DDSN 360: Critical Analysis 8

Critical Analysis 8

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

George Herbert

User Interface Design – Fall 2019

Critical Analysis 8

Discuss how each of the 5 Design Decision Styles were used or referenced in the IDEO Shopping Cart Project story? Which of the 5 styles played the most important role in the design process in the video, and why?

Read this short article by UX guru Jared Spool:

5 Design Decision Styles

Then watch this 8-minute video:

IDEO Shopping Cart Project video

The team at IDEO made use of almost each of the 5 Design Decision Styles, save for the first – the Unintended Design Style. (1) Unintended: They definitely took into consideration the users perspectives, did research, and worked with other designers. The second Design Decision Style – (2) Self – they made use of as contributors to the brainstorming. Each obviously had a history working with a shopping cart, and shared that with their fellow designers and in the brainstorming process. The third Design Decision Style – (3) Genius – is probably the bulk of this teams process. Each designer took deeply into consideration the other team members feedback and experience. The next style – (4) Activity Focused – was another large part of the teams process. They asked all kinds of questions and proposed various scenarios about what the users would do with the cart. Which naturally flowed into the fifth and final Design Decision Style – (5) User Focused. This style encompasses all of the styles mentioned prior, but also includes user research. This is the “whole hog” style of design. And one that the IDEO Shopping Cart team definitely chose to follow.

Jared M. Spool concludes from his research, that each of these design styles are important. They represent a different tool in a designers toolbox and each one can best fit various projects:

“Since the teams are working with different styles all the time, does it matter? Our research says it does. The teams that produced the best experiences knew these styles well and how to quickly switch between them. They knew when they needed to go whole hog and pull out all the stops for a User-Focused style project, while also knowing when it was important to bang out a quick design, knowing the results would essentially be unintended. Those teams had a rich toolbox of techniques and a solid understanding on how and when to use them.” – Jared M. Spool, 5 Design Decision Styles

The primary Design Decision Style that the IDEO Shopping Cart Project team followed was the fifth and most involved – User Focused. They brainstormed and shared their own user history and perspectives. They went out and gathered real-world user research data. They asked questions about what activities users would perform with the cart. And they remained open to all the ideas their fellow designers offered.

It’s impressive that even though they followed the more involved and rigorous Design Decision Style, they still got their work done and felt very pleased with the result, despite the limited timeline they had.

Final Project: Site Role Models

Old Soul Co.

Old Soul Co. is a local cafe here in Sacramento. They have several locations, they offer food, fabulous atmospheres, and they roast their own coffee. Their site is gorgeous, functional and easy to use. They make use of consistent style, and visually pleasing elements.

Their ordering page is a little clunky, since it is a third party website and looks completely different than Old Soul’s site. But they still offer the ability to order food and coffee and beans online.

I also don’t think they need to use the large heading for every page of the site, such as on the Contact Us page.

Temple Coffee Roasters Inc.

Though Temple’s site may be a little more minimalist, or even slightly sterile in design compared to Old Soul Co., I think it give’s the user a sense of elegance and modernity.

The seamless integration of the shopping cart into the site is perfect. Even when purchasing merchandise and beans, you never leave the site. And no matter where you find yourself in the site, you can easily get back to your shopping cart because of the quiet and ever present small header found on every page that has a quick text ad of ” FREE SHIPPING OVER $25. EVERYDAY. “, then “Cart”, “Account” and a small magnifying glass signaling a search bar.


Visit Sacramento

Visit Sacramento is the portal for the Visitor’s Bureau of California’s Capital City and Region. They are the convention, culture and leisure arm of the City of Sacramento.

The site is very clear and easy to use and provides very useful information. The header remains the same on all pages, giving the user very clear navigation. The site also makes great use of images and links and calls to action on every page. Never is any page over cluttered or unclear on it’s purpose.

Visit Sacramento has done a great job of being an actual source of what to do, and what is cool, hip and happening in this town. They also have very active and interesting social media, all of which is linked to through this site. They have done a great job of creating a ‘brand’ for the Sacramento region that is cool and cutting edge.

Final Project: Competitors

Red Rock

Red Rock has been around as long as Dana Street Roasting Company has, if not longer. I can remember hanging out there and doing homework there in high school, but Dana Street always was mine and my friends’ preferred cafe.

Red Rock is actually on the same block as Dana Street, just on the opposite corner.

They have a lot more going for them as far as catering, events and offerings, space rental, community engagement, and a much better, updated website.

I appreciate the style, typography and coloring of the site. Also I like how visual and full of images it is. There are just a couple navigation things I would change. For example, I think it’s confusing to have both a “Community” menu item and “Culture” menu item. I would think those things would be somewhat similar, or their sub menu items would be under the same main menu. Like “Calendar” could be under either of those menus if you ask me. They have it under “Culture”.


Obviously Starbucks will be a competitor, even though it is not a “local” cafe, or small business by any means, each location still offers several of the same products, features and atmosphere as any local cafe. They just lack an authenticity and uniqueness that local small cafes like Dana Street Roasting Company can offer.

Their website and app is unparalleled. They can give their customers a smooth and easy experience with mobile ordering, and offer a great rewards program. They have tons of merchandise, all available to order online, and each location has a very welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. They also all offer free wifi.

The Starbucks that is closest to Dana Street, happily is about 3 1/2 blocks away, and is not necessarily considered in the “heart” of downtown Mountain View. Dana Street is very centrally located.

1 oz Coffee

This cafe is newer and states that it is an “espresso bar” started by coffee addicts. It has a higher rating on Google than Dana Street. It is not located too close to Dana Street, but it’s actually pretty close to the Starbucks on Castro.

Their website seems to be half baked, however. There is a footer message at the bottom which is clearly still the template fill in wordage. Also the design isn’t very pleasing to see on a desktop. It’s a little better in the mobile version. But I don’t really like how the basic “bio” or boiler plate for the cafe follows you and heads every other page you go to in the site. However, it still has a little more to offer than Dana Street’s current website.

DDSN 360: Week 8 Lab Exercise

(Financially) Helping the Healers

At a conference table full of brochures, a white man and a white woman listen intently to a speaker across the table from them.
At a conference table full of brochures, a white man and a white woman listen intently to a speaker across the table from them.

Young health workers are falling deeper and deeper into debt, primarily because of the burden of their student loans, and it’s affecting their performance at work. Financial programs are available for the health industry’s essential personnel, but very few seem to be aware of these programs. Read more at Student Loan Planner…

Studying Abroad Broadens Minds

A young white male student smiles at the camera in the campus quad.
A young white male student smiles at the camera in the campus quad.

Participating in Study Abroad programs inspire students to ask more of their goals and dreams. When students experience the adventure of travel, are exposed to other cultures, and make new friends in strange places, their hearts and minds open to the possibility of something more. Read more at International Student…

The DIY of Fishing

A middle aged white man talks with four other adults under a pop up tent and behind a table at a community event.
A middle aged white man talks with four other adults under a pop up tent and behind a table at a community event.

The DIY movement has inspired your Dad. More and more fishermen can be found at local farmers markets and flea markets selling their hand made fishing gear. You could argue that Fly Fishing has always lived in a DIY world, but the spirit of online selling and teaching has reached those once thought of as computer-allergic: the outdoor fisherman. Read more at Boat U.S….

Final Project: User Scenarios



Annie, the High School English Teacher

USER STORY: Annie, the High School English Teacher, would like to schedule her time to grade papers in a place she enjoys, but is not her house. With her two kids, Lexee 7 and John 10, she has learned that she cannot effectively get work done at home. Dana Street Roasting Company provides an excellent environment for her to focus on her work, while not feeling shut in and isolated somewhere. If she can refer to the website’s event calendar quickly, she will know if she can do her work there or not due to a live concert or other such event.

USER SCENARIO: Annie’s schedule is pretty set, being a High School English teacher. However, her personal life schedule is what can change on a weekly basis. She needs to accommodate her paper grading time around things like, soccer games for both her kids, family outings and get togethers, when the kids are sick, when her husband has a work event he must attend, etc. When she can schedule time to go to Dana Street and work, is generally Fridays through Sundays, which can be the café’s busiest nights. If there is a live event, she cannot effectively study, so knowing ahead of time if there will be an event will be helpful. Currently she just shows up at the café, and if there is a concert, she has to either return home and work, not effectively, or find another place to work. Ultimately Dana Street is her first choice for a working environment because of how well she knows the staff and the café’s customers, and her own personal history of going there.


  1. It’s Monday night and Annie just found out that her husband will need to head out of town this weekend for a last minute work trip.
  2. This means that she won’t really be able to grade any papers at home so she decides that Friday night will be her only chance to get her work done.
  3. Annie goes to her phone to check the Dana Street Roasting Company website to see if there is an event happening this Friday.
  4. On the home page is an announcement of “New Hours”.
  5. She reads the “new” hours listed and is confused that they don’t state being open past 6pm on Fridays, when she was just there last week until at least 9 pm.
  6. She can’t find a way to the “Shows” page, so she hits “Menu” to see what happens
  7. That “Menu” button is actually the menu for the mobile site, which is confusing.
  8. Then she sees the “Shows” page link and clicks that
  9. That opens up the one show listed for something in December of 2017 – almost 2 years ago.
  10. She is confused and decides that the website is not updated and will have to risk showing up Friday night to grade her papers and see if the café is open, and if there is a live event happening.
  11. She decides to create a back up plan if the café is closed, or there is a live event happening.


Dave, the CEO of an Investment Firm

USER STORY: Dave is a CEO of a modest investment firm that helps start up companies secure financing. He has lived in the South Bay for nearly 30 years, and he loves it. He really believes in helping start up companies that he believes can make the world a better place. He has watched Silicon Valley grow to be a global household term in the time that he has been doing business there and is proud to think that he has some responsibility for helping it become what it is now. Dave naturally is a strong supporter of small businesses, and Dana Street is one of those businesses he supports. He loves their coffee and their sandwiches. He would like to be able to order catering for his many business lunches that he has throughout the week.

USER SCENARIO: Dave’s weekly meetings with clients can change and be scheduled in a moment’s notice. He likes to keep very busy, and rather than take his clients out to lunch, he’d rather bring them in to his office to have more productive meetings while providing lunch for them. Dave really likes to share Dana Street’s catering with his clients because it is a local café that has been around for 20 years. He likes to give his clients a true local experience, while supporting one of his favorite small businesses. He often has his assistant go to the café to order for his lunches for each day because they do not have an online catering ordering system set up. Sometimes he has to go to the café himself to order and pick up the lunch, when there is some kind of last minute schedule change. Dave doesn’t mind, again he likes to keep busy and he likes to support local businesses, but a simple online ordering system would allow Dave to spend less time on catering, and more time on his business.


  1. Dave scheduled a meeting with a client for lunch the next day.
  2. Dave offered to provide lunch for the meeting.
  3. Dave went online to Dana Street Roasting Company to look at the menu and decide what to order.
  4. Dave notices that the website is out of date because the hours at the bottom of the page are not accurate, and the menu items are different from what he has been ordering.
  5. He takes note of what he would like to order for tomorrow’s lunch.
  6. He wishes he could just put this order in online at that moment that he is thinking about it.
  7. He wonders how much more money Dana Street could be making if they offered online food orders and delivery.
  8. He wonders how nice that would be for his business lunches.
  9. Dave stops day dreaming and types an email with his desired order for tomorrow’s lunch to send to his assistant to go into the café and order and pick up the lunch.


Ryan, the Software Engineer

USER STORY: Ryan grew up in Mountain View and he has always been good with computers. Mostly self taught, Ryan is a very skilled Software Engineer and Web Developer who has worked for various companies in Silicon Valley. He is happy at his current job, which lets him travel to places his company provides software and to give presentations on his company’s work. Ryan is very proud of where he grew up, and he likes to share some local authenticity with his clients by bringing them coffee beans from his favorite local café, a place he grew up hanging out, Dana Street Roasting Company.

USER SCENARIO: Ryan is on a business trip on the East Coast. His boss has just informed him that he will need to make an additional trip to Texas before he heads home to meet with another client. Ryan likes to bring Dana Street Roasting Company coffee as a business gift when he meets with clients. Since he was not planning on making this trip to Texas, he does not have coffee to share. He figures he could order coffee online from Dana Street and have it shipped to his client. He could also order enough for himself when he gets home, and for when he goes out on his next business trip.


  1. Ryan has just gotten news on the phone from his boss that he will need to make a trip to visit a client in Austin, Texas once he is finished visiting clients on the East Coast.
  2. Ryan would like to order coffee to be shipped to his client in Austin, to arrive by the time he gets there in a few days.
  3. Ryan searches on his laptop for the Dana Street Roasting Company website.
  4. He finds that the home page mention of new hours doesn’t match what the times that he is usually there – at live events on the weekends, much later than the hours stated on the home page.
  5. Ryan shakes his head a little, and wants to offer Nick, the owner of Dana Street Roasting Company, a free website upgrade.
  6. Ryan clicks the Menu page.
  7. Ryan sees that there are two subsections to the menu page: a drinks page and a beans page.
  8. He clicks the coffee beans page.
  9. He’s not too sure if these are updated prices and coffees, but he chooses which ones he would like to order.
  10. He realizes that he cannot order them online.
  11. He picks up his phone to call the number, and calls.
  12. He gets Aaron on the phone, an old friend and the main coffee roaster at Dana Street.
  13. Ryan tells Aaron he would like to order coffee beans to be shipped to his client’s address in Austin, Texas.
  14. Aaron says they don’t normally ship coffee, but for Ryan they can do that.
  15. Ryan mentions that he wants to redesign the website for them for free.
  16. Aaron says, “Yeah we know, we should update that thing. I’ll tell Nick. Thanks Ryan!”
%d bloggers like this: