Friday, October 31, 2008

New Prototype- Better Time selection needed

Today we tested the magnetic board with magnetic letters. The board worked which is great. We were all dubious about the magnetic paint working out. Unfortunately the only time that we could test it was Friday morning from 10- 12. This time was not a great time to do user testing. As our observations told us, very few people were in the park, and those who did come through really did not linger. That said, we did have a few positive reactions- which leads me to believe that if we tried this on the weekend we would have a good response.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Detail of the Map of our new Area


List and describe 2-3 things that you experienced in your 2nd interations that were as you expected/ predicted and 2-3 things that you found unexpected.

  • colors! I anticipated that people would be drawn to colored letters. Integrating red foam core really helped move the project in a more "user friendly" direction.
  • web cam Unfortunately I was not optimistic about the webcam being of high enough resolution to produce an interaction on either side. The letters were fuzzy at best- and while people were intrigued- I think that this effort is not worth pursuing at this stage.
  • other side The other side of the park sounded like a dream to me- a place where people were enthusiastic, friendly and eager to participate in public space projects and it turns out some dreams do come true.
  • t-shirt I knew that Zach's t-shirt idea would be successful. It does not take much to move people to interact with a smiley guy sitting next to a sign and soliciting people to take his shirts. I 'm really not excited by this project as it now stands. I find it to be obvious. There needs to be a challenge in this interaction. Maybe that would be getting people to wear the shirts- playing with the aesthetics or posing a question on the shirts for people to respond to.
  • children I did not anticipate the great response that we had from children. They instantly took the project and took the letters and ran to them and put them in their mouths etc. I think that this is partially because of the letters variety in shape, size and color. It left lot to their imaginations.
  • the line At the Shake Shack, I was truly surprised that people would not deviate from their current tasks (waiting, eating, starting out into the void) so as to interact with the letters. I think that they would need to be big, colorful and produce some noise to attract these folks.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Shifting to the "other side" has proven to be much more successful for my group. The area is still populated by the same kinds of constituents, however there is a much greater "community" vibe in this region. The families seem to linger by the empty fountain, people meet up and stay and community events are held here, particularly on weekends. It is a great public space in action and people really are much more approachable as compared to the Shake Shack region. (Shake Shack was all business- people wouldn't stay very long). I feel good about the change and I am now more open to game-like interactions because I see that people are actually wanting to have a reason to communicate with one another.


Upon entering the park, (Madison Square Park), with renewed energy for the project, I immediately tried out the large black letters on the floor through the gaze on the shake shack webcam. The results were not sufficient for real communication. Additionally, I felt that while people were interested in the letters, that we were sort of in their way by being in the only spot that had easy access to the garbage cans or... people didn't want to move from their spot on the line. Regardless we tested the letters on the ground for 45 minutes. We were not even in the slightest bit successful. One man circumambulated around the letters at one point, and a boy came running up to the letters in excitement but then did nothing. The results, the lack of desire for people to move from their line, plus the increasingly cold and windy weather on that side of the park prompted the group to relocate to the side of the park with the fountain (and the sun!)

Alternate Interaction- T-shirts

The T-shirt project was successful in that it created triangulation and people were very much into the concept for the project. That said, I feel that it is a bit of a no- brainer. You sit there with a smile and post a sign that says "FREE SHIRTS" at an already political locale, you surely will get a response. I think that the project needs to be pushed further. I am not sure if it a. can be, b. should be and c. needs to be.

More Prototypes- More Testing- More Fun

Today was an overall success.
We first tried the webcam again, and decided that it wasn't working, so we moved over to the line and placed some new prototypes on the ground. People were reluctant and only used their feet. With the introduction of some of the more graphic letters cut out of red foam core, people seemed to want to approach the letters, but still held back and at most touched them with their feet.

When we moved over to the other side of the park, we tried 4 locations:

1. On the side of the fountain near benches and some protesters.
2. Near a sculpture.
3. In the empty fountain.
4. On the walkway exiting the park. (in this location we actually put the letters up on a clothesline).

Locations 1 and 3 were very successful, particularly amongst younger children. The sculpture (number 2) was too ambiguous of an area. It was not a walkway, it was not a rest spot.
The clothesline (number 4) also was an ambiguous area, and I think that the set up did not lend itself to interaction.

Follow up:

The letters: we cute out the whole alphabet in mostly black letters and tried some alternate RED prototypes. I think that since a large constituency is children, we should play to that and choose bright colors to attract them even more. They need more than one letter to spell out messages. This, in retrospect, should have been an obvious thing, but well it wasn't. For the next iteration I think that we should try more letters, more colors, some numbers and glyphs. Additionally, because people moved the letters a lot with their feet, I think that creating a magnet board as a base- to localize the interaction would help.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Interaction Relabeling

In " Interaction Relabeling" how is the 'aesthetics of interaction' defined or explained? List one example from text. List one example from life or observations.

aesthetics of interaction is explained as the taking of appearance, interaction and potential roles into consideration in your design. The reading explored 2 modes of the aesthetics of interaction- relabelling and extreme characters. One example the reading used was doing a case study of a 'drugsdealer'as a potential user of a pda. First they looked at the profile of the drugsdealer - someone with many clients, someone who is careful about where they chose to meet people etc. and in turn prototyped a pda that took his characteristics into consideration by making an elaborate system involving rings that would even warn a drugsdealer of danger. The point here was to consider an extreme personality - a drug dealer and to investifate how a product can conform to his lifestyle in terms of usability. Does it make sense for him and function? As well as aesthetics- it can't be excessively flashy in his line of work.

I believe that a princess wand toothbrush is an example of relabeling. A 5 year old little girl may not be extremely interested in hygiene- but she is interested in Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White (princesses). By rebranding the toothbrush into a princess wand you take into account your users personality. Here she desires something that adds to her daily role-play of princess- a wand0 the act of toothbrushing is not merely a duty but now a routine. (I also enjoy the contribution that this wand will lend towards the ritual of beautification that princesses have struggled with and women despised!) The product appeals to the little girl, it therefore become practical and useful and played into the fantasy world that little girls can often live within.

Prototype testing

On Wednesday we went to the park (Zach, Brendan and I) and brought along some new and improved versions of prototypes for letters to use with the webcam. We went at 7:30pm and stayed for a few hours. We knew that this was going to be difficult because we had to locate the webcam which took a good half hour or so to do. That involved dancing around the park while one of us looked on the shake shack website and directed us. I will say that prior to the hunt, I was approached by several shake shack patrons asking me if I was selling something. Anyway, we finally located the camera, and to my disappointment the letters could not be seen if they were placed on the ground. The only way that the letters were visible were if they were held up high above our heads. Additionally, the glow in dark prototypes: spray paint, glowsticks, wire with glowsticks were all unsuccessful despite our enlarging of the letters themselves.(I had tripled the size of the prototypes and made them with stark foam core). The only text that worked in terms of being visible was the black letters that were cut out of foam core. They were approximately 2 feet tall. Another major obstacle that we faced was the weather. It was intensely windy and the letters and board of foam core that I brought along as a test continuously blew away- almost to the point of destroying the prototypes. I think that if we continue with this project that we have a few things to consider:

1. creating a wall- if we create a wall to place the letters onto- it will need to be MASSIVE and heavy so that it does not blow away.

2. materials- everything that we create from now on needs to be much sturdier- no paper materials. The park is essentially a wind trap because it slopes down just enough to capture the wind -pretty much within the vicinity of the shake shack. I would investigate the magnet idea as a possibility and need to figure out wall materials.

Other thoughts: I am not sure that we should continue with this concept. I think that the wall might cause some trouble in terms of the park police, the lines and crowds around the park are getting smaller because of the cold weather and in general people were a lot less approachable because of the frigid weather conditions. I am feeling discouraged with the project. Need to continue brainstorming.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prototypes- Wall

Lite Brites!
Magnetic Paint
LED lights
Feelings of nostalgia
Playing with light
Playing in the dark
Playing with eachother

Prototypes- Wall

The idea is to come up with "ice breakers"

Prototypes- Web cam Letters

This is a "Look and Feel" Prototype:

I want to get a good sense that the letters will be seen by a variety of people so I experimented with size, color and texture.