Learnings and reflections from CMU’s Communication Design Studio in Fall 2020

Week 1

For this project, I’ll be investigating climate data to explore and visualize sources of greenhouse gas emissions and how might each contributor help to reach net zero carbon emission.

Analyzing existing visualization

We started the project by analyzing existing visualization on the website Information Is Beautiful. Questions to consider include:

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  • What data is introduced?
    The visualization presents the information in three panels. The left panel that occupies half of the space shows different sources of CO₂ emission. Each source is in a card with the source name, the percentage and number of carbon dioxide equivalent (a unit for measuring the impact of multiple greenhouse gases) of CO₂ that the source contributes. The sources are grouped into 5 categories: energy, buildings, land, industry and transport. The middle panel lists approaches for each category that can help helve CO₂ emission by 2030 and how much CO₂ each of the approaches can reduce. …


Moving Towards Embodying Bodily Movements In A Remote Setting

Original Idea–Remote rehearsal collaboration between a director and two actors

Based on our interviews and research on remote theater performance, we worked on refining our ideas in areas including the problem context, target users, and what technologies are involved. We first listed all the potential options and then discussed the pros and cons of each.

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Our discussion led to several consensuses:

  • Technology: We will focus on a tangible interface and perhaps with the inclusion of AR and a wearable device. We will not be working with VR since it’s mainly emphasizing the visual experience.
  • Target Users: We will design for the remote collaboration between staff (i.e. directors, choreographers) and performers.
  • Problem Context: The solution will be used in rehearsals where the staff and performers are in different locations. …

Learnings and reflections from CMU’s Communication Design Studio in Fall 2020

In Project 2, we are tasked with explaining an abstract concept in a short video. And the topic I received is — Internet Cookies!

Week 1 — Thu 10/1

Internet Cookies — What are they?

Understanding internet cookies first requires an understanding of the client-server model of the internet. This model is the standard method of communication between a browser on a computer and the web server. The web server is a centralized location where data is stored. It distributes data to each individual client, or browser, after receiving the request from the client.

An internet cookie is the means by which web servers recognize the client. It is in the form of a small text file and added to the client’s browser or machine by the server when the client posts a request to the server for the first time. When the client tries to access the website again, it will send the request along with the cookie to the server so it knows the client’s information such as identity, viewing history and preferences. …


Learnings and reflections from CMU’s Communication Design Studio in Fall 2020

Week 1 — Tue 9/1 Course Overview

Kicking off the semester in the time of quarantine is both challenging and interesting. Especially for a class on communication design, the pandemic limits our ability to communicate the way we are used to but in the meantime challenges us to reflect on what is communication and how we can improve it for people living in this new reality. I am looking forward to taking on the challenges and exciting opportunities in this studio.

Activity 1: Exploring the appearance and mechanism of different toys

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We started the first class by virtually exploring the toys our professor Stacie had laid out on her table. Someone would point out a toy that he/she found interesting and Stacie would take it to the front to let us guess how it works and when was it made. In the end, each of us pick our favorite toy. Several things I noticed from this little…


Written by Team Resilience: 
Hillary Carey, Alex Klein, Nandini Nair, Yuchuan Shan
Racial Inequity in Pittsburgh, Transition Design Seminar 2020, CMU
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Introduction — Applying a Causal Layered Analysis

For Assignment #3 of the Transition Design (TD) Seminar, we use Sohail Inayatullah’s framework, Causal Layered Analysis, as a new frame to understand our wicked problem of racial inequity in Pittsburgh, PA. The TD instructors encourage this method because it is a way “to ‘deconstruct’ the problem” in “the way in which the problem is viewed/accepted in mainstream society as well as the deeper, less understood (or even hidden) roots of the problem (TransitionDesignSeminarCMU.net, 2020).” …

Yu Chuan Shan

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