My SuperFoods Field Guide

So a couple of weeks ago I finished and presented my Superfoods Field Guide in the Temporary Expert class.

Check the result here in e-book format.

 

As I hope it was noticed, I went for an ironic approach, imitating the look and feel of a Fashion Magazine. I decided to inform about this purely Marketing superfood term that emerged from the insight of using foods as a trend, spotting a light on how superficial that can be rather than an actual nutritional need.

My goal is to attract people that are the heavy users of those foods, who from my research are also highly interested in fashion and social media, and help them realize how superfoods are labeled and the problems around it, in order to rethink their behavior as consumers.

 

 

The feedback was very positive. Users at first were attracted to it because of the beautiful imagery and editorial design and as they quickly scraped through the copy and saw the headlines, would immediately understand the irony and comment it was a smart and funny approach. Therefore I am happy with the result.

This was the page users liked the most.

 

Besides being happy with the result I am also happy about the way I handled the process. The research part took me a while. It was important to read articles on the subject, but i the most important part was my ‘field trip’ to Whole Foods, where, after reading all articles and papers, I could analyze how the food was marketed to the public, interact with Supermarket employees and informally interview consumers themselves while purchasing the superfood products. What took me a while though was to have the insight of the idea and nail down the voice that I wanted to use.  Once I figured that out,  designing it was pretty fast.

I understand that I moved the idea to work in a comfort zone of mine, which is branding and design, and maybe in next project I should try to avoid that in order to experiment and learn using different languages. Still, considering we were required to develop a field guide for this issue and to have a printed version of that, it made sense to use that skill as a tool to conceive my message.

So what would be the next steps?

One of the feedbacks I had was to work better with the copy to push it to the next level. I totally agree with that, keeping in mind that english is not my first language, if I would look forward to publishing that this would definitely be a requirement.

Also, a lot of classmates suggested to “shop drop” this field guide in the Whole Foods magazine shelf near the cashiers. I would love to see people’s reactions! – It is a bit expensive to print that though, but if there are any interested sponsors out there just shout out and I’ll be happy to print and make the Superfoods Field guide available all around New York!

Adjacent Issue 4 Accessibility Audit

For the Open Source Studio Class, we were assigned to make the accessibility audit of a website.  Since Itay and I are currently working in UX and QA for the next Adjacent issue (Adjacent is the online journal of emerging media published by ITP) and making it accessible is mandatory for us, I decided to audit it.

It is important to note that the page is not officially published yet, as we do have some design features to review, images to add and links to set. As we will be doing do in the next few days, this review could guide us on what’s missing regarding accessibility so we can launch it next Monday when it’s ready – and accessible!

The methodology was a complementary use of the WAVE – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool and the Mac screen reader Voice Over.

The WAVE tool analyzes the writing code and the design issues related to the accessibility guidelines defined by the W3C in the WCAG. We can see we have several errors. I noted the absence of a header, which should be fixed. The other errors though are mainly regarding the use of the same links that is being used now as a placeholder for when all articles and pages are published.

Regarding colors, everything seems to be ok and accessible!

The website was also audited by using Mac VoiceOver. This was proven to be very hard, since there is no final content on in, and the repeated placeholders made everything confusing. I will definitely need to get back and redo this accessibility audit once we have the final version of the website.

Talking Robots and DialogFlow

The idea of having an Artificial Intelligence capable of resembling perfectly, both speech-like and physically like, a human being is a very romanticized idea throughout our culture. Ironically, as we move more and more towards the ability of creating machines that – even if not yet perfect ones –  and somewhat succeed in this matter, User Experience shows us that maybe it was not the way to go after all.

Both episode 1 and episode 2 of the Podcast Sandra and the reading on Upending the Uncanny Valley  explore this irony and question the validity of investing in such resemblance. The Uncanny Valley theory, that describes the common unsettling feeling people experience when androids (humanoid robots) and audio/visual simulations closely resemble humans in many respects but are not quite convincingly realistic, was an interesting term to discover and that I could relate a lot to.

I think this is an interesting paradox and ironic in a way. I would be interested in exploring this discomfort further and playing with it as well as exploring and experimenting with its boundaries as an UX designer.