Monthly Archives: November 2011

Today in Professor Xu’s class we skyped with Sampada Marathe Joshi from GE Healthcare IT. She is a user experience researcher and gave us some insight on her role at GE and her day-to-day activities. She also gave us some insight on her the roles of designers at her company, which I was particularly interested in.

There are two different designer positions at GE – visual designer and interaction designer. Visual designers work on making things pretty but also, more importantly, ways to interpret data through design. Talked about GE’s healthcare software as an example. Doctors and nurses have to look at a lot of information at once. Visual designers’ challenge is to figure out a way to display that data that makes the most sense and is the most concise.

Interaction designers’ job is to design how to do the job. They focus on what icons to click on, how to navigate the system and how to do the job with the least amount of steps. Their job is to design the interface for the software GE creates.

The discussion with Sampada was really helpful and will definitely help me in my job search in the Spring.


Since we were talking about augmented reality this week, we were asked to either write a blog post about an augmented reality project or create our own demo. While writing is fun and everything, I chose to try the demo. I do have to admit I had a little help from JTR, but here’s a screen shot of my demo in action. Here’s a link to JTR’s site for the tutorial we used.

These questions are in response to our topic this week, augmented reality. Read more about augmented reality here and here.

  1. This is interesting in how it relates to sports. When did augmented reality first become a thing? Sort of a chicken and the egg question. Did they do this in sports first and then call it AR, or vice versa?
  2. I saw this new app the other day and didn’t even know what augmented reality was. Is this a good example of what we’ll be talking about?
  3. This seems to relate to the location based trend that’s going on right now. How could these two work in conjunction?

In class discussion today, we watched a portion of a documentary by PBS Frontline called Digital Nation. The segment we watched was on virtual worlds and it helped built on the discussion we’ve been having all week. I’ve got to say, it totally blew my mind. Sure, I had some friends in college who played World of Warcraft, and I’ve got a friend that works for IBM who mostly works at home, but I had no idea that predator drone pilots are living and working in Nevada while dropping bombs on people in Iraq. Again, unmanned planes in the Middle East are controlled by pilots in the Air Force located in Nevada and they are dropping bombs from thousands of miles away. It seems absolutely crazy that these pilots go to work in the morning, virtually fly some real planes, drop some bombs and go home for dinner.

One of the pilots in the documentary says, “You’re saving people’s lives by employing weapons, that’s the business that we’re in,” and that’s a whole different issue and can of worms in itself. He hesitates and answers no when asked if he’s ever hit someone he didn’t intend to hit. But how would you ever know? You’re not actually there. It almost seems unfair to me too, (disclaimer: war is never really fair) that we could be on the other side of the world bombing people without getting so much as a scratch. What does this mean for the United States? Couldn’t the military in Afghanistan, or anywhere else do the same thing to us? I’m not sure what this means for the future of war (wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about that?). That’s exactly what P.W. Singer, featured in the documentary, writes about in his book Wired for War. If I make it out of the iMedia program alive, I will definitely be checking it out. He goes on to say that soldiers still have the same symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because the human brain can’t wrap itself around the concept of being at war and at home.

I watched more clips on the PBS Frontline website and Singer makes an interesting point about how disconnected the leaders who make the decisions in our country are from technology and how it’s being used. He describes talking to a senior Pentagon advisor and how he made a comment about how the Internet will one day turn into a 3-D space, much like a videogame. Singer was pretty much like: are you kidding? That’s happening now and it has been happening for five years. You’re describing virtual worlds.

It’s amazing to me how a subject (virtual worlds) that I had completely no interest in, has helped me learn so much, even without my own participation. I don’t have to play Second Life to know that virtual worlds are going to completely change my world.

These questions are in response to reading “Why Virtual Worlds Can Matter” by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown. This week in class we’ll be talking about Virtual Worlds and ethical issues they can present.

Do games like Second Life or the Simms have goals like World of War Craft? How do players come up with their own goals if they’re not provided? Why are they motivated to achieve goals online when they could create and achieve goals in real life?

What is the average span of time a game player plays a specific game? If it’s a MMOG, and they keep changing it, it seems like you could potentially play the game forever? But doesn’t the user get tired of playing the same game, even if there are changes and new areas to explore? Is gaming a phase of life? Or is it “once a game player, always a game player?”

Are Douglas Thomas and Jane McGonigal besties?

This past Friday during our normal workshop time, Josh Janicek, from McKinney spoke to the iMedia students about jobs in ad agencies. McKinney is an extremely successful advertising agency in Durham, NC. Some of their biggest clients include Nationwide, Travelocity and Sherwin Williams. Josh gave some great advice about how to get started in the advertising industry. However, what I found most helpful was his descriptions of job titles and the structure of how ad agencies work. When starting my search for jobs, I found that there isn’t really one job title to look for. There are so many, it’s hard to keep them straight, and also hard to know what skills they’re really looking for.  At McKinney, the positions that would fit iMedia students’ skill set include jobs like Production Artists, Interaction Designers, Broadcast Coordinators and Creative Technologists. Josh believes the industry’s most wanted quality is the ability to be a “hybrid designer.” Thankfully we’re learning not only design, but also development and theory at Elon.

Josh also made the point that at McKinney, Flash is not dying. They use Flash in almost all their clients’ campaigns. He said that Flash is a quick and easy way to get their point across. It’s used mostly in promo sites and banner ads.  Because more phones are becoming compatible with Flash, he predicts that it will be used even more widely.

I have to admit, I don’t really care much for politics and was worried about our readings for the week. I was pleasantly surprised at how interested I was in our class discussion. Personal branding is not only important for politicians and political parties, but also for all of us regular folk. I’m not sure that many of my friends realize that once you put something out into the Internet, it’s there for good. I think if they did, they’d be more careful about how they presented themselves.

Last week we talked about how social media profiles can collapse our personalities into something one dimensional, when in reality we have many facets to our lives and personalities. I thought that it was interesting juxtaposing this with the McCain campaign videos shown today. It seems, in politics, being multifaceted on social media can harm your reputation. McCain portrayed himself as a “True Conservative” in a campaign spot on YouTube and as a “Maverick” in another. Since these videos are on the same YouTube channel and can be linked together as they were in Professor Lackaff’s presentation, it essentially takes one click to get from one to the other.  Although we acknowledged that different states and people see campaign materials tailored to specific groups, the class decided that his seemingly opposite interpretations of his campaign ruined his credibility (aside from the fact that he didn’t say much about his platforms).

In addition to politicians creating their own campaign media, supporters and challengers are also creating their own media and distributing it on the web. This could be helpful or potentially harmful for the candidate. Guerilla movements are very powerful. There is so much going on in the realm of social media and Occupy Wallstreet. Smartphones allow people to have all the tools they need to shoot a video and upload it to the Internet, all within seconds.  It’s been interesting to see what’s gone viral. I think there are a lot of situations we wouldn’t have made the six o’clock news if not for citizen journalism. As a result though, I think we see more publish then filter situations.

One of the most important takeaways from the week was the discussion about interactivity as a process instead of a product. Currently, I think a lot of people days are interested in a social media presence just because “everybody’s doing it.” They don’t actually understand why and how social media can help them engage with their clients, supporters, colleagues, etc. I am really interested in helping people create and realize their goals through social media and interactivity.