Sample Posts

10 pts

(The summary, example, and question are detailed and show critical thinking about the text) 

In chapter 1, Kostelnick talk about how conventions works in different situation and how conventions change by time and people’s knowledge. Kostelnick’s article is really interesting cause he used lots of particular example to explain his point of view. He starts with how basic conventions comes in history and the principle beyond which also told us there are many design philosophies we learn today come for a reason and not just some simple rules. Just like he mentioned “This conventional language is not writ impulsively: Imitated for hundreds of years, in invites interpretations of stability, truth, and power” (11). Although the basic principle of conventions come from the same purpose, but the convention itself can be change. The authors talked about the mutability of conventions in the next part. This part come with lot of example analysis, such as the instruction manual of smart mouse and combination plan and perspective drawing of an Italian estate. Kostelnick also talk about the dependence of conventions on visual discourse communities. The meaning of certain conventions is relating to the understanding of certain discourse community. In general, the change of design come from the change of audience’s cognition of things.


The thumbs-up gesture would be a good example of convention in different discourse community. The thumbs-up gesture is commonly used in many cultures to signify a job well done. However, if it is used in Australia, Greece, or the Middle East — especially if it is thrust up as a typical hitchhiking gesture would be — it means essentially “Up yours!” or “Sit on this!” The thumbs up gesture can also create some real problems for those who count on their fingers. In Germany and Hungary, the upright thumb is used to represent the number 1; however, it represents the number 5 in Japan.

After reading the article, my questions would be if we need to design something for a long-term effect, for example, a warning sign of nuclear waste for 5000 years, how do we avoid misunderstanding of conventions?

9 pts

(Close to a 5, but the summary is more of a list that tries to capture everything in the reading)

Before 2000, the interaction design was new to many designers and they knew little about it. Cairo introduced several important things a designer should know in this chapter. He translated some principles from a book in human-computer interaction, The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman. First, the functionalities of an object should be visible. Thus, the users can quickly understand how to operate the object. For instance, designers can utilize physical analogies and make buttons look like buttons in their interface, which can help the audience to locate and understand what the button does. In the book written by Norman, Norman introduced a term “Perceived Affordance”, which refers to what functionalities the users perceive in their visual aspects. Second, the designers should add constraints so that the audience will not be confused. Cairo used an example that people can only rotate a 3D illustration of whales horizontally. The last principle Cairo talked about was to maintain consistency, that is, elements of similar functionality should look alike. He also suggested designers to put buttons in the same place on the screen. After that, Cairo talked about different types of interactivity: instruction, conversation, manipulation, and exploration. He provided examples to illustrate each category.

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My example was from Here we can see that there are two buttons on the picture that afford horizontal scrolling. The arrows on the button indicates the direction. This is the principle of visibility mentioned in this chapter.

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After I moved the cursor onto a specific item in this area, another button and a scrolling bar became visible. The button affords a quick look for each item. The location of the button was same for all the items. And they disappeared if I moved the cursor away from the item. This is the principle of constraint mentioned in this chapter. Using these principles make the design more clear to the audience.

My question is that when (in what cases) the interactivity will be ineffective and should not be applied to the graphic visualizations.

6 pts

(The summary is very general and the example isn’t detailed enough to show me that the student understands the reading and can offer a measured response)

In this chapter, Cairo goes over some things we have already touched on in the class- infographics. He talks about what makes a good infographic and how to create one. Most importantly he talks about the beginning process of an infographic. Structure is extremely important when creating anything, and an effective infographic is not immune to that. Cairo refers that an infographic needs to have a good backbone. This is true. Without a good color scheme, structure, and a proper rhyme or reason, and infographic will not teach the audience anything. It needs to convey a clear cut, simple, but informative message. It cannot do that without a proper structure.

This infographic shows the production and consumption of wine allover the world. It is neatly organized and is clear. The headings make it clear on what you’re getting into with this infographic. The color choices are clear and fun. It is easy to read, and pleasing to the eyes. It contains consumption and production, but doesn’t give too much information that it is distracting.

Cairo says that a good infographic needs a backbone. Can you think of any examples of infographics that show a severe lack of backbone or structure? Did anyone have BAD examples of infographics? While an infographic without structure is bad, what else makes an infographic bad even if it has a good structure?

2 pts

(The student essentially just repeats the author’s thesis, but there’s no response to the thesis. The example and question also seem like they’re added in at the last minute)

In Sarah Slobin’s piece, she describes her time working on a piece in the Wall Street Journal on a group of children with a certain disease and the efforts to cure them. She describes a valuable lesson she learned: while visualizing data through charts is possible, it is important to recognize that data comes from people. It is important to not lose sight of the people behind the data.

This idea reminded me of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Rather than represent the data on the damage in this way:


it would be much more effective to show it this way:


My question for the class is “Are there times where showing people to represent data is best where the purpose is not pathos?”