Students Center at NC State, displayed work created by sophomore students in Fall 2017. Right: While a visitor to the exhibit was immersed in the VR experience, others in the room were able to see the scenes on a monitor as the visitor navigated them.

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Left: Co-faculty Professor Scott Townsend talks with one of the sophomore groups about concepts for their exhibition design proposal. Â

Above: Sophomores in studio consult with National Civil Rights Museum administrators via Skype as part of the design process leading to the exhibit design.

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Designing Responsive GUIs A Statement of Purpose in application for the PhD in Design program at NC State Rachael L. Paine MGD 2018 and current PhD Student

Above: Pictorial depth cues are often used in flat compositions to create an impression of depth and space for the viewer. The presence of these cues serves to trigger the viewer’s visual memories of three-dimensional space. I used the pictorial depth cues of linear perspective, texture gradient, and relative height to represent time-based information, and shadow, interposition, clarity, and relative size to indicate urgency-based information.

I have always had a keen interest in how design can improve the human condition. While pursuing my Master of Graphic Design at NC State College of Design, I have focused my research on the intersection of design and technology. I’ve come to understand that, as designers, we can develop rich information tools and design visual communications that can positively impact the world. I am interested in continuing to investigate the potential of design and technology through the pursuit of a PhD in Design. More particularly,  I am seeking to study user-focused information tools and the development of design concepts for communication in the field of human health.  Two years ago I made one of the scariest decisions of my life. I quit a stable, high salary job in order to pursue my master’s degree. After thirteen fulfilling years in the business realm, I had come to the fundamental decision that teaching and mentoring is what makes me tick. And having finally figured out the strongest desire of my heart, I held on for dear life, quit my job and hoped for the best.  Scariness aside, I have never felt so certain that I’ve made the correct decision. As an MGD, I have had many amazing opportunities to practice teaching and mentoring in the classroom as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate graphic design program and as a lead instructor for the College of Design’s Design Camp and Summer Studio. I’ve had the opportunity to push students to higher insight within the field of design, to develop design curriculum, to gain understanding of the administrative aspects of teaching, and to learn how to develop environments that encourage students’ best thinking and work. I was honored to receive a Certificate MGD Bulletin 2018

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of Recognition for Excellence in Mentorship from the NC State Graduate School for my work as a teaching assistant in Type III Spring 2016.  In addition to my love of teaching, I have always been drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for me. By nature, I am a collector of information. The graduate program of study at the College of Design has provided me with extensive opportunities to incorporate research into my design practice. I have a desire to further hone my skills as a researcher.   Through this continued research, I am interested in asking questions about the ineffective one-size-fits-all approach to interface design. I am currently working on my master’s thesis. The study topic of my thesis aligns with the longer term goals I have in pursuing my PhD. The purpose of my thesis project is to design information presentation strategies which will inform the design of a suite of tailored tools for a website that provides large quantities and varying types of information. The tools developed will aim to respond to a user’s current cognitive and emotional state while delivering information in a manner which will assist the user’s adaptation to the stressful health diagnosis of a loved one. The project will explore how features and tools can be tailored to the stages of grief or trauma of the user and to the users’ comfort level with a particular technology. I will explore how an interface might deliver information accordingly, offering data-driven customization.  

Returning to the College of Design to pursue my Masters was the first step in transitioning into a completely new phase of professional development. While risking much to pursue this transition, I have a strong desire to pursue it to the fullest of my abilities. I feel a PhD in Design will enhance the skills I’ve acquired in my masters. I desire to increase my understanding of how research is conducted in an accredited institution, how to pursue research grants and write research proposals, ... and how designers can collaborate across disciplines with the aim of improving the human condition. Pursuing a PhD in Design is the next step toward achieving my long-term goal of working as a professor and researcher in a competitive graphic design / visual communication program.  [...] 35

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Below: Eight broad categories of activity in which a primary caregiver of a rare disease patient will engage. A search engine can support these activities by providing access to relevant information. The interface would need to allow the user to quickly and easily explore information pertinent to each activity.


Opposite: As a user moves through the material, important words are automatically highlighted for review. If the user clicks on a word, a definition pops up. Definitions the user has reviewed appear in the side panel under the text summary. The user also has the option to add personal annotations or notes to the page.

An intelligent interface that tailors information presentation by responding to a user’s cognitive state.

Abstract A person faced with caring for a loved one with a serious health diagnosis has an immediate thirst for knowledge, even while their cognitive ability to find—let alone comprehend—useful information may be hindered due to their traumatized, high-stress mental state. The design of most online health information search platforms do not consider the cognitive state of this type of user, even though new technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, have the potential to offer personalized support for this particular information-seeking circumstance. The design of standard search tools and features encountered on ordinary health information websites typically take a one-size-fits-all approach. The objective of this study is to determine how intelligent humancomputer interfaces can present information in meaningful and clearly MGD Bulletin 2018

comprehensive ways by responding to the health information-seeker’s cognitive state—in particular, for someone who is under duress from a recent medical diagnosis. In this study, cognitive state refers to the psychological and emotional state of the user. Methods included semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 patient advocates from the NC Rare Disease Council and subsequent prototype testing. Data suggests that people under duress prefer that complex health information be presented in a minimal (i.e., simple content structure) fashion using assistive delivery strategies such as withholding, gathering, and prioritizing. This project suggests a useful framework for professionals involved in the design of medical information search tools, user-centric design methods, and intelligent interface design.

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The continuously updated side navigation supplies context for a search session and allows users to annotate. The interface assists the user with finding and re-finding information. Often hampered when stressed, locating previously accessed information again is a critical search function. The visual nature of the side navigation provides an at-a-glance context that users need to trigger the memory of where they first encountered information and inreases the likelihood that they will be able to find the information again when needed. design.ncsu.edu/thenfinally

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Engaging Uncertainty in the Design Classroom Encouraging responsiveness to the moment and interaction with immediate social circumstances Denise Gonzales Crisp Professor, with Nida Abdullah, MGD 2016 and Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute, NY. This essay is adapted from an accepted paper and presentation for the Senses & Sensibility Conference, Madeira, Portugal.

Our world is undeniably complex, vastly accessible owing to technology, infinitely rich, and in constant flux. Preparing students of design to actively participate in such dynamic circumstances, and to positively influence them, calls for pedagogy that enables responsiveness to the moment, interaction with immediate social circumstances, and a readiness for uncertainty.

This And That Applying methods from disciplines other than design such as anthropology, sociology, marketing, coincides with the shift in focus from artifact centric to human centric practices over the last thirty or more years. We find roots of this line of thinking in John Chris Jones’ seminal book Design Methods: Seeds of human futures, (1970). “To design is no longer to increase the stability of the man-made world,” Jones proffers, “it is to alter—for good or ill—things that determine the course of its development.” He notably moves design from its then understood status as a thing to a place of action, to a place where design is a process that considers relationships amongst parts within multivariate contexts. He speaks boldly and convincingly of uncontainable complexity and the uselessness of addressing that complexity as if conditions were stable. Addressing the complexities of his moment and anticipating their future exponential increase, Jones reasons that new design methods would become (or should become) essential to designing. Among the 32 comprehensively described methods, Jones includes investigating user behavior, administering

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questionnaires to general users and interviewing target users during the design process, brainstorming, various kinds of diagramming, and morphological charting. These methods, or variations of them, are commonly used in design practices today. C. Thomas Mitchell’s preface to the 1990-02 edition points up that Jones, having reflected upon and observed his methods in application for over two decades, felt that he “did not emphasize enough... the critical importance of the role of intuition in choosing and using the methods. ... Jones never intended rationality to replace intuition, as some mistakenly believe.” Jones’ less widely referenced book, Designing Designing, intended to correct the misunderstanding. Remarkably, in this later book Jones contemplates and demonstrates a seemingly contradictory set of methods. He advocates chance operations, for instance. He practices improvisation and rules of play in the book as testament to their value in sorting through design problems. Jones muses: “No new thing, no originality or creativeness, is going to emerge if one sticks to an orderly design process in which one never gets in a mess, never loses touch with one’s preconceptions, never lets go of the known.”  His amplified perspective champions duality of mind. “Complementarities” must coexist during the design process, such as reason and imagination, practicality and creativity. “We inherit a poor way of thinking about reality, a picture of the world, of life, that fails to reflect the connections between things… in particular the connections between aspects of life which we habitually divide into seeming opposites: art and science, theory and practice, work and leisure, fact and opinion.”  

Messy Reality In A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating Imagination for a World of Constant Change, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown liken culture to the matter that scientists grow in petri dishes under controlled conditions. The scientist does not interfere with the process because the very point of the experiment is to allow the culture—constrained by the medium and environment—to uninhibitedly reproduce, “and then see what happens.” Unlike the view of culture that seeks stability and adapts to change when forced, this perspective sees culture responding to its surroundings organically. It does not adapt. In other words, culture thrives on change, and integrates change “as one of its environmental variables,” which creates further change. Brown and Thomas further argue that engagement amongst people, or “collectives” that derive knowledge through participation, assisted by technology and online media, help to foster acceptance of change.

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References Blauvelt, A. “Towards Relational Design,” (Nov. 3, 2008) Retrieved from http://designobserver. com/feature/towardsrelational-design/7557 Brown, J. S., & Thomas, D. A New Culture of Learning. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011). Jones, J. C. . Designing Designing. London: Architecture Design and Technology Press (1991) Jones, J. C. . Design Methods (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley (1992). Mitchell, C. T. Preface to the Second Edition in Design Methods. New York: Wiley (2008).


Right: The group discussed in this essay, Group 5, investigated the questions “Which graphic design practices should be revolutionized?” and “Why would they need revolutionizing?”

Design practices since the late nineties provide evidence of designers facing and engaging with instability. Design writer and curator Andrew Blauvelt characterizes contemporary (late nineties to present) design practices as “relational design,” a current wave following the mid- to late-twentieth century wave of “meaning-making design” (Jones’ context), preceded by early to mid-twentieth century modern design with its host of isms. “The outward expansion of ideas,” Blauvelt theorizes, “moves, like ripples on a pond, from the formal logic of the designed object, to the symbolic or cultural logic of the meanings such forms evoke, and finally to the programmatic logic of both design’s production and the sites of its consumption—the messy reality of its ultimate context.”

Figure 1

Harnessing Chaos “Messy reality” is another way of voicing Jones’ new kinds of complexity in 1970, today with additional complications of networked contexts, expanded opportunity for individual and Figure 2 collective agency, and growing consciousness of design’s impact on society. These circumstances require revisions to design practices and pedagogy that foster acceptance of change, and importantly, comfort with the indeterminable. I and my colleague Nida Abdullah develop studio practices that aim to do just that, based on the premise that designing is both a planned and an organic process wherein students and faculty learn and adapt through involvement with each other. One of our areas of exploration is “harnessed chaos.” We ask how educators might interject and facilitate temporary chaos, in a variety of managed exercises with intentions to “normalize” uncertainty. MGD Bulletin 2018

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Makestorm For instance, I devised and applied a “Makestorm” process to prompt graduate students toward discovery. Five questions prompted five student groups to map aspects of graphic design culture (the semester topic). Groups researched a question and created a biased, physical “concept map.” They installed the maps on studio walls which served as talking points for an informal presentation. As each group presented, the other groups, each located at their respective maps (rather than sitting around the presenters to listen), annotated their own maps with thoughts triggered by the other presentations, a process I call “Reflective Visual Listening.” For example, Group 5 added notes in marker on the white board where they had installed their map while other groups presented their maps. (FIG. 1) They made note of concepts such as “experiential design,” “plurality,” and “potential for lack of consensus.”   Cross-pollination followed the presentations with each group writing/drawing on, canceling out, adding to each of the other maps while, not incidentally, carrying on a discussion amongst themselves throughout each round. In Group 5’s case, commentary ranged from challenges such as “What’s the point,” to ideas that ended up influencing the final map project (not shown). Groups then reconvened to synthesize the collected thoughts and to re-present the map in one hour. Members of Group 5 returned to their concept map and opted to completely dismantle the original one once they reviewed the commentary. (FIG. 2) In this case, the exercise moved their concept map toward greater clarity (and less chaos), despite temporary upheaval.  

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Student Comments “Knowing our concepts, ideas and work could be used by anyone prevents hoarding and competition. I feel this approach will enhance the overall body of work collected throughout the semester.” “As I am inching up a wall of understanding, I’m looking for spots where I can find my grip. Sometimes those spots are easy and obvious... They easily elevate my understanding and I move higher. Sometimes those spots are small and hard to find... [I] struggle to comprehend and connect, but when I do it propels me forward. As I climb my grip gets stronger, and the spots are easier to identify. And sometimes those spots are not useful to my climb. It’s a challenge to be strong, strategic, and open minded.” “A crash course in coping with uncertainty... While this was stressful and unnerving, it did make me have to work in an unpredictable environment that is resemblant of ‘real world’ situations.”


The iData Project: Co-designing Alternatives Astronomy data beyond images Helen Armstrong Associate Professor, with Alexandra Grossi, MGD 2017

Opposite: Many user-centered design methods rely upon sight for participation. In this exercise iData student interns use a combination of physical and digital elements to create a “wish list” of alternatives for completing steps in a provided task flow. In this way, students with visual impairments can begin to build their dream version of Afterglow.

For the past year, 2017 alumna Alexandra Grossi and I have been working with a team of researchers and educators committed to making the study of astronomy accessible to blind and visually impaired (BVI) high school students: the iDATA Project. BVI students currently interested in astronomy can’t access or analyze image data from space, data that a vast network of existing telescopes via Skynet provides to students at any day, any time. The iDATA project, funded by a 2.5 million dollar National Science Foundation grant, engages a large team of researchers, scientists, educators, and designers to tackle this problem. Alexandra’s role is to lead the user-centered design (UCD) team working with BVI students in the U.S. and Chile to co-design Afterglow, the student portal to Skynet. Last year, Alexandra and I tested out the first unit of UCD classroom activities with students at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, the central hub of the project. Alexandra is now moving into year two of the project, preparing for another round of user-testing at Yerkes during the Summer of 2018. Jessye Holmgren-Sidell, a current NC State MGD student, will join her to assist with the UCD activities while pursuing her own research goals. I asked Alexandra and Jessye to speak to their plans and hopes for the project, and for the future of designing for inclusivity.

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Alexandra, What are your plans for year two of the project, particularly your time at Yerkes Observatory during the summer of 2018? iDATA participating teachers and BVI students are gathering at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin for a week-long camp session in July to prepare for next year’s accessible astronomy classes. As the design leaders, Jessye and I will be testing and refining a new set of User-Centered Design activities for teachers to carry out in the coming school year. One of the goals of this grant is to redesign an accessible Astronomy web portal for BVI users. This web portal (called Afterglow), allows astronomers to submit image requests to telescopes all over the world and gives users tools for analyzing these images. This summer, Jessye and I will be conducting design research exercises with BVI students and astronomers to collect as much data as we can concerning how BVI students relate to astronomy and technology. We will then synthesize this information along with the studentgenerated ideas we gathered from last year’s activities. Ultimately, we will take this information to work directly with the software developer to make Afterglow as useful and as accessible as possible. During the school year we will also introduce new designs to BVI users to make sure that the designs address their needs.  Do you feel your work with iData has had real impact upon BVI students?  Last October I made a trip to Yerkes for meetings and a Harry Potter themed Star Party—a star party is when the observatory is kept open late so students can come and look through Yerkes’s historic 40" refracting telescope and participate in astronomy related games and activities. Students from the Wisconsin School for the Blind were participating that day. To introduce them to the concept of design thinking, I had them complete an activity that prompts out-of-the box ideas. This exercise typically generates many zany responses. In this case the prompts were based on nontraditional ways to operate a computer. For instance, What if you could navigate a website with a bicycle? What if the computer responded differently as you moved closer or farther from it? BVI students studying Astronomy, were initially hesitant to try design thinking, but they soon realized that

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Opposite: Alexandra Grossi (pictured top right) and Helen Armstrong test out user-centered design activities with iData student interns at Yerkes Observatory. These interns will assist teachers across the U.S. and Chile as they work through the activities with their own students—many of whom have visual impairments.


their experiences mattered. They discover that they had the knowledge to design their own personal user experience rather than adapting to the world around them. The room became alive with possibilities for how to operate a computer as a visually impaired user.

Read the story: “Cyborg Centered Design,” 2017 Bulletin, 48–51.

Your role in the iData Project seems to be a natural progression from your thesis work. Can you speak to connections between the two? My thesis explored user interface concepts for Cochlear Implants (medical devices that give deaf and hard of hearing users digital hearing). During my user interviews for that project I realized how important it is for the user to be embedded in the design process from the beginning. I love that the iDATA project recognizes the importance of User-Centered Design. As a maker, I not only want to create work that offers a good user experience, but that also empowers users through a co-design process.   What advice do you have for designers interested in focusing on Accessible Design?   Although accessibility and inclusive design are trending buzzwords, it is a bit like the Wild West. The design field is recognizing the importance of designing for differences, but there are few job descriptions that specifically cater towards accessibility. More than likely designers will have to create a space for it wherever they are. I highly encourage designers to work closely with their users and treat them as the experts—they are some of the most invested stakeholders you will encounter.  Jessye, What interests you about the iData Project? How does the project align with your own design research interests?  I am interested in inclusive design, particularly after our final project for GD 503 studio with you last semester. We developed device interfaces for BVI and Deaf and Hard of Hearing users utilizing machine learning algorithms. I plan to focus my thesis on redesigning design methods for BVI users, and the iData Project puts that research into practice. Helping with the workshop this summer will allow me to observe users implementing new data visualization methods. I can take what I learn from this experience and apply it directly to my final project.  

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SETTING S

Collaborating with Machines Rather than Commanding Them Interaction and interface design for a human-AI collaboration paradigm

FINAL PROJECT

Progress made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is changing the way designers interact with computers. Machines are now able to transform billions of data points into insights, predictions, and knowledge without the need for traditional programming. This information- and knowledge-abundant data enables computers to be trained to act as intelligent agents and is changing the relationship designers have with the computer. These new technologies open up possibilities for reinventing user interface by applying interaction design principles adapted to AI and ML skills, employing collaborative theories. This research investigates the design of interfaces that utilize AI and ML capabilities to help designers access digitally disseminated, information-abundant research. The framework I devised integrates several Human-Computer Collaboration (HCC) approaches relevant to AI and ML. These interfaces visually translate opportunities for Human-AI Collaboration paradigm development, informed by theories of HCC and design thinking. In this paradigm, the human and the computer collaborate and contribute to achieve shared goals while considering the strengths and weaknesses of both partners. This research specifically focuses on the impact of AI and ML on collaborative activity, via an interface, and so foregrounds the implications of big data on design processes. To propose meaningful, inclusive design solutions, designers must be able to access and analyze expert data and knowledge. ML techniques can enable designers to access this information in real time, thus influencing design decisions.

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ClĂŠment Bordas MGD 2018 Graduate Excerpts from the Final Project documentation.

Research Question

How can the design of a graphical user interface utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities in a context of use informed by human-computer collaboration, help designers create design artifacts that require information abundant research and dissemination?


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Research Question

How can information visualizations commonly found in news media incorporate representations of uncertainty to facilitate non-expert decision making about current events?

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Developing an experiential language for uncertainty in data journalism Data journalism has become a pervasive feature of mass media, with infographics and visualizations appearing online, in television coverage, and in print. While visualizations in mass media can render data accessible to the public, they can also give users a false sense of truth and certainty. Uncertainty, in the form of incomplete or imperfect data, exists in all information and visualizations; it can be introduced during collection, analysis, or even during the design process, but it is often left out of final information visualizations. Conveying the uncertainty involved in a data set provides users with a fuller picture and a more in-depth understanding of an issue.  Currently, there is not a robust, experiential visual language for conveying that uncertainty. While there are methods for visualizing uncertainty in scientific or statistical figures, these graphics are typically created for audiences familiar with the visual language of scientific data, making them inaccessible to non-expert audiences. This gap provides an opportunity for design methods and research to develop techniques for non-expert audiences. Drawing from design methods and frameworks, particularly explorations of visual form, in addition to statistical and scientific methods for conveying uncertainty, this investigation examines experiential techniques that data journalists can use to convey uncertainty in statistical and scientific information to a non-expert audience.    

Initial Explorations

In order to better understand the visual language of data visualization and its relationship with uncertainty, I began to iterate on different ways to visualize uncertainty in a single data MGD Bulletin 2018

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set (below). These studies did not operate within my conceptual framework; instead, they were an exercise in iteration and reflection to prepare myself for future studies. I saw these studies as a way of getting the more obvious forms out of the way and a means of developing potential frameworks. In making quick, iterative studies, I saw the need for a framework that both grounded my work in user needs and pushed me to consider multiple types of interventions. I began with unemployment data from The Wall Street Journal’s monthly economic survey. The data set contained unemployment projections from 75 major firms, so I chose to focus on the disagreement uncertainty involved in visualizing projections from 75 different sources. My initial variations drew on existing visualization techniques, looking for ways that I could change the structure or layout of these visualizations to convey uncertainty. After iterating on several different visualization techniques, I focused on bar graphs and created iterations that modified bar graphs to include representations of uncertainty. These visualizations, however, relied heavily on statistical elements like mean lines and quartile ranges to depict uncertainty, which might prove difficult for a non-expert to understand. I found that the simpler the visualization, the easier it was to discern elements of uncertainty. Visual techniques like blur added an element INITIAL EXPLORATIONS of uncertainty, but blur is difficult to quantify, so it limits the usability of the visualization.

Opposite: Hurricane Heat Map (see page 56). Below: These initial studies focused on one data set, iterating through different possibilities for visualizing uncertainty.

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Study 4B: Hurricane Dashboard The New York Times uses a needle gauge to convey uncertainty in polling projections. For my initial study into metaphor, I pushed that metaphor further, building a whole dashboard to convey disagreement uncertainty in hurricane path projections. The dashboard metaphor is so pervasive that almost every interface includes some sort of dashboard. Users encounter real and metaphorical dashboards every day, making them powerful tools for conveying complex information.   For this study, I worked with a scenario and task analysis that describes a user trying to make a decision about traveling to a hurricane prone area. The user, Ben, is familiar with the dashboard metaphor, making the interface easy for him to use and interpret.   In this hurricane forecast, the user is interested in how the storm will impact him. Designers can tailor these visualizations to a specific user by including customization options, like location searches and time sliders. This gives the user the power to favor impacts that are relevant to them. For this study, the spinners give a user a sense of the impact, but also of confidence. The wind speed spinner shows impact, and as the dial lingers on areas of greater damage, the top of the scale lights up, capturing the user’s exogenous attention. In designing visualizations with metaphors, designers can incorporate other leverage points, like exogenous and endogenous attention, to further facilitate cognitive processing.   The dashboard metaphor has become so ubiquitous because of its simplicity and relatability. We read dashboards to gain information at a given moment, so users expect motion and responsiveness. Dashboards can incorporate numerous ideas at once because users are familiar with reading them and are not challenged by the structure. These qualities make dashboards a useful metaphor for conveying uncertainty, especially in complex situations, and demonstrate the benefit of metaphors being familiar and relatable.  Furthermore, the motion of the gages acts as a metaphor separate from the dashboard itself. As I discussed with previous studies, an oscillating motion conveys indecision and makes it difficult for a user to select a specific value. This creates an experiential feeling of uncertainty. Large scale structural metaphors, like dashboards, can combine various analogies in one visualization, furthering reinforcing elements that convey uncertainty.

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Scenario Ben is supposed to go to Miami next week for work, unfortunately, it looks like Hurricane Irma will be visiting then too. Ben’s not sure what’s going to happen with the hurricane, so he’s seeking out information from online news sources. One website includes a graphic that looks like a car dashboard. Ben stops and examines the graphic. It includes a spinning hurricane, a couple of gages, and a search bar. As Ben enters in his information (location, date, etc.), the dashboard comes alive and the gages move, giving him information about the hurricane’s path. Ben examines the interface and sees that it includes a time bar. He slides the bar closer to when he’ll be in Miami and a transparent version of the hurricane splits into multiple hurricanes that slide along the paths. The spinners on the left go wild, all moving away from calm towards stronger winds.  Ben clicks on one of the little hurricanes that doesn’t directly hit Miami. The other paths and hurricanes fade out, but the spinners stay near dangerous wind speeds. Ben continues to play with the different paths, watching their impact on the spinners and their relationship to Miami. After a while, Ben becomes convinced that regardless of the directness of the hit Miami receives, he doesn’t want to be anywhere near South Florida.

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Future Explorations in Visualizing Information for Non-experts

Below and Page 52: Hurricane Heat Map. The graphics combine a user’s endogenous attention and the chunking of elements. The user can customize the interface and explore different layers of information.

The framework laid out in this investigation, especially the translated work of Patterson, et al. provides a unique and useful structure for exploring information visualizations in a variety of contexts. Information visualizations provide a unique opportunity to convey complex information to non-expert users, but the creators of these visualizations must consider the accessibility of their visualization techniques. Designers can expand on the leverage points presented by Patterson et al. by exploring tools familiar to designers, such as developing narrative structures. Research shows that users retain and process information best when it is presented in a narrative format (Goodman et al., 2017). Narrative is a familiar tool in the designer’s handbook, one that can be used to translate complex information into a format that non-experts can understand. Designers exploring information visualizations, as well as uncertainty, can build off of this research to explore how the overall narrative of a story can impact the accessibility of information and a visualization’s ability to convey uncertainty. Designers can play an integral role in making information accessible in a variety of contexts. For example, scientific papers rely heavily on subject specific visualizations that act as a form of jargon, rendering most of the information they convey inaccessible to those outside the field of study. Current research looks at revolutionizing the structure of scientific papers and developing the “paper” of the future, which includes interactive information visualizations (Goodman et al., 2017). Designers can play a unique role in research like this, examining the structure and usability of these interactive visualizations, as well as their accessibility to non-experts.

design.ncsu.edu/thenfinally

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PROGRAM PEOPLE Faculty and Activity. Our Advisory Board of Alumni and Emeritus Professors. Program Contacts.


HA Helen Armstrong RF Russell Flinchum  DGC Denise Gonzales Crisp DH Derek Ham  DL Deborah Littlejohn  MP Matthew Peterson  ST Scott Townsend 

Awards and Honors

Faculty Activity 2017/18 Publications

University Faculty Scholar Award, 2018. HA Oculus Launch Pad Scholarship Recipient, following inclusion as a selected participant, 2017. DH   Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology, 2018. HA   42nd Cleveland International Film Festival, Perspectives Award for Immersive Storytelling, 2018. DH  Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Design, Kansas City Art Institute, 2017/18. DGC 

Visiting Lectures

“Kit-o-parts: A Virtual Playground to Explore Form, Space, and Order,” Al Azhar’s 14th International Conference on Engineering, Architecture and Technology proceedings, 2017. DH “Accountability for Predicting Outcomes of Design Action,” in Designer of 2025, a report prepared for AIGA, (forthcoming), 2018. DL “Harnessing Technology to Re-envision the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as an Autismfriendly Space,” Design for All: A Publication of Design, All Institute of India, 2017. HA  “Transportation Design,” co-author, Industrial Design in the Modern Age, Rizzoli Electa, 2018. RF  

“Big Data and Machine Learning,” School of Visual Arts, Products of Design Program, New York, NY, 2018. HA Presentation at the 35th Ephorate on research and design, Ministry of Culture, Athens, Greece, 2017. ST “An Overview of the Next Big Process,” Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri, 2017. DGC  “Design and Liberal Arts,” Cross-disciplinary seminar and lecture, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 2017. ST  

“The Production of Narrative through Static Imagery: Examples from a Peculiar Medieval Illustration,” Visual Communication, 2018. MP “Disciplining the Graphic Design Discipline: The role of external engagement, mediating meaning, and transparency as catalysts for change,” Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 2017. DL “Crayons, Cardboard, and Virtual Reality,” Ottiya, a creative learning magazine, 2018. DH “Improvisation in the Design Classroom,” Co-author, Dialectic 3, 2018. DGC  “The Importance of Organizational Innovation and Adaptation in Building Academic + Industry + Intelligence Collaboration: Observations from the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences,” Contributor, The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs, 2018. DL 

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Exhibitions / Exhibits

Conference Presentations

Solo exhibition, Allatini-Dassault Gallery, Institut Français, Thessaloniki, Greece, co-sponsored by the Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service, 2017. ST

“Design Computation With Eyes and Hands,” National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, University of Utah, College of Architecture + Planning, 2017. DH

ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival Exhibit, with NC State College of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2017. DH

Workshops “Situational Methods in (Graphic) Design,” Co-leader, AIGA DEC Make Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2018. DGC  “Panoform Hands on Learning for VR in K-12,” Bridging the Gap Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2017. DH  “Seeing Science: Communicating Data with Visual Communication,” multi-disciplinary panel discussion, NC State Libraries, 2016/17. DL  “The UX Process: A User Experience Design Workshop,” University of Georgia, Athens, 2018. HA  “Re-invisioning Wikipedia,” Gaze-based navigation workshop with Brad Tober (Boston University, MA) at NC State, 2017. MP 

“Embracing Uncertainty in the Design Classroom,” UNIDCOM/IADE Annual Conference, Senses & Sensibility, Madeira, Portugal, 2017. DGC “Frameworks to Structure Imagination of Technological Futures: Design-Based Learning,” Lilly Conference, Innovative Strategies to Advance Student Learning, 2018. DL MP “Understanding Food Systems Using Design Methods,” Food & Design Conference: Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogue, (with graduate students), Lisbon, Portugal, 2017. DGC “Thinking Pedagogically about Public Sociology,” Co-author, Hellenic Sociology Society, Aristotle University, Athens, 2018. ST “Is Universal Design Dead?: Creating Inclusive User Experience Design Methods,” Design Research Society Conference, Limerick, Ireland, 2018. HA “Situational Methods in (Graphic) Design,” Panel Moderator, College Art Association Annual Conference: Panel, Los Angeles, California, 2018. DGC “Situational is Reflexive: Research, Education, and Designing in southern Europe Under Austerity,” Panelist, College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, 2018. ST

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MGD Information


MGD Publications Editorial Advisory Board

Tim Allen

Dennis Pulhalla

MID 2002

PhD 2005

Partner, Microsoft Design New York, New York

Professor, University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio

Andrew Blauvelt

Sadie Red Wing

Chair, Graphic Design and MGD Director, NC State, 1991–98

MGD 2016

Director, Cranbrook Art Museum Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Assistant Director, Native Student Programs University of Redlands Redlands, California

Kyle Blue

Stacie Rohrbach

BGD 2000

Co-Founder / Creative Director Everything Type Co. (ETC.) Brooklyn, New York

MGD 2003

Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Meredith Davis Professor Emerita, 1989–2015 NC State University

Martha Scotford Professor Emerita, 1981–2013 NC State University

Amber Howard

Danny Stillion

PhD 2011

Owner / Chief Brand Officer 508 International Charlton, Massachusetts

MGD 1992

Partner, IDEO Palo Alto, California

Matthew Muñoz

Jason Toth

MGD 2008

MGD 2006

Chief Executive Officer, New Kind Raleigh, North Carolina

Experience Design Director, Viget Durham, North Carolina

Angela Norwood MGD 2002

Associate Professor, York University Toronto, Canada

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Links to Program Resources Department Head Tsai Lu Liu > tsailu_liu@ncsu.edu

+1 919 515 8340 MGD Program Director Denise Gonzales Crisp > dmcrisp@ncsu.edu

+1 919 515 8361 College Graduate Student Services Coordinator Richard Corley > richard_corley@ncsu.edu

+1 919 515 8317 MGD Program > design.ncsu.edu/academics/graphic-design/#graduate

MGD Student Publications Yes And > design.ncsu.edu/yesand And So > design.ncsu.edu/andso

Graphic Design Faculty > design.ncsu.edu/academics/graphic-design/faculty

The Graduate School Admissions > grad.ncsu.edu/admissions

The Graduate School Financial Aid > grad.ncsu.edu/admissions/financial-support

61

MGD Information


Editors Helen Armstrong Denise Gonzales Crisp Deborah LIttlejohn Designers Denise Gonzales Crisp Matthew Peterson Typefaces Founders Grotesk Text and Mono Feijoa Display KLIM Type Foundry, AU Produced with Support From The Graduate School at NC State and The Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design, College of Design  Printed in USA By Four Colour Print Group, Louisville, Kentucky. 120 copies @ $6.95 each. Printed in USA Digital Version Available @issuu.com ©2018 NC State University, College of Design  

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In the 2018 MGD Bulletin 01

Beyond Grad Studio Walls

02

Excerpts from YesAnd

NOW NOW RESEARCH 06

Accessibility and IBM Watson

14

Can Eyes be Windows to the Soul-ution?

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The First Year of the MGD III Program

INVESTED RESEARCH 28

I Am A Man: VR Experience

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Designing Responsive GUIs / Statement of Purpose

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Engaging Uncertainty in the Design Classroom

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The iData Project: Co-designing Alternatives

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Collaborating with Machines Rather than Commanding Them

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Visualizing Uncertainty

PROGRAM PEOPLE 54

Faculty Activity 2017/18

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MGD Publications Editorial Advisory Board

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Links to Program Resources

Brooks Hall, Box 7701 50 Pullen Road Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

Profile for NC State Master of Graphic Design Program

MGD Bulletin 2018  

MGD Bulletin 2018