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Relations

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Relation: From Old French relacion, from Latin relatio, from verb refero ("I refer, I relate"), from prefix re- ("again") + fero ("I bear, I carry");

The manner in which two things may be associated; the act of relating a story. A statement of equality of two products of generators, used in the presentation of a group. (Source: Wiktionary)

MODES OF BEING Cyberspace has been described as a mode of being. The experience of 'being' in cyberspace, as opposed to viewing the same on a screen, requires a certain interactivity and virtual objects to simulate one's presence. Iconic representation ensures that my digital avatar will shake its head when I disagreed by typing the word 'No'. Avatars can be used to communicate in a group, but this requires the co-presence of participants in the one electronic space. 'Technological-human fusions' like AI-Chatbots can be invoked from multiple computers and at any time. In human-agent teaming, software agents collaborate with each other, as well as human operators.
PERSONAS Designers need to understand the user in order to create suitable products (goods and services). Personas serve to embody significant characteristics of a user group. Though fictitious itself, a persona is based on real people, allowing designers to address real expectations, motivations and goals. Since personas represent, or even simulate, user behaviour they can be used to conceive and validate user experiences. The creation of a persona involves:

  • Demographic information, market research, customer segments;
  • Interviews with key persons to collect primary data;
  • Data evaluation, including a task-/workflow analysis;
  • Persona synthesis and further development;
  • Interfaces to other design tools, e.g. user scenarios, storyboards, prototypes.
DATA CHARTS Data charts convert qualitative and quantitative data into visual objects so as to convey relationships or causalities at a glance.
"Information graphics [...] communicate knowledge visually rather than verbally; they let people use their eyes and minds to draw their own conclusions; they show rather than tell" (Tidwell, 2006).

A bar chart can be used to compare categorical data. Each bar represents a category which is treated as a variable and whose value is shown on the horizontal axis.
In a bubble chart, each point would be associated with three variables and mapped on a Cartesian grid in order to: (a) show the distribution of data, and (b) permit simple quantitative comparisons.
A column chart can be used to compare categorical data. Each column represents a category which is treated as a variable and whose value is shown on the vertical axis. Grouped columns permit comparisons within a category.
Analytics information resulting from a conversion funnel can be used by designers to (a) improve the customer journey, i.e. from clicking a web banner to closing the sale, and (b) to increase the conversion rate.
A flow chart can be used to visualise processes, computer algorithms, or user navigation structures. This typically involves a number of steps and decisions, shown as boxes, and connecting arrow heads to convey sequence.
A Gantt chart is used for planning and managing projects. This chart displays tasks, durations, and dependencies against a timescale so as to permit progress tracking and target-performance comparisons.
Continuous data with many points, such as time series data, can be visualised using a line chart. It facilitates identifying trends, patterns, and relationships.
Org charts depict the structure of an organisation, including the roles, ranks, and responsibilities of its personnel. Vertical connecting lines represent a reporting relationship; horizontal lines indicate a working relationship.
A pictogram is usually a representational symbol, but in a chart it may also stand for a numerical value. Pictographic representations thus require a key so the reader can associate the symbol with physical objects, e.g. one aeroplane = 100 Eurofighters.
A pie chart conveys the composition of data at a glance by showing the relationship of parts to each other and to a whole. Segments can be expressed, or labelled, as percentages.
A scatter plot indicates the distribution of data, as well as correlations between variables. A Cartesian coordinate system can be used to plot the values of each pair of variables.
A stacked column chart serves the comparison of categorical data, where each column represents a category. The various layers help indicate the composition of data within a single category.
DATA GATHERING & ANALYSIS 1) UI-/Experience designers constantly re-evaluate the way people might use computer-mediated spaces to interact with information, machines and other users. This generates data (especially in a "research-through-design" context) as well as artefacts, knowledge and new practices. Qualitative data may be gathered by means of prototype testing, interviews and questionnaires.

Prototype testing helps verify the feasibility of the concept or utility/usability of the product and incorporates suggestions for improvement. Users may "walk through" key functionalities of the design by means of a basic paper prototype. High-fidelity prototyping involves more advanced interactive [digital] versions. Participants normally accomplish specific tasks by interacting with the prototype and respond to questions in a structured interview.

2) Primary data can be collated into analysable data sets using spreadsheets. Qualitative data should be examined in several ways, for example to:

  • Understand user activities, behaviour, information needs;
  • Identify problems, including possible causes, and investigate solutions;
  • Validate and/or [re]develop core aspects of the design.

Grounded-Theory methods are very useful for structuring and analysing qualitative data. This allows the practitioner to establish categories, properties, relations and dimensions, as well as a conditional matrix. A deeper analysis may incorporate so-called "theoretical codes" [process, means-goals, cultural] and consider interaction, causality and temporal change.
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT The animation explores a surreal isomorphic link between the Jovian atmosphere and butterfly kinematics using parameterized media content and property tracking techniques (Diezmann and Gremmler, 2003). This permitted a transfer of air turbulence patterns caused by the beating of the butterfly's wings to a digital image of Jupiter's alternating bands in order to effect a transformation. The animation culminates in a stellar ignition of Jupiter - not impossible from a Physics point of view although requiring an approximately tenfold increase in mass to generate sufficient gravitational compression and heat. (This content requires Adobe Flash player)
CASE STUDY: THE FOUCAULT PENDULUM In 1851 Léon Foucault suspended a pendulum from the dome of the Panthéon [in Paris] in order to demonstrate that the Earth rotates. The experiment involved a 28kg metal sphere attached to a long wire, a stylus that could trace the path of the pendulum on wet sand, and a 6m-diameter graduated horizontal ring. Even though the swing plane itself remained unaltered, while the building and the Earth beneath it turned, the pendulum appeared to slowly advance in a clockwise direction.

At the poles where the pivot would merge with the Earth's axis of rotation, a Foucault Pendulum sweeps out a full circle in one siderial day - clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere. Other geographic locations are subject to a deviation of the [polar] vertical caused by a centrifugal force, leading to a latitude-specific slowdown. The pendulum takes just over 32 hours to complete a circuit at the latitude of Munich and some 43 hours at the latitude of Sydney. At the equator, it will require an infinite amount of time to complete the circuit.
The swing plane seems to ignore the motions of the earth and the solar system, maintaining its orientation toward the distant stars ... One problematic consideration with respect to the Foucault Pendulum is to determine a meaningful reference frame based on Newtonian principles - that is, absolute space, uniform motion, and acceleration.
CASE STUDY: PLACE DE LA CONCORDE In the mid 18th century king Louis XV decided to place an equestrian statue at the intersection of the rue royale and the Louvre-Etoile axis. To encircle this statue his architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel conceived a grand octagonal design in the manner of a French garden. The Place Louis XV was thus inaugurated in 1763. The statue, however, was torn down by the people in 1792 and replaced by the guillotine. A second stage of development, based upon the plans of Gabriel, began during the 1830's - although the current name of Place de la Concorde had first come into effect in 1795.

The Obelisque de Luxor was installed on a new pedestal in the centre, an arrangement completed on either side by elaborate bronze fountains which are dedicated to the rivers and the sea. Each corner of the place represents a French city, with eight marble statues respectively symbolizing Lyon and Marseilles (by the sculptor Petitot), Bordeaux and Nantes (by Caillonettes), Rouen and Brest (by Jean-Pierre Cortot), Lille and Strassburg (by Jean Jacques Pradier). The western entrance of the Place de la Concorde is flanked by the horses of Marly, carved for another royal château by Guillaume Coustou before their move to Paris in 1795. The obelisk received a golden pyramidion in 1998.