Friday, June 1, 2012
Top-down and Bottom-up Processing in Designing
An example of top-down processing used in product design is the way the dashboard in our car is arranged. The speedometer is always in the center, and the fuel gauge is almost always to the right of it. Simple things are taken into account like having the speedometer needle go left to right since that is the direction we use to read in everyday life. If a speedometer needle went from right to left that would make us use our bottom-up processing and could be potentially dangerous on the road. Bottom-up processing is encouraged when a system needs to alert the user to an emergency situation like the flashing seat belt sign, or that fuel is running low. These signs are unfamiliar to us and immediately force us us to investigate its meaning. These are the little nuances that designers take into account that we aren't necessarily aware of.