Single Office Seeks Pragmatic Partner
Join the team! The MFA Interaction Design department is looking for a Senior Systems Administrator. It is a full-time role responsible for overseeing the planning, coordinating, integrating, and monitoring all technical and digital aspects for the graduate Interaction Design department, both internally and externally facing.
Some responsibilities include:
- Oversee the department website, managing any design and functional updates to the website, as well as the workflow for content and asset updates.
- Support graduate students, faculty, and staff; serve as primary technical liaison for the department for all parties both internal and external.
- Perform routine system backups; install and maintain Mac applications; diagnose and resolve hardware and software issues.
- Review industry trends and faculty news to maintain foresight to keep staff and department as current, providing updates in weekly meetings.
Tackling Citi Bike Related Problems
Last Thursday, students Amy Wu and Luke Stern presented at Citi Bike NYC Data Showcase, the second examination of all the data produced by Citi Bike rides. Amy and Luke sought to enhance the tourist experience with ideas requiring little budget or resource.
Next City writes:
Citi Bikes’ software and hardware interfaces can be rage-inducing. They’ve been working with students studying interface design at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). The goal is in large part to reduce the sort of friction that can occur when you attempt to put your credit card in and generate a printed code to unlock a bike, all under the watchful gaze of those in line behind you. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. And it’s impossible to know which experience you’ll have until you try…
The research team is working towards:
“We’re trying to hack the user experience of Citi Bike,” said Luke Stern, who presented alongside his fellow SVA student Amy Wu. Their research team has mocked up a system that would allow casual users to pre-pay away from the maddening crowds, either online or by mobile phone, by accessing a wider variety of passes than currently exist — a $2 single-ride pass, or a $15 Weekend Pass, good for three days.
Meet the 2014 Summer Instructors: Noa Younse
A few quick questions with Noa Younse, summer instructor for Code Literacy, An Introduction to Interactive Programming.
Noa Younse is a designer interested in computational techniques for visualizing data and generating algorithmic art. For the past two summers, he’s encouraged students at SVA to develop their coding ability through a variety of introductory classes. This summer he returns to teach Code Literacy, helping designers express themselves programatically.
Meet the 2014 Summer Instructors: Jodi Leo
Research Methods is one of five summer intensive courses in interaction design offered to the public by the MFA Interaction Design program at SVA. To learn more about the program, visit the Summer Intensive in Interaction Design
The Parable of Yellowstone: Frank Chimero closes OPEN IXD
Photo credit, Amy Wu
Designer, illustrator, writer, and teacher Frank Chimero was Closing Keynote speaker at this year’s Thesis Festival, OPEN IXD. He began with a story of Yellowstone Park’s 1,200 troublesome bears:
Since design is frequently framed as problem-solving, and this is an interaction design program—and there is clearly some kind of interaction happening between a man, a bear, a car, and a sandwich—I want to ask everyone: how would you respond to the bear problem?
There are two options, he went on to say:
The first path is the method chosen by the early rangers at Yellowstone in the 19th century. They had to contend with a similar problem as our bears when wolves were eating the neighboring ranchers’ livestock. (Again, a conflict over who gets to eat what. Animals are not particularly good at observing human rules.) The rangers opted to eliminate what caused the problem and hunted the wolves to the point of near extinction. Problem solved, I guess, but not in the most elegant fashion.
And the second way:
[Is] a more gentle and time-consuming approach. In the ’70s, the park introduced what they called a “bear management” program. As much as I want this to be about bears in white-collared jobs holding coffee mugs, it is not. The funny thing about the bear management program is that it’s really a people management program. The best way to prevent bear and human brush-ups is to have people behave responsibly: place edibles in bear-proof receptacles, slow down and watch out for bears on the road, and so on. It’s easier to direct and instruct a person than a bear.
Why this story?
I’m sharing this weird parable about Yellowstone, because it describes both sides of how to approach problems. Some designers want to shoot the wolves, others want to manage the bears. One is trying to make an antidote, the other invests in a process to keep things open and adaptable. … We often mischaracterize design as a practice of problem-solving, as if the problems go away. But closure, at least in my experience, is so rare in design.
[T]he next time you’re sitting down to work on a design project, ask yourself: what am I being asked to do? Do I need to shoot wolves or manage bears?
Rather than shooting the source of the problem, we are aiming to be the shepherd. Thank you, Frank.
If you missed, it, don’t miss the transript in its entirety!
OPEN IXD: Thesis Festival Tomorrow!
Join the Class of 2014 in the presentation of their thesis projects!
OPEN IXD is the MFA Interaction Design Festival at the School of Visual Arts. It’s a collaborative celebration of the work from 14 interaction design students who present their theses in individual expression. Inside the theater, the class of 2014 presents their experience through story; outside, prototypes are in the open for play and exploration.
Alex Wright Publishes Cataloging the World
Faculty Alex Wright recently published his second book, Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age, due out in June from Oxford University Press.
Paul Otlet was a Belgian bibliographer and entrepreneur who, in 1934, described something very much like the World Wide Web. Otlet was more than just a technological visionary, however. He saw his global network—the Mundaneum—as part of a utopian plan to accelerate social progress, unify the world’s governments, and ultimately foster a great spiritual awakening.
Publishers Weekly review reads:
“In this enlightening profile, Wright revives and contextualizes the now largely forgotten work of “visionary information theorist” Paul Otlet… Wright is certain that ‘Otlet’s vision for an international knowledge network… points toward a more purposeful vision of what the global network could yet become,’ and his biography could help set that in motion.”
Apocalypse Project Makes the News
She began this as part of the 2013 Art Science Residency Programme in partnership with the ArtScience Museum™ at Marina Bay Sands, Tembusu College National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory. She is currently in Manila as the artist-in-residence of The Mind Museum expanding the project and educating the public.
Watch Catherine discussed her Climate Change Couture designs, the Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, and the Apocalypse Commander Badge.
Follow Catherine and see how this project develops.
Meet the 2014 Summer Instructors: Hilla Katki
A few quick questions with Hilla Katki, upcoming summer instructor for Visualizing Information.
Hilla Katki knows how to tell stories through complex data. At Bloomberg, she served as design director for a specialized visual data team, crafting a series of exciting web and mobile features like the “Billionaires Index”, and many others. Today she’s helping The New York Times shape political and policy stories through their recently launched product, The Upshot. Hilla returns this summer to teach a four week course titled “Visualizing Information” as part of the Summer Intensive in Interaction Design. We caught up with her to see what students can expect this summer.
Tell us something about your summer course we might not expect based on its course description.
The class may be called “Visualizing Information,” but it’s really about story-telling: Is the data telling you something you didn’t already know before? Can it provide a new perspective?
What will students be making or working on in your class this year?
Students will use data sets of their own choosing to tell a story through data visualization.
Got a good book or article recommendation for people interested in the course?
- "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", Edward Tufte
- "Semiology of Graphics", Jacques Bertin
- "Visualize This", Nathan Yau
What are you excited for in NYC this summer (aside from the summer intensive)?
I’m excited to take my daughter to swimming lessons for the first time!
What are you working on these days?
At the New York Times, we just launched The Upshot, a site that utilizes news, analysis and data visualization to explain politics and policy. On a personal note, I’m working with my brother who is a biostatistician at the National Cancer Institute on an app to explain cervical cancer test results to doctors and patients.
Visualizing Information is one of five summer intensive courses in interaction design offered to the public by the MFA Interaction Design program at SVA. To learn more about the program, visit the Summer Intensive in Interaction Design