CrossLab — Sensory Shopping

Investigating the power of senses, shopping and new media

Archive for the ‘tech tip’ Category

LED lighting simplified

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on June 10, 2008

For those of you who will be using LED lights to enhance your maquettes, here’s a super simple instructable on how to make a simple LED “throwie”…courteousy of the Graffiti Research Lab.


Posted in tech tip | Leave a Comment »

Next Steps: blog postings

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on May 6, 2008

Though we are now moving forward making maquettes of the concept stores (in groups), I am expecting that you will continue posting research, ideas and inspiration onto your blog in the coming weeks. I expect to see research into soap, soap stores, experiences with soap, etc. But also new media components that you think might be useful in your design assignment. I’ve already put a few of these up in earlier posts.

To start, make sure that the colleagues in your group are listed in your blogroll. This can be done quite easily via your dashboard –>Manage –> Links (add new).

This way, you can all keep in touch with each other by sharing your findings and ideas. That is, after all, what this format is good at.

Posted in tech tip | Leave a Comment »

Presentations due today, Friday April 18

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on April 18, 2008

Today I am expecting your presentations to be posted onto your blog. A couple of things to keep in mind while you are doing this:

  • powerpoint or pdf? Either format is fine. Keep in mind that if you have used effects in your powerpoint, such as sound or moving text, these will not be seen in a pdf. It might be easier to just post your powerpoint instead.
  • powerpoint version? Some of you have worked on your powerpoints at home on another computer. Keep in mind that your powerpoint must be saved as version 2004…if you are working on a Windoze machine, with Office 2008 (the extension will be .pptx), you have to SAVE AS…and under format, choose PowerPoint 2004…or else I cannot read it.
  • technical problems? If nothing works, and you cannot post to save your life, you can contact me at G.A.Verhoeven(at) for technical advice, I will be online all day Saturday reviewing the work. If an emergency, you can email the presentation to me directly…EMERGENCY ONLY.

Good luck.

Posted in assignment, tech tip | Leave a Comment »

What it all means…

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on April 1, 2008

Some of you are being challenged to understand what this class really means.

I hope to put here an explanation to perhaps make it more clear, but also why investigating our senses in relation to new technology is important.

First, have a look here.  This is a link to Philips ExperienceLab, which is just down the road at the Eindhoven HighTech Campus.  This is what we are also trying to do, on a very small scale.

If you read what is going on there, you’ll see how the world is changing.  Visual Merchandising is no longer just about a mannequin and some nice clothes in a window front.  New technologies allow you to change all of that.  As future visual merchandisers, you are going to require a new set of tools in order to work in the changing world.  Part of those tools will be to understand the new technology that is available to you.  Another part is to understand how the senses play an important part in our daily lives, by creating rich experience.  But mostly, as designers, you need to know how to put these two things together.  That’s what this course is really about.  Putting together your investigations of your sensory experience, and how you can translate that as a visual merchandiser to new techology situations.

It is not a small topic.  It is not something that I can personally teach you, right or wrong.  And it is not easy.

The blog is the first step to this investigation.  It is a sketchbook for you to use in a digital environment.  How do you collect your experiences in the real world?  Photos?  Sketches?  Sounds?   Where does your inspiration come from as a designer?  Books?  Videos?  The past or future?  How do you collect all these experiences and make sense of them?

Through CrossLab we are doing things differently.  The blog is your sketchbook, and the internet is part of your experience.  There is a lot of information out there, and every day more is added.  What are other designers doing?  How do other people create experiences using new technology?  What are the opportunites, and what are the problems?

I’m not asking you to be great writers.  I’m not asking you to be excellent draftsmen.  I’m not asking you to be programmers.   I’m asking you to think about how you create experiences by looking at your own experiences, but how they are defined in terms of senses.  Some of you have written about DJs using smell to create an atmosphere.  You’ve explained how it is done, using very low tech equipment.  But what is the effect?  How does this change the experience of being in a club?  What is that experience?

The assignments I’ve given are a challenge for you to really DO these experiences, and reflect on them.  What does the wind on the Willemsbrug feel like when you can’t see anything?  How do you know you are eating mashed potatoes, instead of mashed bananas?  Some of you said that “I already know the answer.”  I know you have an experience already (who hasn’t eaten mashed potatoes?).  But these silly experiments force you to really think about it.

Writing and documenting those experiences will give you a database of information that you can use in your coming assignments, and not only this one.

What is the smell of Tiki, if that is your other assignment?  What is the feeling of Tiki clothing against your skin?  What are the other sensory experiences of Tiki that you can think of, and then with your experience, use in your assignment?  Would a Tiki display work in Toronto in January, when its -30 celsius with a metre of snow outside?  What are the senses you are trying to capture to communicate your message?

The blog is the place to put all these things.  I am not judging your writing style.  But I am judging your presentation style later on, and how well you’ve decided to do y our research.

I hope this gives a bit better idea of what we are trying to achieve.  We’ll talk more about it in class this week.  And if you have technical problems, you can email me 24 hours a day, instead of waiting to see me in class.  That is the power of new technology.


Posted in tech tip | Leave a Comment »

important, important, important

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on February 19, 2008


Be aware that the information you are posting on this blog is part of your research! Posting, linking or use of information in this blog is being monitored by arno and your faculty.

NO inappropriate materials!

And link to your sources… aware of copyright laws and blog ethics.

Posted in assignment, inclass comments, tech tip | Leave a Comment »

Why a blog? – explanation

Posted by arno -- CrossLab on February 19, 2008

Today is the first day of real work in the Sensory Shopping class at WdKA. Yesterday, I started this page, the main blog, for a number of reasons:

  1. to facilitate the course materials, objectives and assignments online
  2. to demonstrate how to do some basic design research and analysis in a public forum, which each student is also expected to do
  3. to assist in understanding the potential of new media within this assignment by using (what is now) a pretty standard form of communication within the Web.
  4. to be a central repository for the entire set of blogs the students are about to create themselves.

Why do I blog this?

There are some places where I have to admit I’m not the expert. And again, that’s why this format is interesting: I can link, post, and otherwise reference other experts in a quick, timely and broad fashion. For example, if the blog format is the new notebook, I have to be honest and say that I’m pretty weak in my HTML coding. But no worries! The HTML Encyclopedia has all the explanations and examples of how to use coding to your maximum advantage.

Now, on to tackle CSS…

Posted in assignment, tech tip | Leave a Comment »