Sunday, November 25, 2007

Store Observation

I chose to observe the Best Buy store because i feel that they mostly market to older adults who have the money to buy electronics not only for themselves but for their kids as well. The best buy has a very bright blue and yellow sign and a large arching building. Inside new hip hop and pop music plays and the store is separated into different sections. Items were displayed on racks or tables so that they could be picked up and examined. The floor was all carpeted and there were only signs to indicate which section of the store or subsection you were in. The cashier area was in the front of the store and there were different check out aisles for customers to purchase products.

I think that the store design is trying to project an image of being modern, and connected. The store portrays itself as new and hip and all of the products back up this image as everything new in electronics can be found there. The bright colors and flashy displays add to this image as well as the products that sit out showing the availability of newer items.

Customers interact with the different elements of the store by picking up and trying out different products. People cruise through the store and pick up ipods, watch televisions, and play videogames. People interact with products by actually seeing how products work and what the typical user experience consists of. I found a few things to be interesting first that in Paco's money zone area best buy had their customer service area. A little further to the right they did have their computer section which I would assume is their highest selling object. Second i found it to be interesting that their TV' s were in back because I rarely go that far into the store and i would assume other customers don't as well and I enjoy looking at different TV's. Overall I felt that the store was very well designed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


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

In Response to Robert's question I think that sales people are having a smaller role in modern shopping because there are more consumers. I feel as though the average store is becoming larger and larger and most stores do not hire enough competent employees for this size. I do think that sales people have a larger role than the article seems to imply. I agree with the majority of the points made about store design and that it plays an enormous role in how long consumers spend in a store and whether or not they enter. I think that when it comes to actual selling of a product however, the salesman is still a very important figure and that a good salesman will not only sell multiple articles but that a good salesman stand out much like a well designed or distinctive store. I would agree with Robert and say that the salesman still does the majority of the work in making a sale.

The author explains that this is because we tend to eat, and pick up food on tables, but why are these two actions related? When we sit down to eat, do we poke and prod our food before consuming in the same way we evaluate a shirt or pair of jeans for comfortability? What is it about touch that is so critical in our evaluation of a product?

In response to Ezra's question I would say that I disagree with the assumption that we touch things on tables because it is similar to food. I think that we touch table displays because they seem more inviting. It is more like our home in that clothes are not hung up. I feel more comfortable touching those displays because it is similar to my room at home where things lay all over the place strewn out. When clothing is on a rack it seems very official and uninviting. In response to the second portion of Ezra's question I would say that touch is critical because it has the ability to make everyday life better. People want to wear jeans or shirts that not only look good, but feel good as well. When people find a comfortable product they are more likely to wear it with greater frequency and they want to find this type of product in the store so they feel and try products on.


What attracts you to enter a store? Do you think that men do not like entering women's areas and that women dont mind mens areas?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Purpose of Packaging

Packaging serves a few other basic functions besides attracting attention. The main other purposes are to protect the product from damage, preventing theft or deterring theft of the product, and providing basic product information. For example the packaging of DVDs is such that it is very difficult to remove the disc in the store and thus their packaging is used as a strong theft deterrent. The packaging of a television is filled with Styrofoam and other packaging materials so that while the product is being shipped it cannot be damaged. The packaging of most food items most include basic health information and labels which aid the consumer in their choices or display the nutritional benefits of the product like Cheez-Its.

The two articles are suggesting that in a new era when people are starting to seriously consider environmental problems and the idea of true sustainability that some problems should be attacked at the source. The articles also suggest that packaging design should be considering the environment in its design process and not only the factors that I considered above. This means that they need to consider the materials and whether they can be re-used, when creating their packaging. Modifications to current practices could help check the flow of garbage, and create a lower level of garbage overall by creating packaging items that actually are recycled and by using packaging that is re-usable. These slight changes have the potential to have enormous environmental benefits such as reducing the trash in the ocean and creating a more sustainable society for future generations. We could easily modify many basic products to eliminate unnecessary packaging such as that on DVDs or to make the packaging re=usable.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Packaging perfection

Packaging is important to the marketing of a product in two ways, initial consumer attraction and brand identity. Packaging is important to attract the customer while in the store, if a company can create a design that stands out people are likely to pick it up and check it out which is half the battle. Brand identity is important once people have found a specific package that they like or product and their ability to identify with that package and design helps build customer loyalty creating life long customers. Packaging influenced my decision to buy chips, recently i went to the store and Lays changed their font and i had identified with the previous one so i almost did not purchase the Lays, Doritos on the other hand has maintained the same color scheme and i feel very comfortable buying their product.
Heineken has very iconic packaging they use a different style bottle and use a unique green color that makes their beer stand out from others. When i think of iconic packaging two other packages come to mind and those are the design of the Swiss army knife and its case and the design of Gatorade bottles because they stick out in my mind.
Usability issues for packaging are normally only applicable when the actual product is either very hard to access or a new way of packaging is used to make an old product easier to access. Examples of good packaging include the new Heinz bottles that are automatically upside down and are easy to squeeze and craft cheese that has packaging which is re-sealable. In my mind the worst designs are computer mouses, DVDs, and video games all of which are nearly impossible to open up and often frustrate me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Is materialism the answer?

I wanted to use my blog to touch on a part of i discussion in which i never got to truly say what i meant although it is not completely related to design. We were discussing what careers we were interested in and what motivated our interest and the majority of people in our class responded that money was what motivated their career choice. I have to say that although this is completely an issue or personal beliefs and preferences, i vehemently disagree with the idea of money being the basis of your career decision. It is so materialistic, and saying that one should chose their career based on money is saying that money and material objects are the only things, or primary things that cause happiness. I think that saying this is a mistake, money is just an abstract object that is needed for day to day survival. The things that truly create happiness in life are the connections between people, the friendships and relationships that we develop over time. You should also be choosing your career in a similar way, is it an activity that makes you happy. I really want to find a career in which i will be happy and eager to go to work every day, but in which i also feel that i am making a difference. Money will be an added bonus. I do want to be able to provide for my family in the future but the key part of that is the idea of family. I want to be at home with my family not staying late at a job that i hate. I guess i feel that basing career choices solely on money is a mistake because it will lead to missed opportunities and that people who seek this will have trouble finding true happiness.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Worst Webpages ever

The article ties directly into what we have been going over because the design of a webpage is like any other medium. It should be focused on the user and it must be easy to use. The article goes over how to make a webpage more usable and problems that poorly designed web pages often have.
I felt that the most important points were to keep in mind the users purpose upon entering the site and to let users get to the part of the site that they want to access. I personally hate going to sites where i have to look around to find the section or link i am looking for. The site should be easy to navigate and purchasing the good or playing the video should be the main focus of the site.

Here is a list of 5 important design factors for web pages
1. keep it simple, no one wants to read your mission statement, so make it link but give the user the main images or text of your site right away
2. Make sure your links work and tell the user where they will go
3. DO NOT use flash, nothing is more annoying than having to wait through flash every time you enter a site and it ends up being an incentive to use other sites
4. Provide links to other similar sites, sites do not always meet the users needs but a web page somewhere does and users are grateful for sites that give good links
5.Make text readable and pictures enlargeable, no one cares how good a site looks if you cant read the text or cant see the picture, make fonts big and pictures that can be enlarged