Friday, November 21, 2008

Quarter is comin to a close...

1. The Sodexo cafeteria fails to adequately fulfill the student body’s need for food and a “third place” because of its short operating hours, limited food choices, and lack of friendly service.
2. The constraints and trigger points involved with modifying the cafeteria’s food and hours options are:
a. constraints
i. The plan must be cost-effective, due to the size of the school, limited hours are necessary. Also, most food must be bought in bulk, and this will obviously limit your food choices because lots of options causes less of each type of food to be eaten, which will cause some foods to possibly go bad.
ii. The location of the cafeteria is permanent, this is a constraint however movement is not a part of my proposal.
iii. Lack of interest in the cafeteria job.
b. Trigger Points
i. Later hours
ii. Friendlier staff
iii. Variety
3. Experience Architect; Products, services, and branding strategies; Third Place article; Emotional Design; The Design of Everyday Things
4. Interviewer: “You’ve said that the third place is important to the learning process. How so?
Oldenburg: “The third place affords opportunities to test ideas and opinions in a setting free from the formality and hierarchy of the classroom. I grew up in the school of hard lecture and so that was my mode when I taught, but I had a spacious office with a lot of chairs for students to come sit and talk about things in a group. There’s a hierarchy in the traditional classroom that is not present in the third place. The lack of structure and scheduled meeting times is a great leveler. All can be equally heard…”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

1. I observed the one of the cafeterias and connected convenience stores located at Grand Valley State University. I made the observations at approximately 1 in the afternoon on Saturday.
a. The area looked much more like a restaurant in the seating area than a cafeteria; however, the cafeteria where the food was distributed was reminiscent of a business or hospital cafeteria, much more modern than your typical college cafeteria.
b. Seating was readily available, as it was a cafeteria, and there were tables and chairs, and booths.
c. I witnessed approximately 30 or so people eating. There were also about 15 people in the connected convenience store.
d. The floor of the cafeteria where you picked up your food was tiled as was the convenience store, but the dining room was carpeted.
e. Medium volume of student chatter was the only apparent noise.
f. Outside was made of brick, but the inside was normal dry wall, painted and the roof was wood.
3. The food area itself gave a very modern and “in & out” look to it but the dining room was very restaurant like and homey. I believe that the school attempts to portray a very modern and new look, and they achieve this as most of the buildings look identical and brand new. Also the cafeteria is very easy, serve yourself, and you swipe your card after you’ve gotten your food.
4. Everyone was talking and eating or just simply sipping on a coffee purchased at the store. Many looked content to sit there for long periods of time, and my friend even said that the pictures in the brochures could have been taken at this time. Everyone was happy, interacting, and enjoying their respective meals.

5. I found it interesting that there were so many options for food, and that it was much like a restaurant. It was much more inviting than a normal cafeteria, and it truly grew on me as I sat and watched all the students enjoying themselves. Seemed to me in my one observation that it could be a third place.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Branding... cows?

1. The chapter mentions terms such as products, packaging, labeling, and brand building. All of these have intimate design aspects, and are influenced by design in their own respective way. Products must be designed before they can be marketed so the relationship present here is obvious. A package also must be designed, not only so that it is attractive, but also that it is functional. This brings in two types of design, visceral and behavioral, along with the idea of marketing. Labeling is along the same lines as the previous two, the label must be designed in a way that it is marketable, and as for brand building, the design of the product is essential in this form of marketing. Without a good design, brand icons like Target and Apple would never exist. These brand icons are a complete necessity in brand building and this therefore makes design a necessity also.

2. When considering branding and marketing one notices that a good brand, that people will want to return to, is the result of good marketing. The same holds true when considering experiences and products. A good product, that people will want to buy again, is often the result of a good experience with it the first time. Brands and products are very similar, and they are both influenced by good marketing, and good experience. In fact, you could switch them and say that good marketing will cause people to buy a product, and a good experience will cause the brand to succeed. Although marketing is slightly less effective with returning customers, it still gets the initial sale. The experience is what keeps people coming back for more.

3. K’s brand is emphasized by its marketing. This school markets itself as a diverse, worldly, and academically prestigious school. They do this with tough acceptance rates, a diverse student body, and a study abroad program that has many participants. K reinforces their brand through alumni. This school produces successful and happy people, is a message that all colleges send, and they all reinforce it through alumni. A wealthy alum that is quite content and is proud of his degree from K will reinforce the idea that the school does just what it says.

Its all in the experience

1. The author clearly emphasizes the importance of an experience. At time it seems that he believes the experience itself is more influential in customer satisfaction than the product itself. The main points that he makes include focusing on little things that he calls “trigger points.” Figure out what it is that customers want the most and give them that, and they will often overlook other things. Also, the packaging or presentation of your product can be an experience, Cold Stone Creamery for example. He recommends making shopping experiences a journey, and emphasizes authenticity. Lastly, he speaks of “merit badging” which basically involves making a product or experience stand out with a pin or something symbolic that a customer can achieve. This may influence them to continue to come to your store, hotel, etc.
2. The design of an experience must be appealing, and enjoyable; however I believe that the design of a product can be just functional and still accomplish its goal where as an experience must be more than just functional. An experience must appeal to one in a more visceral way. In one sense I am saying that both products and experiences must be provided, and marketed effectively, but a product does not necessarily have to be viscerally appealing to be successful unlike an experience which must be both functional and viscerally appealing.
3. I thought that a trip to an outdoor rink for a skating trip would be fun and free. The money could go towards hot chocolate or coffee, and transportation.
1. A third place is an area where people can congregate, but it is separate from their home and office. It is an area where informal socialization is present, and where one can leave the worries of life behind. It is typically a coffee shop, or a bar where people can congregate and discuss anything they want. It is just one more place that somebody goes to regularly. It is another area that somebody feels comfortable in aside from the house and office.
2. A third place has to be somewhere that is comfortable for a person. Some important design aspects include plenty of seating that is comfortable. Also, some type of product or service that will attract people in the first place must be present. The place should be homey and welcoming, not necessarily new and extremely “hip.” In other words the place must function well behaviorally, and be attractive viscerally for it to become a prosperous third place.
3. The game room at Kalamazoo has the potential to be a third place, as well as the Jazzerman’s café. The worst decision the college made in the design of hicks was separating the two. A café and all those games along with the fireplace and combined seating would make for a very engaging area. The ability to get a smoothie, turn on the jukebox and enjoy a game of pool would be a great place. Add this to a fireplace, flat-screen television, and plenty of seating and you have a great area where students can sit, socialize, and enjoy themselves.

Friday, November 7, 2008

1. The author discusses what makes a successful space. Through research he determines that supply creates demand by changing the normal paths of people’s lives. Also he determines that a good space attracts groups, couples, and especially women. He makes the argument that it is difficult to create a bad space; however, a bad one is created more often than not. Large spaces, and sitting areas are also essential, people sit where there is room to sit was a major breakthrough in his research.

2. The design of an urban space can be very similar to that of a consumer product. The space must be eye –catching and attractive and at the same time easy to use and functional. However, a store must have good location and easy accessibility, all of these unnecessary for a consumer product.

3. I would analyze a public space based on the following:
a. Location
b. Outward appearance
c. People per square foot of open floor space
d. Seating availability, stationary and moveable
e. “make shift” seating areas; ledges, grass, etc.
f. Ease of access

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Downtown in the Zoo

1. The downtown business area of Kalamazoo was surprisingly comfortable. The stores, crowd, and, in general, the atmosphere all made one feel very at ease when walking around on the streets. In terms of design, the different stores seemed to vary from a shop to a restaurant to a shop, and continued in this pattern for some time on Burdick Street. I also noticed that numerous stores were unknown to me, and were not large retail chains. Most were small, unique businesses including the restaurants. As for the design of the streets, the massive sidewalks made shopping very convenient. The brick pavement in some areas made for a very nice touch, although Mr. Underhill would disagree.

2. Three things I would recommend to improve the downtown would be to clean the sidewalks, modernize benches and picnic tables, and make the police station, or at least officers, more visible. First, the sidewalks were filthy. Obviously the city of Kalamazoo does not own a power washer and if they do, then they do not use it on these sidewalks. They were filthy with gum and debris. Secondly, the picnic tables were wood as well as some benches, these are harder to clean, and also harder to maintain. A wise investment would be either a form of plastic, or the rubber coated metal you find at many parks. Both of these would make cleaning much easier, and would look less weather beaten. Lastly, the police station is hidden from sight in the back corner of the outdoor mall. It is not seen from the main areas of the mall, and I did not see a single officer during my visit. I feel that it is necessary to make one of the two visible to aid in comforting shoppers.

3. “Fear of crime is one of the things that keep them away, and grimy sidewalks are one of many signs that hint at disorder, in Gibbs's view.” Mr. Gibbs makes a point that one must feel like they are in a safe, orderly environment when shopping. This is very true, and two of the things he points out, relate to the things I mention in the above paragraph. First, fear of crime, relates to the absence of the officers when I visited the outdoor mall. Secondly, dirty sidewalks give a sense of disorder, but also of minimal upkeep, and give one a taste of a less affluent area. This can also turn away shoppers.