Monday, November 26, 2007

1. What store did you observe? Who do they market to?
I observed DSW shoes in Kalamazoo. They market to all people of all genders and ages but they market mostly to mothers and women in general. This is because women shop for shoes a lot more than men do.
2. Briefly describe the following:
a. appearance of store entrance(from outside): The entire outside has clear glass. This is well designed because even when the store is closed, it advertises its own products: people are able to look at the entire store from the outside. It also looks great because the store is very open so that the customers can actually see nearly every display in the store from the outside. Also, there is a huge sign above the store that says "DSW Shoes," just as every store does.
b. sounds(inside the store): The store plays a constant stream of soft rock, which is relaxing and not imposing to customers. There aren't any customers that would be offended by this music, and it isn't catchy which is a good thing-it gives customers a good environment to shop in.
c. how the merchandise is displayed: There are shoes displayed along each wall with small separate displays set up in the middle, which makes the store seem massive. The middle displays are small enough so that the customer can see each wall from the front of the store. Each type of shoe is also displayed on or in front of each shelf to show the user each different type of shoe.
d. floors: In the front, the store is tiled, giving it a homey, welcoming impression, bringing customers into the store. The rest of the store is carpeted with greyish carpet with black spots, complimenting the light-wood shoe shelves well. Also, carpet is more comfortable to walk around on without shoes since customers will be putting on and taking off shoes frequently.
e. signs: There are signs throughout the store saying "Get a $10 bonus card with every $50 gift card." The designers are using big dipsplays to advertise their catch: this $10 bonus card. It's well-timed as well, as it's almost Christmas. Also, there are monstrous pictures of people having a good time wearing the shoes all over the walls, which not only advertises various types of shoes, but also gives the room a friendly feel to it. Also, the store indicates the sales and clearances using signs(many pairs of shoes were 70% off). Lastly, a huge sign indicates where the men's section is, but no sign points out the women's section. This is probably because the entire store is the women's section.
f. Six cashiers are logically placed in the front of the store. This is convenient for the shoppers, they are easy to spot, and all in all it makes it very easy to check out.
3. What image does this business try to project? Give specific examples of design elements that reflect this image.
DSW shoes tries to project that this is the place to buy shoes for any individual. Mom, dad, child, grandma: if you need shoes, this is the place to go. It's not fancy, but it's not simple either. It's a big comfortable environment that would appeal to all people. The numerous large pictures of people throughout the store as well as the relaxing music being played contribute to this comfort level. In general it is a quiet store that is big enough to get the shoes you want and inexpensive enough to get those shoes for the correct price.
4. How did customers interact with various elements of the store's design?
Since it is a shoe store, customers try on a lot of shoes. The design of the shelves make it easy for the customers to try on shoes with their displays and large number of shoes. There is one section I will mention again in the next question that is specifically for women. It is placed at the front right of the store and contains various accessories for women, and was obviously strategically placed in that part of the store. And I saw numerous women looking around in that section while I was there. There were only about 10 people in the store at the time and three or four of them were in that section of the store.
5. What did you find most interesting about the design of the store?
The element of the design of the store that I found most interesting was that there was a display of purses, hats, slippers, wallets, and other accessories in the front right of the store. It is very logical that in a place where mostly women shop, the designers would have a section in the front right of a store that is highly appealing to women. The designers do an excellent job of designing for the correct audience and putting it in the place that a person will see right when he or she walks into the store.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The point of this article is pretty much to inform the reader about the psychology of shopping. The author explains the differences between men and women and explains why people buy the things they buy. The biggest reason I buy a product is to fulfill a specific need, but everybody’s different. What do you think is the most important factor in choosing a store? Name a store that relates to this, and do you think that the store is designed with that factor in mind, or are there numerous factors that play into it and many different reasons people choose to shop at that store?

Trey’s Question: Do you think that sales people have any major impact on the whether or not a business flourishes or fails?

Yes, I definitely do. I think this goes along very well with the article. The article talks about how factors like location, environment, and convenience can influence a shopper’s decision. Salespeople go right along with this because if a person has a positive experience with a salesperson and really likes that person, the person is more likely to buy the product. I remember one instance where I had a really good salesperson, but the price of the baseball bat I wanted was too high at that store. I could’ve ordered that bat for a cheaper price on the internet, but I instead took the printout and showed it to the salesperson, and I purchased the bat for the lowered price from the salesperson because I liked him and I wanted to give him my business. Good salespeople cause the business to make more money, so I think it definitely makes a difference. A store needs good products to be successful, but good salespeople can increase that success.

Brandon’s Question: So, what draws you into a store? What keeps you browsing in that store?

I shop when I have a specific need. If I need some food, I go to a food store. I never go to a store just to look around. But, when I’m at a store, sometimes along the way I run into a few products that catch my eye. This could be because the product satisfies another need I have or the product just looks cool and needs to be bought. But I think the biggest draw to a store is needs. Honestly, I don’t browse at stores because I really don’t like shopping very much so it’s hard for me to answer the second question but the store has to have products that catch your attention in some way in addition to having products that fulfill a need because this is a main draw to any store.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One purpose that the packaging serves is to protect the product's contents to make sure they don't spoil or break. That's probably a more important purpose than the look and the usability of the package because if the product inside doesn't work, it doesn't matter how well designed the package was. An example of this is the flash drive that I mentioned in an earlier blog. The reason they have such bulky, annoying packaging is to protect the product inside. Another purpose of the packaging could be to make the product easy to store and sell in bulk. An example of this is toothpaste. It's very easy to stack up and organize a bunch of smaller boxes, while it would be very hard to organize a bunch of tubes of toothpaste. It's very easy to stack the small boxes in the store as well, making it easy for the consumers.

This article suggests that designers should make environmentally friendly packaging as well. Just to think about the environment when designing a package would make a big difference to the environment. This can be done by minimizing the plastics used and instead use more cardboard and paper. An example they gave in the article is just to do a simple thing like use paper bags instead of plastic. At a place like Target, it's really easy to get 4 or 5 bags worth of groceries. It's hard to find a good use for those bags at home, so usually we end up throwing them away. If paper was used, this wouldn't be a problem because paper bags are easily recycleable. Another example is bottled water. Bottled water is a huge industry, but it's horrible for the environment. The bottled water companies should find a way to use a more environmentally friendly bottle instead of using plastic, which is very hard to dispose of.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1. To what extent is packaging important in marketing a product? Give an example of how a package influenced your decision to buy (or not buy) something.
-As stated in the articles, packaging is very important to the marketing of a product. The packaging is what the buyer identifies with and remembers. It's what sticks in their mind when they think of the product. If the product has a very unattractive package, then that's what sticks in the buyer's mind. This may not necessarily mean that they won't buy the product, because if it is a good product it will sell, but the packaging is just so important to help the consumer relate to the product. An example of this is when I buy Body Wash at Target. There are about 7 or 8 brands of body wash to choose from, and they're all about the same price, some more expensive than others. I have seen ads for some of them on TV, which does influence my decision a little bit, but basically I pick the one that look most appealing. If it has a cool "scent" like "sport rush" or something that just sounds cool, then I am influenced to buy that kind of body wash. I like good color coordination, and I will naturally be attracted to the packaging that has a good color scheme.

2. What other products have iconic packaging?

One that I can think of is A1 steak sauce. When asked what kind of package in comes in, pretty much any person thinks of the glass, squared container with the giant A1 logo on the front. This is another example of an excellent product that has excellent packaging, like coca-cola or heinz. The Al container is very simple but at the same time it's quite distinct with its shape: square bottom and its long, thin neck and of course the delicious A1 steak sauce inside. A little off topic, but its advertisements are very distinct and rememberable as well with the "Yeah, it's that important" theme. A1 combines good marketing with a tasty, delicious sauce to come up with an excellent product that sells extremely well.

3. What usability issues exist for packaging? Give examples of particularly good or bad packaging from a usability perspective.

The main usability issue in packaging is visibility. The packaging of a product has to be able to tell the consumer exactly what kind of product it is using the packaging. In addition to giving the buyer instructions about how to use the product, the designers have to make it attractive. Also, the designers have to make it easy for the buyer to see how the packaging is used. For example, some salad dressing uses a squeeze bottle and some use a bottle that has to be shaken out and not squeezed. The designers must let the buyer know what he's buying, give him instructions, but at the same time make the packaging memorable and attractive. The designers also have to give the user a good conceptual model of what the product is used for--the designers should use the packaging to make how to use the product obvious for the user. All in all, the packaging should be simple, attractive, and should show the user how to use the product. I think squeeze bottles of dressing, as mentioned, is an example of well designed packaging because the designers make how to use the product obvious by having a plastic bottle with a special, smaller opening at the top. Also, it usually says on the packaging whether or not is is a squeeze bottle. An example of horrible packaging is packaging for my flash drive. That is the hardest packaging to open. The point of the packaging is to protect the flash drive, and it did a good job of that. However, it is so hard to get open, it makes the protective packaging obsolete. There has to be a better way to package it so that it not only protects the flash drive but also is easy to open. One good thing it accomplishes is it is clear, so the flash drive is visible to the buyer.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Web Pages That Suck

1. This entire article is devoted to explaining how designers of web pages should focus on the user when designing a website. People go to the web site to solve a problem, and the designer of the website has to pinpoint what the problem is and how to solve this problem for the USER. It relates very well to what we discussed in class. One thing that is emphasized is simplicity which makes the product, in this case the website, usable.

2. The author made a number of key points in his article. Obviously his main point was that designers of websites should focus on the user's needs instead of their own. The point of the website should be about solving the user's problems instead of solving yours. For example: the point of the website shouldn't be to increase your revenue through advertising, it should be to help the user get information about your high-quality product. The author gives a number of specific features a website should and shouldn't have, but in general the website just has to be simple and easy to navigate. Also, the user should be able to easily figure out the point of the website and the website should be interesting enough that the user will come back to the website multiple times.

3. Important design factors are:

1. Simplicity
2. Easy to Navigate
3. Visually pleasing
4. Logically Organized
5. All features should be visible
6. Not too long or too short
7. Information should be concise and to the point

Monday, October 29, 2007

Interesting Post About Design

An overlooked product that is very well designed is the basketball. The basketball has become a cultural norm for us as a society. When one picks up a basketball, what does that person do with it? He dribbles it. That's what's so great about the design of the basketball. It's very easy to tell exactly what to do with it. Part of it is the cultural norm but part of it is also its design. It is round so dribbling it on any part of the ball causes it to bounce straight up. It also has grips throughout the ball so it's obvious that the person holds it in his hands. All in all, the basketball is an excellent product that has become a big part of American culture.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I chose Alex's blog for this post.
1. The thing that attracted me to the link on Alex's post was the author discussing the design of the spoon, which is very true in that it has an excellent design but it is really overlooked. I thought the author's idea that good design is taken for granted is very true.

2. Again, the idea of the spoon and how simple it is but so well designed was what was most interesting about his site. I liked how short the article was as well. Also, the author differentiates art from design, saying that design isn't timeless while art is.

3. The main point this author makes is that design is about the user. And that's exactly what Norman talked about throughout his book: that designers should do their best to make products easy for the user, not for themselves.

Click Here

Next, I chose Trey's blog

1. What attracted me to this one was the stapler. I think it's interesting to evaluate the design of simple, everyday products like the stapler, and this post was extremely interesting.

2. What's most interesting about this is how many pages the stapler can staple at once. The website said it could staple more than 25 pieces of paper, which is ridiculous. It has to be well-designed if it can do that many pages.

3. Again, it's talking about usability. This stapler obviously was designed with the user in mind. I mean, it staples more than 25 sheets at one time. It doesn't get much more usable than that.

Click Here