Mat Janson Blanchet's academic works

Module 1 Assignment: Concept design

Posted on July 28, 2020

Human-Computer Interaction for User Experience Design

Question 1

Consider the concept of an icon, which you may be familiar with from various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

In a paragraph of no more than 300 words, explain the concept of an icon, focusing on the purpose, structure, and behavior of the concept, and how it is integral to the use of a desktop computer.


An icon’s purpose is primarily to act as an accelerator for users, so that they do not have to type commands in a text-only interface. Additionally, since icons are graphical in nature, they can sometimes be used to convey a grouping of some sort: files of the same type look alike, sometimes app icons of the same family—e.g. Microsoft’s Office Suite or Adobe’s Creative Suite—are represented with similar designs, enforcing that grouping. As for their structure, icons are graphical representation—drawing, photo, logo, etc.—of their intent, most often framed in a square. Finally, their behavior is first and foremost an interactive element—selectable, clickable/tappable—so that the user can trigger actions, functions, settings, or open files and applications. What happens upon clicking on an icon is usually known in advance by the user—e.g. opening an app, opening a file—but in some cases, a warning—probably in the form of a modal—is presented to the user ahead of doing the action.

Question 2

Think about Professor Jackson’s fundamental principle: Each concept is motivated by one purpose. The concept of an icon, as discussed in Question 1, is well-known and has stood the test of time. Icons can be seen on various operating systems on desktop computers and mobile devices.

In a paragraph of no more than 300 words, explain what is meant by unfulfilled purpose, and unmotivated, redundant, and overloaded concepts. Then provide an example of a concept you have encountered in your own work or day-to-day life that fails in one or all of these areas.


An unfulfilled purpose is when there is no feature implementation that allows to act on the potential intent of the app or the user. An unmotivated concept is when there is no concept to justify the implementation of a feature. A redundant concept occurs when there are two separate features that fulfill the same purpose. Finally, an overloaded concept happens when a single feature attempts to fulfill two separate purposes at the same time. I would like to present an unmotivated concept which causes friction. My boxing gym requires that we reserve a spot ahead of time. Once logged into the website, I also need to select my user from a drop-down menu when attempting to make a reservation, even though that menu contains only one user; me. This feature is clearly built for when there are many users, but it is superfluous for a single user. In such a case, my user should have been automatically selected instead of asking me to take an additional step.

Learning Outcomes

– LO4: Deconstruct concepts in terms of their parts.

– LO5: Evaluate concepts in terms of the fundamental principle of concept design.

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