Reading Reflections – Week 4!

As an NYUAD student, the door problem is real! Not just the door problem, but many other design problems existed until last semester, and thankfully, many have been rectified since then. From confusingly flipped maps to the oddly configured staircase leading from the performance gym to Falcon Field, I explored these design dilemmas around campus in a class called ‘Wayfinding’, and it wasn’t just about designing for spaces; it was about designing for people. This echoes Norman’s advocacy for human-centered design. I like his thoughts on feedback and why it’s necessary. I’ve impatiently pressed the pedestrian crossing button multiple times, assuming it’s not functioning.  I’d definitely have much more patience if someone told me it was working.

I’m passionate about both technology and design, Norman’s discussion of the paradox of technology fascinated me. In a time where the Apple iPhone 15 and the latest iOS updates are hailed for their cool features, people have started to acknowledge their downsides, such as overheating or performance slowdowns, which overshadow their umpteen benefits. Just as Don Norman mentions, Experience is critical, for it determines how fondly people remember their interactions. Despite the cute bubblegum pink phone color, a full-screen display, or the customizable call features, issues like overheating and lag are starting to deter users and will probably determine how people will remember their user experience with Apple products from now on. It’s a reminder that even the most aesthetically pleasing designs must prioritize functionality and the user experience above all else.

All in all, I really enjoyed this reading as his writing style was quite engaging as well as conveyed all the important concepts and distinctions about them. As I start introspecting more on this reading, I want to think as both, a user and a designer. In the shoes of a user, Am I paying enough attention to the signifiers and affordances that designed objects and interfaces provide? As a designer, how do I navigate the balance between the right amounts of feedback to give or how would I make something more Human-centered?


Week 5 – Reflection Assignment

The article “Computer Vision in Interactive Art: A Survey,” by Golan Levin, provides a comprehensive exploration of the use of computer vision in interactive art. Levin’s article is a rich source of insights into the intersection of art, technology, and computer vision.

One crucial key takeaway, from this reading is that computer vision algorithms are not one-size-fits-all solutions. They heavily depend on the context and specific assumptions about the real-world video scenes they analyze. This resonates with my understanding of technology in art emphasizing the need for artists and designers to consider the conditions and limitations of their chosen environment carefully. The article highlights the significance of optimizing these factors to enhance the effectiveness of computer vision systems. It’s fascinating to observe how approaches, like using materials or specialized lenses can improve tracking and detection reliability.

Moreover, the article discusses how computer vision is becoming more accessible through user-authoring tools and multimedia environments such as Processing, Director, and Max/MSP/Jitter. These tools empower artists and designers to experiment with machine vision techniques if they have limited programming experience. This aligns with my belief that technology should be available to an audience encouraging creativity and innovation.

However, concerns are raised in the article regarding biases in computer vision algorithms, particularly identity recognition or gesture analysis. As these algorithms become increasingly intertwined with facets of our existence it is crucial to thoroughly analyze and address the ethical implications to avoid any unforeseen outcomes. 

Week 4 – Reading Reflection

After reading the chapter, I feel the author said exactly what I thought. Some designs are inhumane. NYUAD is a great example. I remember the designer of NYUAD was famous and great. However, some aspects of the design really piss me off. For instance, I understand the doors are automatic so that disabled people can enter. However, It also led to many other problems, including maintenance issues, slow reactions (leading to traffic), etc. Many different ways could fix this issue, for example, changing the opening method of the doors from swinging to sliding, adding specific gateways for people with disabilities, and so on. However, it might negatively influence the aesthetics of the design itself. I guess that is why it hasn’t been fixed.

Another thing about the article that interests me is that the author said the engineers are too logical. I immediately thought of a concept in design called “affordance.” This term generally refers to an object’s aspects that define its uses and how it could be used. If this concept can be applied to designing and making it evident how it should be used, it should become a good design. However, I also understand the difficulties in doing this, especially in machines with multiple functions or complicated properties. Still, it should be applied to many daily items since they are not that complex, and usually, people using it are not professionals.

week 4: reading reflection

As a Computer Science major, optimization and logic are two things that we are constantly trained to hammer into our brains. We are conditioned to increase efficiency at the cost of understandability (why do something in 4 lines of code when you can do it in one?). Needless to say, Donald Norman’s take on technology and devices felt like a breath of fresh air. I especially liked his criticisms of conventional engineering, wherein the center of all design and development is logic. I agree with his stance that humans do not function inherently with logic and instead are unpredictable and experimental. I especially like this line of thinking because it brings to the forefront the question – is there any way we can even define basic human logic? There are so many factors at play in the way humans function, in this case, some of the most important being neurodivergence and disability. The way neurodivergent or disabled individuals navigate life is so drastically different than the way we do, their fundamental understanding of logic will be very different than ours. So when an engineer is asked about his design and his answer is logic, is he pompous to assume the way he functions is fundamental logic?

I also like his emphasis on being able to explore a device, a concept I feel is much lost in this day and age. With the initial advent of technology, with it being all clunky and whatnot, emphasis was placed to showcase not only how it worked, but the various ways one could interact with it. These days, it is assumed that everyone knows how to use a touchscreen or share via Bluetooth, so more emphasis is placed on how seamless it is. This assumption that everybody knows how to use these devices, and more importantly, how not to break these devices, makes them inaccessible to the general public.

week #4: data visualization: pulses of sounds and visuals


For this assignment, I saw this piece by Aaron Koblin and I immediately knew I wanted to visualize some form of auditory data. Initially, I wanted to do musical data, but I knew it was difficult to do because of the lack of datasets and the rate limits of using APIs for platforms like Spotify. However, browsing on Kaggle I found a dataset of heartbeat sounds and I knew it’d be perfect for the job.

Initially I wanted to do something similar to Koblin’s piece, I graphed the waveforms as lines corresponding to the amplitude. But frankly, they looked ugly and it was because the audio wasn’t as dense as the ones Koblin was using. I instead graphed them as a continuous graph, and the line reminded me of a heartbeat monitor, so I stylistically updated my project to look like that.

All of the lines when static are green, and when you click the screen, a random heartbeat is chosen and it is dynamically drawn in red with different parameters so that the peaks and changes are more pronounced.

code highlights

I’m proud of the draw function, because it took me a while how to figure out how to do it (statically and then dynamically).

  drawSelf() {
    drawingContext.shadowBlur = 15;
    drawingContext.shadowColor = '#8FBC8B'
    if (!{
    for (let i = 0; i < this.peaks.length; i++) {
      vertex(this.startX + i, this.startY - this.peaks[i] * this.scalingFactor);
    } else {
      let vol = currentAmp.getLevel();

      stroke(128, 0, 0);
      drawingContext.shadowBlur = 15;
      drawingContext.shadowColor = color(255, 0, 0);
      for (let i = 0; i < this.volumeHistory.length; i++) {
        vertex(this.startX + i, this.startY - this.volumeHistory[i] * this.scalingFactor * 4);



I think the transition from a sound wave being drawn directly to going back to its static form is too abrupt, so I’d like to find a way to improve that.

Reading Reflection – Week#4

I mostly agree with the author’s perspective in this chapter that discoverability and comprehension are essential components of creating successful products and technical innovations. It’s fascinating to see how psychology has a big impact on solving problems and recurrent problems in design. Although the author doesn’t go into great detail about design psychology, it is clear that making devices that are both aesthetically beautiful and user-friendly can be challenging.

Think about something like an iPhone from Apple. They provide good examples of how to blend user friendliness and complexity. Despite having a very complex technological design, these devices are surprisingly simple to use. To make our lives easier, developers make a significant effort to accommodate human wants and preferences. Features like Airdrop, which facilitates seamless file sharing, or accessibility options for individuals with visual impairments, are evidence of this commitment.

According to the author, many designers are engineers who are very knowledgeable about technology but lack a thorough understanding of how people behave. They frequently believe that because they are people, they can easily understand how other people will view items or machines. Although I partially understand their position, I find it difficult for them to empathize with other people’s perspectives. Engineers would need to make an effort to understand the psychological aspects because they frequently rely primarily on reasoning and logic. This chapter made me realize the importance of psychology, particularly in professions that serve the needs of people even if they are not directly associated with psychological concerns.

Design and aesthetics are equally important in my opinion because they frequently affect people’s decisions. A product’s appearance and presentation get more detailed as it gets more complicated. Engineers must learn to hide complexity behind a beautiful façade and focus exclusively on what is aesthetically pleasing, straightforward, and understandable to humans. To accomplish this, designers must have a thorough understanding of human psychology, allowing them to foresee a variety of user scenarios and how the product may improve those experiences.