Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Final Blog Post

1.       The argument paper we had to write was the toughest assignment for me. When it comes to writing papers, it is easy to write once I find a topic I am familiar with and have a lot of resources to use. For this assignment, it was a topic I wasn’t too familiar with and the research was very limited. It was an assignment that I made to hard for myself. My most rewarding assignment was the Wikipedia Article assignment. The topic, Chechen Insurgency, was very fun to research due to my interests in foreign policy and militia organizations. When I wrote the article, I learned a lot about Chechen rebels. The articles by Donald Norman were very interesting and compelling. As I read the articles, I finally understood how much work companies have to do in order to design and sell products effectively
2.       There were two very important things I learned from the seminar. First, I learned how a product needs to be designed properly to meet the customers’ demand. It is important to look into the three aspects of design: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. Second, I learned what kind of products can change the way people live, such as the internet, digital information, and etc. An example of a design that changed people’s lives is the rise of suburban residency.
3.       I have some interest about going into business after college and what I have learned from this seminar will be very helpful for my future career in the business.  My main interest is becoming an economic analyst for the government or private sector and I can use my knowledge from this seminar to analyze more effectively.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Speciality Clothing Retailers Q&A's

1.       “Now, it is all about their name being a brand name and needing to think like branded products.” This quote from the article explains that most of the success from advertisement is making sure the customers know what brand they are looking at. Throughout the article, the author stated multiple times that advertising the brand itself helps advertisement be more effective.
2.       The athletic clothing company, Under Armor, has some of the most memorable advertisements I have seen. Under Armor has a unique and distinct logo that is very easy to notice from a long distance. The commercials and magazine advertisements of Under Armor usually contain a professional athlete working out or playing his/her sport. It makes the brand have a special touch to it. It also makes the customers feel like they are working hard and achieving a goal while wearing Under Armor.

3.       When it comes to buying clothing, it depends on what kind of clothing that determines whether the brand influences on whether I buy it or not. For example, if I am looking for clothing that fits my style, I would not care what brand it is. When it comes to sports gear, the brand has a major influence on what I buy. High quality is important in sports gear and Under Armor tends to have the highest quality out of all brands. If I had to choose between a Under Armor shirt and a different-branded shirt, I would most likely go for the Under Armor because it the brand itself.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Cookie Cutter Housing: Wrong Mix for Subdivisions" Q&A's

1.       The main point of the article, by Rick Harrison, is his argument against cookie-cutter development. He states clearly throughout the article that the blame for bland subdivision designs should be rested on the commissioners, developers and engineers. Harrison goes on to state that there are many miscommunications between the commission, developers, and engineers. The developers should not fear the commission, while the commission needs to state more clearly what they want from the developers. Engineers should focus the quality of the development instead of the government regulations. Another main point he states in the article is a reward-based system should take over the obsolete system that occurs within the operation.
2.       After reading this article, I still believe subdivisions are a great thing. They are a positive addition to the city layout because they allow residents to live in bigger space. If subdivision didn’t exist, people could be living in apartments downtown or elsewhere. There are many positive factors in subdivision, including enhanced social life and family life. There is one negative factor I foresee in subdivision which is creating boring environment.
3.       I have lived in subdivisions my entire life and never felt it being a bland environment the way Harrison describes. I rarely see bland subdivision the author describes. The author writes this article like he is saying this problem occurs everywhere. I believe the author is exaggerating a problem that occurs in very few cities. Besides the exaggerations, I agree with the author’s philosophy especially his take on the fear of confrontation. Criticism and open-minded discussion are required for things to improve.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015 Q&A's

1.       The usage of websites has been crucial for businesses during the digital age. As explained in a previous article, it has been said that if there is one mistake on a web design, it could cost many customers.  In other words, if an electronic retail website won’t cooperate with a customer, he/she can go to another website with ease. In this situation, website design has to be focused entirely on what the viewers want.
2.       I feel the most important points in this article are ones that support customer-friendly designs such as #1, #4, #7, #8,and #9. In point #1, viewers only care about their needs, not the web designer’s needs. In point #4, you have to limit the amount of contents there are on the website and make sure the contents don’t delay the viewers’ time. In points #7 and #8, it is important for viewers to navigate the website with ease or they will not return to it. Point #9, the most important, states clearly that websites must have contents that will influence customers to return to it.
3.       My List of Design Factors for a website
a.       Easy to Navigate?
b.      Fair number of contents?
c.       Does it have a purpose?
d.      Does it contain contents that will influence consumers to return?
e.      Attractive? Appealing?
f.        Does it feel updated?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Future of Retail Shopping Q&A's

1.       Negroponte does not explicitly state his thesis anywhere in his article. This would be the thesis statement I would write for this article: The future of retail is at risk with the rise of the digital age.
2.       Nicholas Negroponte’s article focuses on what consumers will be demanding in the future, similar to Norman’s three aspects of design. Negroponte goes into details about why consumers prefer to shop online, such as getting the guarantee that the product will be available online instead of driving to the store.
3.       Negroponte has the overall picture correct but I was surprised he went into detail about food service instead of services such as retail-store online shopping, news publishing service, and etc.
4.       I do not believe there will be no retail in the future. If everyone started relying on shipping products, the streets would be packed with package trucks and it would cost more money (fuel, for example) then just going to the store yourself. I do believe that online shopping will become very popular. For example, movie-renting services such as Netflix and on Demand have caused companies such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video to declare bankruptcy.  Overall, people like to get out of the house every day, and for many people, that is by going shopping. Going shopping allows you to explore instead of just going online, clicking the mouse a couple times, and sit back down on the couch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Downtown Kalamazoo Observations

1.       The two major business areas of downtown Kalamazoo are Burdick Street and Haymarket District. Burdick Street is customer-friendly environment with a nicely-decorated and well-maintained landscape. Burdick Street is a one-to-two lane street with wide sidewalks, encouraging more customers to walk down the street. Along the sidewalks, there were many benches and tables, which can be good and bad for businesses, according to Robert Gibbs article, “What Main Street can Learn from The Mall.” It was mostly two-story buildings along the street, but it was mostly offices on the second floor due to very few advertisement signs on the second floor. This indicates that most of the business takes place on the first floor. There were a few generators along the street including a theater and many high-tech, modern-looking buildings. The street was made mostly of incubators retail stores. It was mostly clothing and beauty stores along Burdick Street, which can be unappealing to the male population.  The Haymarket district is very different. Haymarket district is a traffic-friendly environment with less sidewalk space. This part of downtown is not customer-friendly since it was dirty and poorly maintained. This district can be unappealing to the general population because there were no benches and tables and the building were older compared to the ones on Burdick Street.  It was mostly restaurants, clothing, and banks, which attracts to the general population. An effective generator in the Haymarket district is the Rave Movie Theater.
2.       The three recommendations I propose to help improve the downtown is to reduce the number of benches and tables on Burdick Street, clean up Haymarket District, and promote business between East Michigan Street and the Rave Movie Theater. I recommend reducing the number of benches and tables is to encourage shoppers to explore Burdick Street. Cleaning up Haymarket District is crucial because it is a great way to attract customers to the businesses in Haymarket District. Last, I strongly advice businesses to open up along Portage Street, where the Rave Movie Theater is, in order to make the movie theater’s ‘generator status’ more effective.
3.       “This is not the kind of question that planners and architects often ask themselves. They tend to see streets and sidewalks strictly as a civic realm, a social environment where people meet and interact, and they tend to favor the sorts of attractive sidewalks and streetscapes that seem to promote sociability.” (What Main Street can Learn from The Mall). Burdick Street strongly supports this statement, because Burdick Street is very appealing (tables, benches, decorations, etc) and discourages customer from exploring.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gibbs vs. Whyte

  1.  Gibbs and Whyte have different approaches on urban design. Gibbs concentrates on how the area itself attracts customers, while Whyte concentrates on how each retail store attracts customers. When analyzing a specific area, Gibbs would go around pointing flaws with the layout of roads, how many ‘generators’ there are, etc. If Whyte was put in the same place, he would go to each retail store and point out the advantages and disadvantages of the retail store. I find Gibbs’s approach more convincing because he goes into details about aspects of urban design such as generators, incubators, public safety, street layout and etc. Whyte’s approach, from reading his chapter “City,” I was left with more questions than answers on Whyte’s opinion on urban design. Throughout the chapter, he just kept pointing out flaws. Every time he pointed out one, I would always wonder what the solution would be to and he would never lay out one.
  2. An urban area with few view-obstructing structures and wide-spread is an urban design that attracts me. When I am shopping outside, I like to see everything clearly (retail stores, vehicles, sky, etc). I also do not like shopping in a crowded area. This allows me to focus more on what stores I am looking at instead of trying to avoid bumping into other people. The fear of crime has a big influence one whether I would go shopping or not. When I go shopping, I would want to enjoy the time instead of keeping my eyes open and watching my back