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Designing for Delight: The Role of Wonder, Discovery, Invention and Ingenuity

Designing for Delight: The Role of Wonder, Discovery, Invention and Ingenuity

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Published by Wondernaut
By pursing delight as a design goal in the creation of exhibits about science and nature, we can solve the 'edutainment' dilemma that plagues producers of informal educational media both in and outside the museum. A hybridized notion of education and entertainment is a misguided design goal, and by rather designing for delight we encourage learning and the creation of memorable experiences. This thesis examines how delight figures into rhetorical demonstrations of nature and the design of exhibits. To build an understanding of the aesthetics of delight in the museum experience, three key concepts are explored: Nature as a subject matter, rhetoric as a method and delight as a design goal. A rhetorical framework by which to identify delight in exhibits is proposed. Part One builds the case for stating that delight is the fulfillment of the human desire to know; and that in nature it takes the aesthetic forms of wonder, discovery, invention and ingenuity. These delights of knowledge also feature in explanation and can be identified by the master tropes of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony. Part Two identifies how the master tropes, as essential figures of thought, offer a compass by which to locate ideas of nature and the means by which they are communicated in the rich, multimodal media of interactive exhibits. By designing for delight, we can return to the enlightenment roots of the museum as a place of wonder and memorable experience.
By pursing delight as a design goal in the creation of exhibits about science and nature, we can solve the 'edutainment' dilemma that plagues producers of informal educational media both in and outside the museum. A hybridized notion of education and entertainment is a misguided design goal, and by rather designing for delight we encourage learning and the creation of memorable experiences. This thesis examines how delight figures into rhetorical demonstrations of nature and the design of exhibits. To build an understanding of the aesthetics of delight in the museum experience, three key concepts are explored: Nature as a subject matter, rhetoric as a method and delight as a design goal. A rhetorical framework by which to identify delight in exhibits is proposed. Part One builds the case for stating that delight is the fulfillment of the human desire to know; and that in nature it takes the aesthetic forms of wonder, discovery, invention and ingenuity. These delights of knowledge also feature in explanation and can be identified by the master tropes of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony. Part Two identifies how the master tropes, as essential figures of thought, offer a compass by which to locate ideas of nature and the means by which they are communicated in the rich, multimodal media of interactive exhibits. By designing for delight, we can return to the enlightenment roots of the museum as a place of wonder and memorable experience.

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Published by: Wondernaut on Oct 07, 2009
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10/25/2012

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Designing for Delight
The Role of Wonder, Discovery, Invention & Ingenuity in Exhibit Design
by Marti Louw
Thesis Submitted in Candidacyfor the Degree of Master of Design in Interaction DesignSchool of DesignCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
©
2003
School of DesignCarnegie Mellon University
14
May
2003
 
Contents
 AcknowledgmentsList of Figures Abstract 
Part 1 Background 1Part 2 Introduction 3
The Delights of Knowledge 3The Delights of Explanation 10 
Part 3 Discussion & Analysis 19
Metonymic Exhibits & The Delights of Ingenuity 20 Metaphoric Exhibits & The Delights of Invention 23Synecdochic Exhibits & The Delights of Discovery 26 Ironic Exhibits & The Delights of Wonder 30 
Part 4Conclusion 35
 
Acknowledgements
In thanks to my advisor Richard Buchanan who pointed the way,To Andreea Ritivoi who helped me believe in my ideas, And to Illah Nourbakhsh for all his patience and support.

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