Street Art. Perspective Art.

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I ran across this picture on twitter last week. It caught my eye because, well, it looks amazing. The artist is named Edgar Mueller (Check out his website at Metanamorph.com). I’m just blown away by his talent. What an amazing piece of art, it really does look real; real enough to cause me to walk around it. The only catch to this art is that you have to be viewing it from the correct angle to be able to get a full feel of it. This type of art gives the viewer all kinds of thoughts and emotions. It excites us and in a way makes us feel a bit cautious.

This type of art would be great in corporate  buildings because it would give the feel of the building a little edge and excitement to it, instead of it being bland and boring. Also, it would be great to have something like this on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. Students would definitely love this and it would actually attract people to come see it and visit the campus.

The only downfall of this art is if the viewer is not standing in the right angle or position, they won’t be able to see the greatness of this piece of art.

Click To Drink.

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I never really liked the water bottles that needed the top to be pulled open to drink, so I bought this cool water bottle made by a company called Contigo at Costco. It only cost $8 because it came with 3. I  really liked the design and concept of clicking on the button to make the mouth piece open and appear. This is a great physical affordance that does not fail. A Physical affordance is a feature that gives a clue to use and helps to operate a device.

This water bottle has a hard plastic straw attached to the top cap and a soft plastic covered mouth piece. To use, one must click on the outer button and sip/suck on the mouth piece to drink. This is a great idea because if the bottle tips over it will not spill. This solves the water spill problem that many other water bottles have. Also, you don’t have to open the top with your hands. With this bottle, ones fingers or hands do not need to touch the mouth piece at all. Plus, it’s covered and protected. It’s not exposed until one decides to click on the button to expose the mouth piece. This affordance does not need a label because it is obvious to the user that in order to operate this one must click on the only button found on the bottle. Once the button is clicked the mouth piece pops up and you are able to drink from it. Once the user is done all one must do is push down the mouth piece and it will close. It’s simple and easy to use. I’d recommend this product to anyone, especially college students because we are always on the go and we need to drink lots of  water.

Labels not needed.

A Physical Affordance is a physical feature that gives a clue to use. For example, dials, levers, click, gesture, drag, etc. According to the book, The Design of Everyday Things, “When a simple thing needs pictures, labels or instructions, the design has failed.” I have found countless of physical affordances with signs and labels. Usually it’s on door entrances. The door has a bar handle, but the user does not know if its supposed to pushed or pulled. From my experience I have always pulled because I assume it’s a bar to be pulled. I have been wrong at time and I was supposed to push. I don’t understand why people install these pull bars when the door needs to be pushed instead of pulled. In that case, they should have what we call “panic bars”. These bars are to be always pushed in order to open the door.

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At Cal Poly Pomona, I came across this paper-towel dispenser in the women’s restroom. Now, I already knew how to use this before reading the labels, but I asked myself, why would they put a label on it? We are college students. We’re not that stupid, are we? The labels say, “Pull down with two hands” and ” If no towel turn knob”. I laughed when I read it because I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out how to use this, but I guess some people do need instructions. It’s clear to me what I have to do in order to get a paper-towel. I need to pull down the paper-towel, and that’s it, and if I couldn’t pull down a paper-towel then I would assume that I would have to turn a knob in order to bring down a sheet.

In this case, this paper-towel dispenser  design fails, only because the college decided to put a label on it. But then again, if the college thought it needed labels was probably because users had a hard time figuring out how to use it. So the design fails entirely. There are updated designs of these dispensers. For example, the ones with a sensor that automatically brings down a paper-towel and all one needs to do is pull it to cut it off. Similarly, but not entirely, the latest hand dryers from Dyson are amazing. All one needs to do is put their hands into the machine and let the pressured air push off the excess water left on the hands.

Pull-Up Bar Fail.

I hate exercising. This wasn’t the case eight years ago. I was very athletic most of my life, and grew up playing recreational sports as a kid up until high school.  After my first year of community college, I decided to quit basketball for good. I never planned to completely stop exercising all together, but I did. I never realized how much of an impact it would have on my health. I’m not overweight, but I am definitely not fit or conditioned. I’m sluggish, lazy, and tired most of the time. Lately, I’ve been trying to get back into it, but it is very difficult because I have no motivation or anyone for support to help me.

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A few months ago I ordered the P90X workout program. My 2 younger brothers wanted to do it as well, so I had the support and motivation I needed to do it. I bought all the equipment needed (except the Yoga blocks and matt). The first day we had to use the pull-up bar and do sets of however many we could do. I had purchased a Gold’s Gym pull-up bar, and it worked great the first day, but as time went by and the more we used it I noticed the end parts of the bar, where it meets the door’s border, started to rip. The soft foam support that pressed against the door walls were falling aprt and caused the metal part to start scratching the door wall and leaving marks.

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The design of this pull-up bar fails in this area. If they were to change that part and replace it with something more sturdy that doesn’t rip easily after a few uses, then the product would be great. I have seen other pull-up bars with better support and don’t have this issue, but they are a bit more expensive than the one I purchased. I guess I got what I paid for; a low quality pull-up bar. Next time I should invest in a good quality pull-up bar instead of trying to save a few bucks.

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Treadmill Gaming?

I have a treadmill at home that I’ve only used less than 10 times  in the 2 years that I’ve had it. I always make an excuse not to use it, but usually it’s because it’s boring to run on the treadmill. I do listen to music while I run, but yet I find myself feeling bored because of what I see in front of me; nothing. I thought, what if there were a treadmill with a huge screen in front of it and make it interactive while you’re running.

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The picture on the left is my current treadmill. As you can see, there’s nothing really outstanding about it other than the small screen it has to view the TV. After researching if anyone thought of a new drastic design, I found “The Voyager” (picture to the right). It is a futuristic looking treadmill designed  by  Il-Yep Soon.  The Voyager, according to yankodesign.com, is “a smart-treadmill that features a large screen and interactive system that together simulate the user’s favorite places to run. Pairing with your smartphone, you can even play games or challenge your friends in an endless library of programs and settings.”

This new design reminds me of virtual reality gaming, and the Xbox Kinect. I believe this is where exercise machines and equipment is headed. It would be an intergration of a exercising and gaming. I know there are already exercising games for the Xbox kinect, but I think the actual exercising machines and equipment in today’s fitness gyms should start investing in treadmills like this. I would definitely use this, as well as many others. For sure no one will say that the treadmill is boring.

Do it for the Vine.

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Another app I love to use every day is Vine. This app allows you to record about 6 seconds of video and infinitely loops it, until you decide to tap it once to pause it. It’s ADDICTING, especially if the video is really funny, and the creator of that video makes other funny videos, and you end up watching video after video for hours. Then you find other funny Vine users who make funny videos as well, and you end up wasting another hour watching more Vines. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve posted a couple of my own Vine videos, but they aren’t funny at all. I mostly “re-vine” videos, and they show up on my profile so people who follow me can watch them as well. When I re-vine a vine, other people will be aware of other Vine users and will start following them.

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My Vine profile

Vine is a great app, but it has a few downfalls. Like Instagram, I would love for it to have the easy alphabet look up bar to the right side. It would make looking up followers, or those who follow me, easier and faster to look up. But one of the most important things I would like for Vine to implement is a minimized video size. What I mean by that is having a thumbnail version of the videos displayed in the profile section.  In a Vine user’s profile, videos are enlarged, just like in the home page feed, and one has to keep scrolling down to find the video they want to see. There should be an option to minimize all the user’s videos so that it will be easier to search and choose the video one wants to see. It would be very much like Instagram’s user profile. Whenever someone visits another profile, you are able to see all pictures and videos in a thumbnail size, and are able to choose which video or picture to enlarge and see. It would save a lot more time, and faster to find what one is looking for. Perhaps vine can add another tab to the user profile. It has 2 tabs: “Posts” and  “likes”. They should add more tabs for a different view , or for sorting videos in different categories.

Late gram.

instagram

One of my most favorite apps to use every day is Instagram. It’s one of the top apps used by millions of people who use  iOS and Android platforms. It is very user friendly and easy to use. Navigating through the app is simple and anyone can learn how to use it within just a few minutes.  I love almost everything about it except for two things.

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My Instagram profile.

One of the things I would improve is profile customization. It would be great if we could change the background color of our profile, maybe change the color font, or even change the layout of it. Everyone likes to be different and unique and I think this idea would bring out a profile personality to each user.

The second thing I would improve is the follower/following section. I follow 300 + people, and every time I want to look them up I have to keep scrolling down until I find their username. It would be great if either the usernames would be ordered by alphabet instead of order of when they followed me (chronological) and if there was an alphabet search bar on side (just like iPhone contacts is) It would save many people so much time, and it would actually encourage people to use Instagram more and visit user profiles.

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I’m a bit surprised though, that Instagram has not implemented one of these things because I do recall them having it at one point in the beginning of the early Instagram days. I believe this is very past due.