On May 4, 2009 my thesis research, Spatial Mapping and Navigation: physical and online environments, was presented to faculty, classmates, and guests. The final outcomes of the design investigations can be viewed on my portfolio website. For a complete PDF of the published document please contact me for the link.

This blog will remain as a permanent documentation of my graduate school experience, an experience that reshaped my thinking, modified my methods, and connected me to some of the most wonderful people that I am grateful to have met at this time in my life.

"We use the experience of the past,
in the present, to solve the future."
-Robert Downs, Maps in Minds


THESIS : Research Diagrams

The following diagram outlines general ideas in my thesis research. The second outlines the framework for each interactive investigation.

THESIS : Research Panel

My thesis research was presented in a panel display here at NC State College of Design.


THESIS : Midpoint Review

Thesis oral presentations were this week (midpoint review). The expectation was to be 80% complete with thesis progress in regards to the research and making, the writing process precedes the review...if we pass. I passed! The following three posts show what was presented: the presentation format and three interactive studies.

I am incorporating a few studies from cognitive psychology and information sciences. My presentation, writing the final thesis document, and revisiting the investigations are the next steps in preparation for final review on May 4th. The map posted below outlines the presentation. The presentation design follows an overarching concept that is incorporated in all the investigations; "where I have been", "where I am", and "where I am going".

Spatial Intelligence, Cognitive Mapping, Personality Dimensions, Navigation, Mental Processing Structures, and Activity Theory are the areas of research I have used to inform my process. The investigations are interactive online experiences, exploring tasks that take place in an online environment informing one's decision in a physical environment. The content of investigation is walkable communities.

As mentioned before, I have worked with an overarching theme of "where I have been", "where I am at", and "where I am going", inspired by spatial intelligence and cognitive mapping. Each study involves a goal, motivation, behavior, specific information needed, and a mental processing structure for organizing information. The behavior and motivations are informed by a study done on personality dimensions and information searching behaviors. Each scenario portrays a specific user that would benefit from a walkable community. Together the interactive investigations align to form a perspective that moves from macro to micro.

Presentation Map

THESIS : Investigation One

GOAL: safety
single mother wants to move to a walkable community that has a safe walking route for their child to school and other activities

MOTIVATION: seek acknowledged information from other parents to confirm previous knowledge / extrinsic

BEHAVIOR: nervous and anxious about crime in area, lack of time, difficulties with relevance judgement, insecurity in database

INFORMATION NEEDED: needs to connect to other parents to get first hand knowledge of: people/safety/school programming/location

PROCESSING STRUCTURE: categorical structure

THESIS : Investigation Two

GOAL: comfort & health
senior citizen wants to find a community that has various walking routes close to accommodations

MOTIVATION: seeks new information which leads to personal comprehension

BEHAVIOR: curious and inventive about new options and a range of options, open for discovery

INFORMATION NEEDED: needs to connect to diagram with statistical data of information, seek options: paths/places/time/health

PROCESSING STRUCTURE: matrix structure

THESIS : Investigation Three

GOAL: lifestyle benefit of walkable community
young family of four wants to move to a diverse walkable community and eliminate the need for two vehicles, prefers yard and other children in the area

MOTIVATION: seeks broad and structured information / intrinsic

BEHAVIOR: efficient and organized, values plans and lots of information, willing to devote time and effort

INFORMATION NEEDED: needs to connect to a narrative tour for information on: people/places/land area/history/location