Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Design Studies - Assignment 4

Designing the Interface Between Dementia Patients, Caregivers and Computer Based Intervention

The main purpose of this article is to ‘demonstrate how our multidisciplinary, user-centred approach to design for computer-based assistive tools for people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) can support progressive, non pharmacological intervention and promote improved quality of life in dementia care environments.’ Therefore the key question being posed is whether this can ‘satisfactorily meet the particular needs of our target demographic, that is people with dementia, their family and caregivers.’

Important information raised in this article is that AD is a growing health problem, due to the aging population. AD patients struggle with their short-term memory, leading to loss of communication, a sense of detachment and feelings of distress. The article highlights that long-term memory is retained, and when given the appropriate stimulation patients can have the ‘capacity to iterate complicated stories from their formative years’. The article therefore investigates which types of archival material and which forms of media are most successful in stimulating long-term memory.

Medical journals make up the majority of secondary sources cited. These cover music therapy, psychosocial interventions and the effect of the environment. Primary research was invaluable to this project. An advisory group was established with members from Dundee Social Work Department and Alzheimer’s Scotland to help achieve an ‘iteractive approach.’ Prototype evaluation/ testing took place with AD patients and caregivers within different care facilities. Studies were also carried out into the impact AD has on communication; video filming to record the findings. Finally questionnaires were also developed for feedback from relatives and caregivers.

The article concludes by stating that computers are an effective tool in ‘supporting older people with dementia-related cognitive impairment.’ This generation will have had little interaction with computers but a well designed system has proven to be beneficial. It highlights that due to today’s technological lifestyle, the seniors of tomorrow will be adapt to using such devices. Therefore assuming that computers will pay a bigger role in the future.

The key concepts we need to understand in this article are that patients with AD are subject to ‘dehumanization.’ There are types of intervention in place but these can be time consuming, require organisation and collection/storage of items. The reader must understand that this is article relates to one specific group, therefore conclusions made apply to this group only. Further research would have to be conducted to investigate the benefits to other groups.

The reader may question whether the author has considered whether or not the participant’s have given honest answers. If the answers are not true then the results will not be accurate.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that dementia sufferers could benefit from the use of computer-based intervention. The author suggests further research into this type of care, so that it will have a positive impact on future generations. However if we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that AD patients will continue to suffer ‘dehumanization’ due to lack of time, resources and staff required to carry out current low tech interventions.

The main points of view presented are that AD can cause patients, care givers and families distress. Current intervention is not always available, therefore this new system could be a beneficial. The use of photographs, video, music and interactive games can all help to increase communication.

Media, Gender and Identity – Representation of Gender in the Past

The main focus of this chapter is to investigate how gender was previously represented in the media. It evaluates the roles that were adopted by men and women in regards to TV, film, magazines and advertising. Therefore the key question being addressed is how has ‘ the representation of gender changed since the middle of the previous century?’

The key points raised in this chapter are that in regards to film and TV men and women were usually portrayed in traditional and sexist roles. Men were usually given assertive roles whilst women were played a more passive character. This stereotypical approach towards gender was also seen throughout magazines and advertising during this time. However a gradual change did occur with the launch of new women’s magazines and the increase in the number of women given central roles on TV.

This book draws on a number of secondary sources with information from numerous authors and critics being quoted. Content is drawn from books and journals, which explore gender representation, portrayal of women and stereotyping. This is in addition to findings gathered from a mixture of case studies and content analysis. During this chapter there was no evidence of information gathered from primary sources, this was due to the author drawing on conclusions made from previous studies, papers and reviews.

The conclusions in this article are ‘that the mass media used to be very stereotyped in its representation of gender.’ Not only were there a greater number of male characters on TV and film, they were shown to be more intelligent and courageous than their female counterparts. Magazine and advertisements of this era tended to use these female stereotypes also. However over the decades the use of the housewife image did begin to decrease. The launch of Cosmopolitan magazine, with its ‘assertive and sexually frank approach’ heralded the changes which we would see develop in more recent media.’

The key concepts needed to understand the author’s line of reasoning are that mass media provides the public with numerous images of men and women. These portrayals may then feed in and challenge our ideas about gender. It must also be noted that this chapter and therefore conclusion is based on a ‘simplified overview of the general trends in representation of gender.’ It is not an in-depth analysis and the conclusion only relates to the information mentioned.

The main assumption underlying the author’s line of thinking is that the studies, which are referred to, are accurate. If the results from these investigations were not accurate the conclusions drawn from them would be invalid.

This chapter looks only at the history of gender representation, it does not give future recommendations. Therefore, if we take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, readers will gain a better knowledge of how gender was previously represented. If we don’t take this line of reasoning seriously we will fail to understand how gender representation has developed into what is seen today.

The main points of view presented are that the media was very stereotyped in its portrayal of gender. The chapter focuses on the female role and how this has evolved over the years. It highlights the external factors that had an impact on this and provides knowledge on what led to the current image of women seen today.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Magdalen Magazine

I have just finished having a read through the latest issue of the magdalen magazine, a magazine made by students for students. I may be a little biased since I know a few of the people who help put it together but I thought it was quite an interesting little read! This issue covered many areas, including music, science and travel. It managed to create a good balance by discussing serious topics such as the cuts alongside lighter stories such as the xfactor. It is also a good resource for finding out what is happening across the university, so I would definitely pick up a copy and have a read.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Christmas Lights

As December approaches Christmas lights are beginning to make an appearance in town centres across the country. However one city has decided to ditch fairy lights, flashing snowmen and glowing reindeer for something rather more exciting. In Derby a new technology is being experimented with, it uses 'banks of computerised lighting controls, streets and buildings can now seemingly be made to move, dance and even disappear.'

I was really impressed with some of the effects that can be created, this new technology uses buildings as artwork. Shape and colour is used to make the buildings come alive.

Take a look at the video http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11755177

Monday, 15 November 2010

Vitamin Packaging

I blogged previously about the Roses project, and how I was yet to decide whether to rebrand vitamins or ink cartridges. I have since decided to redesign vitamin packaging as I think they are often hard to identify and poorly package.

When I went to buy vitamins a few weeks ago, I struggled to find the one I needed as the type on the packaging is so small therefore one of the key areas I am going to focus on is clarity. I want the typography to be bold and clear, making the product easy to identify. This will also be helpful to older generations, whose sight may be impaired.

I would also like to rethink what the outer packaging looks like. I find that it isn't always easy to dispense one single vitamin tablet, and you often have to open a box then unscrew a bottle before you can even think about taking the tablet. So I have been looking into packaging that has a pouring spout, as well as the smint packaging which dispenses a single mint at a time. Perhaps this same concept could be applied to vitamin packaging, making it easier to use.

After speaking to my tutor I have also to start thinking about the promotion of this product. Unfortunately I haven't seen a lot of vitamin promotion in the past so will have to do a little research to see which methods have been used in the past. I think point of sale, magazine inserts or television adverts might be the way to go.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nature Channel

For one of our projects this semester, we have been asked to create an ident for a television channel. We were all split into pairs, so that we each have a partner to work on the project with. I am working with Niki, and we decided that we wanted to design an ident for a nature channel. It was important for us to look into idents that already exist to gain some inspiration for our own project. We found an example of an ident on youtube which uses Adobe Flash. Neither of us have a great deal of knowledge or experience using this application so taking on this kind of work is challenging for both of us. After coming up with storyboards for our idents we got to work. We are working on individual idents so that we can have 2 or hopefully 3 completed for the deadline. The ident I am working on features flowers growing and a butterfly moving across the screen. Sounds simple, but it is proving very difficult! I have so far been able to make my flowers grow and the wings of my butterfly flutter, so progress has been made. I am hoping to animate my logo and apply sound to my ident within the next few weeks so I will keep you updated of my progress.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


As I took my morning stroll through the Mathew building I was presented with a new set of posters put up for the open day. Each poster contains the name of a previous Duncan Of Jordanstone graduate and explains what they are working as now. These students are all success stories and it is quite exciting to read about how successful some of the previous students have been. Many of them are working for award winning agencies or have designed pieces for big names, both in the UK and internationally. I found it quite inspiring and I am sure people coming up for the open day will too!