People have asked me some questions about the expression assignment, and I thought I would collect and answer them here. This is important, because if you don’t understand what these key concepts mean, you can’t do the assignment correctly.
Make sure you have a clear idea of what is “an expression” and “an experience” before you attempt this assignment!
Q. Is “the written word” or “film” an expression?
A. Nope. That’s a type of expression. An expression is always concrete, like this particular film, or even this scene from this particular film; or this poem, or even this stanza from this poem; or this story that my mother used to tell; or the jingo from this commercial. In class, we looked at a 5-minute segment of the film, Spirited Away. That film segment was an expression; some of the “an experiences” it seemed to draw upon related to our everyday experiences of adolescence, nightmares, and myth.
Q. Can the sunset over the Florida keys be an expression?
A. Nope. That’s a natural, external, objective phenomenon. Expressions are human-made meaningful artifacts, which usually point back (in one way or another) to “an experience.” The sunset isn’t human-made, and it doesn’t derive from “an experience.” However, a sunset can factor into “an experience” as in the following story: “the first time my lover and I kissed, we were on a beach, and the sun was going down….” And when you tell that story of your first kiss, that story is an expression.
Q. Could a photo album of a vacation be an expression?
A. Yes. One could consider each individual photo an expression, every single caption, or even the whole. Again, think about what “an expression” is: a human-made meaningful artifact, usually pointing back to one or more “an experiences.” A photo album of a vacation would qualify. I suppose an album of completely random images from Flickr would be harder to call an expression, but even that would, I suppose, be an expression.
Q. Does the design need to be literally, explicitly, and obviously derived from the expression?
A. Nope. The goal of this mini analysis derived from the concepts of an experience and expression is that your source of inspiration for this design should come from actual lived or “felt” human experience, rather than a “needs assessment” or tweaking/improving some other interface you’ve seen elsewhere. The keys here are “felt experience” and “inspiration.” So I want to see that you think creatively and originally about an expression, and in particular how it relates to human experiences, and that you project that forward into a design concept.
Q. Do we need to include the expression in the deliverable?
A. Nope. But if you do decide to include the expression in the deliverable, please consider writing about the new Director’s Cut edition of the Bladerunner Blu-Ray. (That was a joke.) Seriously, you do not need to include the expression itself, but you will need to help me understand the expression, so you will want to explain it in your paper. And if you want to include the expression, you are welcome to do so (I’m also looking for a copy of The Barber of Seville on CD).