An app to help relax


The goal of this app is to help people “destress, refocus, and recharge anywhere, anytime as part of their normal lives.” Another goal is that anyone will be able to mediate without a master. These goals are assuming humans constantly have something they need to be de-stressed and relaxed for. It also assumes humans can give full trust to our cell phones to guide us through an ancient and what is meant to be a very deep practice.


Inverted Goal

The inverted goal is to create an app that disrupts you when you are not moving and seem to be in a relaxed state.  The app will track your heart rate and when you are the most relaxed an alarm will sound to bring your heart rate up to a higher pace.




My design assumes that people could be so calm to the point of needing an alarm to bring them to a anxious state of mind. I do not think anyone would really have any interest in this app as it would really only cause people more issues.  People are constantly in a state of anxiety these days so an app that would cause more anxiety would be extremely pointless. I don’t think this design follows any of Senger’s design principles, it’s only making life more complicated for people and most likely ruining the user experience.

Inverting Metaphors


The original goal of Google’s new emojis is to make the emojis compatible across android and apple products. My inverted goal was to then make emojis as incompatible as possible to the point that when you send an emoji from an android to an iPhone the only thing that would appear was a complicated code involving numbers and letters. The only way to figure out what those numbers an letters mean is to buy my amazing The Book of Emojis where you can look up your code and see what emoji was sent.

My design assumes that people are desperate enough to want to buy an Emoji book just to translate what they are receiving over text. Communication is an important part of life and Emojis have become such a huge part of that this book might actually be worth the purchase. I could definitely see a high school or middle school student (generation Z) wanting to purchase this because Emojis have almost always been a part of texting for them. If this design were to be executed it would definitely make communication more complicated and time intensive, which is completely opposite of what emojis and text messages were made for. Technology affects our daily lives, if something were to change even as minor as emoji compatibility it could complicate how we operate from day to day. Sometimes I send texts with just emojis and no words, the android user would either have to buy my book to figure out what I was saying or have to ask me what I said, which takes more time than just being able to see the emoji. I would say this design follows none of Senger’s design principles, it’s complicating something that already exists and is completely ruining the user the experience. Reflective design is completely based around the user, this emoji book goes the complete opposite way and designs for the company to make more money.

Inverting Metaphors

Apple Debuts the new Series 3 Apple Watch, now with Cellular 

The goal of the Apple Watch is to “free you from your phone.” The new Series 3 has LTE built in, so you can make calls, receive messages, and use all of the other functions without having your phone nearby. The watch isn’t meant to replace a phone, but rather allows people to get essential calls and messages without added distractions.

The inverted goal would be to design a watch that ties people to their phone even more.

In my imagined design, the watch and phone would only function if they were within extremely close proximity to each other. The watch could alert the user about incoming messages, calls, and prompt the phone to do things (such as open the camera), but none of these functions would be operational on the watch (ex: you cant respond to a message from the watch.) This would cause the user to rely fully on the phone.


The opposite goal assumes people want to be highly connected to their phones, and are also cautious about security. If the phone and watch only work in close proximity, no one could use the phone without wearing the watch. This could be an extra security feature that is more reliable than a password. The watch could also alert you if you leave the range of your phone, making it much harder to lose or misplace.

Even though most people would be annoyed by this redundant design, I think it might appeal to a select group of security minded people.

The redundancy might also allow people to reflect on when and why they are using their phone, which is an experiance they might not get if the watch and phone were fast and easy to unlock. I think this is similar to Senger’s 3rd Reflective Design Principle – designers should support users in reflecting on their lives.

Photos that Last Forever


The goal of the artist Justin Brice Guariglia’s is to show others and himself something that will last forever by the material he is using for his design. Also to remind the viewers that the issues humans face in terms of the harm that we cause to our world, specifically the environment.


The inverted goal is to create something that will decompose quickly, yet cause a minimal carbon footprint.

Thus I have created this model, which mimics what the artist was going for in replicating that landscape by taking aerial photos and printing them to a surface. Although in this case I have created something that would decompose over time and yet still be environmentally friendly by recycling it.


 The assumptions that this “opposite” goal makes about people is that, people don’t want things that last forever. Assuming we as humans like to move on to new things and new ideas.

when it comes to art people have many different views and tastes. So it isn’t fair of me if I assume that nobody wants something that doesn’t last forever. It may be the case that somebody does. With that I can imagine. The idea of taking something in and then letting it go, knowing that you’ll never see it again. Maybe that really makes it that much more special .

I believe that this lands on Sengers et al’s “Reflective Design Principles” with the idea of critical design. In the article it says that “A critical designer designs objects not to do with the users values or wants, but to introduce both designers and users to new ways of looking at the world around them… .” I believe that this idea reflects my design and Justin Brice Guariglia’s design.

Inverting Metaphors

The article that I chose for this exercise is called “Get Ready For Skyscrapers Made of Wood. (Yes, Wood). A link to the article can be found here.

The original goal was to create architectural marvels that added a new element of beauty to existing skylines that are mostly dominated by steel and glass buildings. These new skyscrapers would be constructed out of timber, which is very light, and also surprisingly strong. Utilizing this new wooden construction is also helpful to the environment. Wood acts like a “lock-box” and helps to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. This article also talks about transparency in relation to architecture, meaning exposed structural elements, and a large use of transparent materials (i.e. glass).

The inverted goal would then be creating a building that is not only displeasing to the eye, but also harmful to the environment, and almost completely opaque to the outside viewer. In order to achieve this goal, my partner and I created a new building out of construction paper. The entire building is modeled after the “brutalist” movement in architecture, which many consider to be clunky and ugly. After that, we added a large amount of smoke that is billowing out from the top of the cone shape. This cone is actually the building’s power supplier, and it runs on coal. Finally, to address the transparency issue, we decided that most of the building will be made out of one-way glass, so that the employees that work in the building can see out, but no one can see in. Meet the new CIA headquarters:

This exercise helped to reveal some hidden biases that we may have in modern design. For example, most new buildings are now just expected to have a minimal impact on the environment. Also, by doing this activity, I found a type of architecture that only a very small handful of people would like. This made me think about what people consider to be “ugly” buildings, and how that could be different to each person.

Inverting Metaphors: Why Self-Driving Cars Need Superhuman Senses

In the article “Why Self-Driving Cars Need Superhuman Senses”, Jack Stewart describes a new technology that could be implemented into autonomous vehicles: infrared cameras. One of the stated goals of current “smart cars” is to reduce the amount of lives lost on the roadways every year caused by human error. However, even the technologies currently implemented in most current AVs have their shortfalls. Cameras and lidar, for instance, can be obscured in darkness or in fog, while radar can be confused by small metal objects. To compensate for this, Stewart notes an Israeli company marketing infrared cameras to AV manufacturers. The goal of these cameras would be to fill in the gaps left by the other sensors and detect heat signatures from people and animals, alerting the car in advance to take appropriate actions. This would allow the car to “see” an additional spectrum, thus improving its safety features.

The inverted goals of the infrared cameras would be to interfere with the other sensors, create more crashes, and cause more deaths. As indicated in the drawing below, the infrared camera would cause communications between the sensors and the car to scramble – as well as those of other AVs on the road -, essentially making the vehicle blind. It might also direct the car to hit, rather than avoid, people and animals. IMG_1615.JPG

This opposite goal assumes people don’t want to readily adapt autonomous vehicles, and would rather drive themselves than place their lives in the hands of machines. It also assumes that people want to cause as much death and destruction as possible, both to others and themselves. It also indicates that other sensors are “too safe”, and would need an additional one to cause them to malfunction.

This activity made me aware of my own personal assumptions, and how I imprint them on the general population. For example, I do not fancy driving, and so I will gladly accept autonomous vehicles when they emerge. However, many people still enjoy it, and never want to stop. Assumptions like these may lead a designer to create something not for the general population or their target audience, but themselves. As a result, an exercise involving opposite goals is helpful, as it indicates the inherent biases we may have but do not notice.

Why Self-driving Cars Need Superhuman Senses

Why Self-driving Cars Need Superhuman Senses Article

The original goal of the article was to “eliminate crashes all together” through automated vehicles perceiving and understanding the world around them. The inverted goal of the cars would be to design a car that aimed to cause car crashes. I had a few imagined technologies.


The first imagined technology was the automated car could only sense one object at a time so the automated car doesn’t change the route to avoid getting into a car accident.


Another technology was the car doesn’t allow steering and other functions so that the only input is coming in from the sensors. When the sensors detect a heat source instead of avoiding it the car moves toward the heat source. This causes people to hit anything giving off a heat source.


The last technology I thought of was aimed a car designed to get the user to their destination by the fastest route, which includes off-road terrain. The automated car could cause more car accidents in this off-roading system compared to a human because of the difference between human and sensor reaction times. Another technology was the car doesn’t allow steering and other functions so that the only input is coming in from the sensors. When the sensors detect a heat source instead of avoiding it the car moves toward the heat source. This causes people to hit anything giving off a heat source.

The assumption that the opposite goal makes about people is that people want to cause chaos and destruction through not preventing car accidents. These experiences could support the creation of a design that prevents the user from accomplishing these dangerous tasks that cause accidents. The exercise made me realize I had the unconscious biases of assuming everyone has the same desire and resources as the user group I imagined. The inverted technologies gave me the idea of designing a product addressing the opposite goal of the design to see flaws or other options a design team doesn’t traditionally consider. The design supports the reflective design principle of identifying unconscious values and assumptions that are built into the way the problem was conceived. By forcing designers to design an object to address the complete opposite goal of the original design it allows reflection on the fundamental ideas included in the original goal.

Inverting Metaphors

My article for this exercise was called “Say Goodbye to the Blob, Google’s new Emoji has Arrived”, link follows: Google Emoji Redesign

The original goal for their redesign was to design an emoji catalog that would convey the same meaning and emotion on other mobile OS’s, such as iOS. Therefore, the inverted goal would be to design an emoji catalog that only appears on Android phones, and not on any other device. For example, the “tears of joy” emoji that we all know and love would simply be displayed as *tears of joy*.

My implementation of this design was a guidebook, sold by Google at an astonishingly high price point, that would picture every emoji and a description of how each emoji should be used. Below are several pictures of my prototype.Emoji3Emoji2Emoji1

This inverted goal assumes that people have absolutely no desire to share their emoji’s with non-android users, establishing an elitist Android Army. Also, since this guidebook is so expensive, money is a bias in play here. This exercise helped me see those unconscious biases present in this design. It also helped me realize that our emoji system in place is fairly robust and put together, and I see little to no place for this incompatibility in my day-to-day life.

Inverting Metaphors

To Prepare for Class on 9/13
Browse Wired magazine online (particularly in the design category) for an article about a new technology or innovation. Read the article and take note of the goal or aims of the project. For instance, in this article about human-AI relations, one of the stated goals is “…they hope to do is create a toolkit of techniques and ideas about how to design AI systems less prone to disappointing or surprising us humans.” In this article about a new smart sensor for the home, the goal is of smart homes is “building an environment that knows more about itself than you do.” Print out the article and highlight goal of the technology described on the first page. Write a short paragraph about the assumptions this goal makes about people and what values it places as central to the design. Bring it to class on 9/13.

In Class on 9/13
We’ll work as a group to invert the metaphors, values, and goals of the project. For instance, inverting the goals of the examples in the first section would result in: “…they hope to do is create a toolkit of techniques and ideas about how to design AI systems more prone to disappointing or surprising us humans.” or “building an environment that knows less about the environment than you do.” Then we’ll sketch ideas for what a technology would look like if it were built with those inverted values in mind and share them with the group.

Blog Post, Due Thursday 9/14
After the exercise, create a blog post under the category “Inverting Metaphors” and do the following:

  1. Link to the article
  2. State the original goal and the inverted goal.
  3. Describe your imagined technology (including pictures preferably).
  4. Write a paragraph about what assumptions this “opposite” goal makes about people and what values it places as central to the design. What experiences could you imagine this technology supporting? Did this exercise make you aware of any unconscious biases in design? Did if give you new ideas for what technology could do in daily life? Which of Sengers et al’s “Reflective Design Principles” does your technology support (if any)?