In today’s lecture we were assigned to research three interfaces; 2 digital and 1 physical. What this means, is that we have to find 2 digital interfaces, (website, game, interactive animation, mobile phone application or any other kind of digital interface) that we will research and write about.
The assignment follows the ‘Heuristic’ principles that guides us to find and learn something new about our subjects we choose to research.
- What works?
- What doesn’t?
- Color, shape and sound?
This is to prepare us for our first assignment later down the road.
I chose two different digital interfaces to research; Photoshop and Artstation. From Photoshop I took the ‘layer panel’ interface and ‘trending’ interface on Artstation. I will be analyzing the interactivity and usability between both.
Photoshop – Layer Panel
Layer panel inside Photoshop is a powerful interface, it’s basically the whole building block for the whole project when working.
Inside of the layer panel, the user is able to create new layers, arrange the layers, group them, hide or color tag them, something that is really useful for organizing and having a good structure while working. The layer panel is also easily detachable from the window so that the user can remove or reattach the layer panel everywhere else on the screen. This is a really powerful feature for getting a better workflow.
The design of the layer panel is easy to follow, it’s clean and understandable. It’s also possible to change the UI color of the layer panel. This can be done through opening up the ‘preferences’ menu and change the Photoshop UI colors manually. I would actually suggest a right-click function inside the layer panel menu, where the user would have the option to change it’s UI color independently without going through the ‘Preferences’ menu. It’s also possible to change layer thumbnail size, a rather handy option if the user wants a better overview.
The layer panel is vast with endless possibilities and can somewhat be confusing and overwhelming for a newly started user. This can probably be organized by creating expandable menus and good indications of what each and every button does.
I also think there should be made improvements for isolating layers in the layer panel. When pressing Alt while clicking on the “Eye” icon, the specific layer gets isolated. There should be a feature where the user is able to select multiple layers to be isolated without having a major trouble unhiding every layer in the panel afterwards.
Much of the design through color and shape of the layer panel is already explained above, but regardless, there are some important features to highlight. When working, some of the options in the panel gets grayed out. This is because a layer is locked. When the layer is unlocked the gray color disappears.
Of course, Photoshop hasn’t inbuilt sounds, but it would be interesting if there was personalized sounds for each button. Or… maybe not.
Artstation – Trending
Artstation is a art community website created for artist around the whole world, both professionally working in the film and game industry and for nonprofessionals, to share and appreciate art together.
Inside of Artstation there are several different menus from which topic the user can decide to view art or read about articles and new job offers. In this reflective journal, I will go over the ‘Trending’ section.
When entering the Artstation frontpage, there is a very clean and neat view of the whole page. A lot of images from every media and subject matter, articles and job offers. The page is black, something that relaxes the eyes a bit. There is also several menus at the top and further down the page.
From this list of menus, is ‘Trending’. this menu is good to have if the user wants to filter out images and see what’s popular at the moment. It’s also possible to sort out the different media and subject matters through the trending page to find the specific topic preferred.
The design is simple and futuristic. It has a color theme of black/Gray and Blue throughout the page, something that I like very much. There is also a direct response when hovering over each image giving information about the title, username and icons.
I think the overload of images can sometimes be overwhelming, but as you go further down the page it can be something you get used to eventually. I think it would be interesting to add a “pop-up” feature of the images when hovering over them. Since there are a small feature of it already with the title, username and icon, it would be cool to see a pop-up thumbnail of the image.
Like I said before, I think the color theme is already working by having a futuristic setting of black and blue. The design of the trending page is clean and readable and I think it’s well-structured and organized.
The mechanical pencil is a very powerful tool and helps the user communicate fast and effective ideas inside of his/her mind.
The pencil is solid and have a big grip-area, something that is good when drawing or writing. It’s also equipped with an eraser on top. This eraser have to be turned around until it appears, because it’s hidden inside. I think that’s really clever, because then you don’t have to carry extra equipment with you.
The good thing about a mechanical pencil is that the user can refill leads when empty. This way the pencil last longer and there will be no clutter. It also have a metal tip, so if you drop the pencil the lead wont break. There is also a fastener on the mechanical pencil, so that you don’t have to drop it.
The weight of the mechanical pencil is a bit heavy. This can cause sore fingers and tired wrists. Ergonomically this can be a problem. Requiring new erasers for the pencil can be difficult, so I would suggest a supplement of eraser together with the pencil when buying it.
There are various colors for the mechanical pencil, but no changeable cover for it, so that has to be decided when buying. The shape is perfect. It makes the grip of the pencil much better when writing or drawing, no discomfort.
These three different interfaces, both digital and physical, have their own unique usability and function. From having different digital interfaces to help out with creating visual products for communicating and connecting with others to physical interfaces, such as a mechanical pencil, can be crucial. But there are always room for improvements.
All the best