Response to Week 1 Readings

“The Engineering of Experience” by Phoebe Sengers

I found this reading to very interesting. Sengers’ list of heuristics for designing experiences is especially so. She suggests that even simple interactions can lead to rich, meaningful, and complex experiences for the user. She contributes the complexity to the user. I would add, however, that simple interactions very often result in incredibly complex systems, so some of the complexity must be attributed to this as well.

While I found this reading to be very insightful, I did disagree with Sengers’ repeated assertion that Taylorism is the cause of office “paraphernalia,” as Keyes calls it, being introduced to the home. I see these items as tools of convenience, and not not invaders from my place of work. Take the to-do list for example. Nobody set out to engineer my chore-doing experience, my use of a to-do list evolved naturally because forgetting to do something causes me frustration in the future.

“Making Sense of Experience” by Peter Wright, John McCarthy, and Lisa Meekison

This reading was also interesting to me, although I took issue with Section 3.2, Making sense in experience. In particular, I don’t really understand how connecting is different from recounting. In the example given, the authors use an example of “redness and flesh tones” giving the impression of “sleaziness.” Is this not relating the current experience to a past one? Is the difference between these connecting and recounting just when the analysis takes place? I’m not sure. Furthermore, why are interpreting and reflecting separate? I am not convinced that they should be. What use is it notice a feature or interaction without reflecting on the impact? What’s worse is that Section 4, The Framework in Use, uses an example that combines connecting, interpreting, and reflecting all into one example and does not provide clarification.

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