Paper Ideas

I am working on coming up with some ideas for the final paper, but am having trouble.  I have three overall objectives for this paper:

  1. Use concepts we have learned in this class
  2. Write a publishable paper
  3. Write a paper that is useful to designers (as opposed to just academics)

I have done some pre-writing and am planning to do more.  This is what I have so far and would love to hear your opinions on these possible topics.  Both of these ideas are in a very rough state, so feel free to be very critical.

(1)Structuralist Analysis of Designs That Promote User Reflection
Don Norman and others talk about how designs that encourage reflection provide an aesthetic experience.  Reflective design papers also talk about the importance of reflection and often give examples of designs that embody reflective design.  I could examine these, and other designs (from various mediums), that promote reflection.  I could look for oppositions that are present in these designs and ultimately try to develop a language of reflective design.   This is assuming there are certain structures that make a design reflective, just as their are certain structures that make a movie a romantic comedy (I am not sure if this is the case).  These structures of reflective design could be useful to designers in general and they can also be transformed in to actionable design insights.

(2) Structuralist/ Phenomenological Analysis of Construction of Self

McCarthy & Write talk about how construction of self is an important aesthetic experience.  I personally find the construction of self very interesting and I think I could take on this issue both phenomenologically and structurally.  I could use the Goffman stuff and from a structuralist side I could try to identify oppositions in interfaces that promote a construction of self.  I could then use these approaches to gain actionable design insights and possibly to evaluate designs.

Those are 2 that I have right now, but am not attached to either (though I do like 1 a bit). What do you think?  Any other ideas?

Also, I was thinking if people wanted to meet outside of class sometime to throw around ideas, I would be interested.  I need as much help as i can get 🙂

1 Comment

  1. jeffreybardzell

    First, I think either of your ideas could work. I hope soon that “structuralism” means more than “identifying oppositions,” or at least that you can see how it identifies certain kinds of oppositions (e.g., paradigm and syntagm).

    But actually my main suggestion would be for you to try to narrow your “particular” to a smaller set of particulars. Construction of self is a huge topic, and many have written whole books about it. But if you were to refine it, say, to talk about the “presentation of self on Facebook” or the “your own construction of self in Facebook versus Second Life” or something like that, then you’ve got a particular that you can analyze concretely.

    P.S. Categorize your post, or the hockey stick beatings shall commence!!!


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