Townsend completes feature article for Design and Culture
Associate Professor of Graphic Design Scott Townsend recently finished a cover feature article for “Design and Culture” on past projects, methods and application of frameworks. “Design and Culture” is an academic, peer-reviewed publication.
Title: Situated Design: A Space for Interaction and “Reading”
Reading is becoming a more diverse activity. While the act of reading engages a reader through intense interiorization and reflection, reading is also placed within more exteriorized social contexts through ubiquitous computing, networking, and densely designed public spaces. The proliferation of these contexts elaborate and compete with the primacy of a traditional reader’s experience with a codex. These forms of reading are more contingent on a reader/participants settings and activities. This in turn makes a different kind of cognitive and social demand on the individual.
Using semantic/episodic/procedural ideas of cognition as a framework, this paper develops “situational design” as a conceptual basis for looking at a reader/participants experiences as a user. Three design case studies (building audience discourse regarding changes in local neighborhoods situated at the Berlin Wall, building community discourse in urban areas in the United States experiencing an influx of bilingual immigrants, and an example of supplementary interactive course material for education) are examined that develop practical concepts for understanding users. The case studies are used to outline processes and methods applied from semantic and episodic experiences, the use of “point of view” and audience discourse, and lastly integration of concepts of image schemata (Lakoff and Johnson) applied to motion/interaction to aid in the comprehension of more abstracted written information.
The focus on design processes and user activities includes arbitrating situations, activities, social discourse, and more specific content that the user is familiar with in their local milieu. Finally, user-oriented experiences and “design processes” are shown as being integral to each other and must overlap the reader/participants/users environment, since these new contexts privilege production and dissemination by the users themselves.