The aesthetical appeal or aspect of an object or product, definitely improves not just its appeal, but also its functionality. The functionality of an object or product as well as the willingness of the user to embrace its usage is directly related to its aesthetic beauty. In most cases, trends are directly linked to a products adoption, which is in itself dependent upon the products attractiveness. Don Norman’s argument over the importance of emotional responses, whether favorable or unfavorable, are therefore, very valid. The more favorable reactions a product elicits, the more functional and useful they are likely to be. The emotional response towards an object, when favorable, encourages the utilization of the product. Based on the initial reaction that a product elicits in the user, they feel either settled or happy enough to comfortably use the product. In cases where the initial reactions are not favorable, the user is likely to decide on the spot whether or not they are going to use the product. In most such cases the user will likely depend upon these formed opinions and likely not use the product enough to discover the likely strengths or weaknesses that the product may have. Seemingly, the situation satisfies the very assertion that “first impressions count.” Creating a pleasant experience must as a result form an important part of product design, if the product is not sufficiently pleasant to encourage the user to feel sufficiently comfortable to resort to using the product. The reactions at a visceral level, if negative, do not allow the user to proceed to the behavioral or reflective levels, which make it hard for the user to embrace the product. I therefore, do not believe that Don Norman complicates the issue of the different levels or aspects that a product design must take care of, the visceral, behavioral and reflective aspects of the product.
The argument that a successful design must aim to appeal at all the levels is a valid one, although for such a design to exist, the product needs to first appeal at a visceral level. Considering that the visceral level creates enduring impressions that are even capable of overcoming any negative emotions that may arise due to future experiences. The designer must therefore pay attention to the initial impact the appearance of a product has, the thoughts or feelings it elicits, as well as the feeling or touch that comes with using the product. The behavioral level on the other hand, according to Don Norman, refers to the use and experience the customer gets by using the product, ranging from its functionality, usability and performance. In cases where the user does not connect with the product at a visceral level, the pre-formed opinions or attitudes are likely to affect their perceptions regarding these facets of the behavioral level. The value of a product is significantly affected by the number of functions it supports with performance directly linked to the products ability to competently fulfill the prescribed functions. A product’s failure or success, is therefore, directly linked to the design’s ability to successfully meet all these aspects competently. Not meeting the design needs at any level is likely to result in negative emotions.
While Norman admits that it is difficult to satisfy all the levels for all clients he does admit that it is at times necessary to make trade offs at certain levels in order to realize satisfaction at the important levels. Having a formula to follow when developing the product is as a result a very important. One key aspect that he argues must be taken into account when deciding on which level to make the trade offs is the audience, or target market for whom the product is being designed, although in almost all cases, the reflective level is very important. This is not only because in most cases people look for the same attributes in products at the reflective level, with interests mostly coalescing at this level. However, in some cases, consensus on the attributes when it comes to usability, functionality and performance may be difficult to arrive at. In such cases, the approach to design must always fall in line with the main goal for the designing of the product. The scheme adopted must be motivated by the target audience, such that if the audience the product is meant for fits a given profile that concerns itself mostly with the visceral level, then trade offs must be made in the two other levels (Norman, 2005).
Norman’s approach to product design therefore, advocates for the designer to ensure they are in touch with the audience the product is meant for, as it is only through such a process, that the designer will be able to keep a majority of the targeted clients happy. However, at the same time Norman’s arguments point towards a belief that the first two levels are the ones that require the greatest concentration, because the visceral level forms the basis upon which the product is either embraced or rejected, while the behavioral level forms the longer lasting impressions.
Wittkower in chapter 6 of his book, offers important insights as to how the iPod can actually serve as a very important toolkit when it comes to learning philosophy. The iPod, Wittkower argues, signifies a revolution as to how information is presented, including information regarding topics as important as philosophy. The argument is indeed valuable, as the author presents the iPod as an avenue through which learning and sharing of information that is in digital format can take place. This Wittkower posits eliminated the problems of accuracy of information, the timing it took to be able to share the information, as well as access to information, providing a platform through which sharing could take place instantly and could occur simultaneously, without the need to take turns to read or to access a resource not readily available at a given location, making the rates of distribution impressively higher than would otherwise be possible. The iPod has an added advantage over other mediums such as television or radio in the sense that it is not push media and the recipient can actually choose what to consume and when. While the internet is indeed a form of pull media, it is not portable, as the individual accessing the information must actually look for an area with an internet connection, be it wired or wireless. The iPod however, Wittkower argues is a hybrid of almost all these forms of information access, as it readily provides portability, information distribution, archiveability, accessibility and content control.
Wittkower essentially provides very illuminating insights as to how the iPod could essentially be an important resource if utilized properly. His descriptions of how he used his iPod to study philosophy is inspiring, he ends up referring to the iPod as a “Philosophipod,” where he listens to philosophy talk, philosophy podcasts, philosophy bites and other philosophical materials. This highlights an essential way through which the iPod can act as a philosophical toolkit. Through podcasts, one is able to listen to interviews and discussions on a variety of subjects and by extension gain access to essential original material. This allows the listener to at times listen to material from renowned philosophers such as Nietzsche, Aristotle, Plato and Locke among others, as well as engage in debate that applies their views on a variety of contemporary subjects such as artificial intelligence, abortion, stem cell research and abortion among others. This platform of interaction provides an important learning avenue that can be beneficial for a variety of subjects such as philosophy usually best learnt through interaction.
Although Wittkower’s analysis does identify certain problems with using the iPod, such as the lack of dialogue, which has plagued the sharing of information, and engagement in constructive discussions, the iPod does emerge as a gadget worthy of further exploration. It also emerges as an area in need of further improvement, as it does have the potential to solve a number of technological problems currently faced by society when it comes to sharing of information. There is a need to further develop the iPod to incorporate the possibility of two way communication, such that discussion is encouraged, an innovation that would no doubt improve learning. However, as it is, the iPod, based on Wittkower’s discussion in chapter six, does emerge as a potentially helpful gadget if used correctly when it comes to learning (Wittkower, 2011).
Question 3: Understanding Media
Media influence the society strongly and plays a major role in its operations, not through the content but through its characteristics. It is therefore essential to understand the media especially as a marketing technique. However, it is not possible for organizations to disregard media in the marketing operations especially social media. This is because it will always exist irrespective of the efforts inputted. In that light, it is essential to focus on some of the key phrases that exist relating to social media as a marketing strategy paying close reference to Evans arguments in his book “Social Media Marketing”.
“Even when you aren’t listening, people are talking about you.” (Evans, 2010)
Understanding media begins with understanding conversations. It is essential to know that conversations will happen at all time seven when you are not there. For instance, in a meeting or when other companies are struggling to meet their competitive advantage in your industry, your company will still be analyzed and weakness noted. This is also what happens when customers are trying to decide on which business to purchase from. Though most conversations happen in our absence, it is still essential to pay attention. When conversations are taking place, meaning that competitor companies and customers are analyzing your company faults will always be found. It is therefore essential to ensure you do not dwell on the negative but instead focus on what they are saying and use it to better where they are coming from. By so doing, the company or the individual that the social media is trying to analyze will be actually be talking to it or him and therefore the company should pay attention and provide a return conversation through improvement.
“All media are financed by taxes or tax-like levies”
Even though it is evidence that the media will always talk to us, it is not optional for it to stop. This is because media is also up to sustain other departments. For instance, media messages attained from related companies is for their survival: to attain competitive advantage, while media from customers is also for their own advantage and specifically to increase their level of satisfaction. In that light, media gains its strength from the needs of the providers. In some cases it may be financial achievement, while in other is increasing levels of satisfaction or simply to provide healthy competition. These needs provide the main reasons for media existence hence should be viewed as the sources of finance. Financial existence for the media is brought about by need; it is similar to taxes or tax-like levies. This is because just like taxes are applied to help in the provision of public goods so is media in providing high levels of satisfaction.
“Various digital media were developed because of the revenues derived from pornography”
Negative information tends to spread faster and this is also similar for any information considered to be sensitive or private. Since media is financed by taxes or needs as earlier discussed, needs shall arise from the information that is regarded sensitive or private. Sensitive or private information is in other words said to be pornographic. It is therefore true to say that media gains its support or finances from pornographic information brought about by company or individual needs.
Evans, L. (2010). Social media marketing: strategies for engaging in Facebook, Twitter other social media. Que Publishing
Norman, D. (2005). Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. Basic Books.
Wittkower, D. (2011). IPod and Philosophy: ICon of an Epoch. Open Court Publishing.