Domenico Mazza

Melbourne, Australia

FAQ

What is this site?

It's a website of my frequently asked questions. Touch the questions, like the one right above, to toggle them on and off.

What do you do for a living?

I am a visual designer working on my PhD in computer science. I’m investigating how the digital interfaces we interact with leverage and affect our memory of interactions with them. The aim of the research is to explain how we should design visuals to optimally leverage and affect these memories for smoother interaction.

Where at?

At Monash University's Caulfield School of Information Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

With who?

I’m supervised by Assoc Prof. Tim Dwyer, Prof. Jon McCormack and Dr. Vince Dziekan. They act as mentors for my PhD. I am also part of the Immersive Analytics and sensiLab research groups.

Why?

You will have to be more specific—do you mean:

Why I am a visual designer?

Not sure why specifically.. but it's a manifestation of my desire to always be creative since a young age (which I thank my grandfather, mother and father for!). I am only limited by skill and am always on the lookout for more skills.

Why I am an IT PhD student?

During my Honours year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with these guys on a visualisation project. I got a tour of the projects being worked on, all involving lots of data, and I was blown away by the challenges these researchers faced. These challenges frequently involved working on new visual languages that are then tested and written about. This experience made whatever prior concerns I had about day-to-day practice based design very small by comparison. After spending time working on one of their projects I really wanted to work on more. My now main PhD supervisor, generously offered me to come on board as a research student.

What have you learned from the PhD so far?
  • Programming logic.
  • JavaScript, setting up a web server from scratch, using a CLI, typesetting in LaTeX.
  • Setting up a study, collecting data, analysing data, writing about it.
  • Generally, if something were easy, everyone would be doing it. Often however, hard things just take focus and time.
  • A PhD is an apprenticeship in becoming a qualified researcher. Research is a distinct practice in its own right, to take an idea in a field and discover something new about it by collecting what's known and filling in a known gap in knowledge or a gap you discover.
  • Research involves being a scholar, practioner and communicator. A jack of all trades and master of all.
  • The difference between a high and low level concept or discussion.
  • People use different language for the same fundamental concept. The languages used are conducive to a particular way of solving problems but are fundamentally biased. If you work across disciplines you can pick and choose the best parts of each side, but have a tough time talking about it.
  • The language surrounding human-computer interaction and visualisation.
  • Using available time to the fullest.
  • Starting a project from nothing.
Where is your design and research work?
Archive

I list my work in a Tumblr archive at http://archive.do.meni.co which goes way back to my undergraduate years.

Publications

Watch out for my extended abstract Reducing Cognitive Load and Supporting Memory in Visual Design for HCI at CHI 2017 DOI

What else have you been involved in?

For a brief time I was a freelance web designer and developer. Along the way I've interned for small design studios and one organisation as a graphic and visual designer.

Where at?

Work Art Life, Monash University and Arup.

What kinds of things did you design?

While I've been tasked many times to create nice looking things and functional web code, I've always been drawn to designing visual systems, the more technical and overlooked parts of a visual design. So maps, wayfinding systems and arranging things just right to ensure the communication of a design artifact is on point.

What did you learn?

Most sorrows in design come from running out of time to execute a great idea (or convince someone it's a great idea), the error here is getting caught up on a single idea. The key is to look at everything that has been made as objectively as possible and to put aside, destroy and create ideas as frequently and necessary as possible.

Where else can I stalk find you on the web?

Take your pick:

How can I get in touch?

Email me at hi-d@meni.co

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