Free Writing

Designing the entire system

The design process must not be weighed down by  1) the product or industrial design aspect of the TUI or 2) the psychology of which questions the TUI might pose to the goal buddy to encourage self inquiry.

Therefore, It is important to consider the entire system of relationships in order to stay focused on the strategic interconnectedness of this system. These relationships are displayed in the system map, which I created after meeting with Denise. This map includes the relationship between two buddies which is mediated the TUI & GUI, and also including the influence of the greater goal buddy community.

My role as a designer of this system

My tool will not only mediate accountability between the goal buddies, but will also encourage self-inquiry during task completion period in between each goal buddy meeting.

The tool provides prompts which cause the participant to consider how they might improve their task. This might come in the form of  creating definitive deadlines for themselves, identifying a more specific task within their current task in order to challenge themselves, or identifying the most appropriate or productive conditions in which they should complete their task. (Remember the list of  questions I developed a few weeks ago.)

The result of these prompts is self inquiry. It should act as slow self-inquiry (almost perhaps in disguise) which unfolds little by little aiding the process over a long period of time.  The tool does not provide answers but mediates this self inquiry, records the persons response, and uses this as a conversation starter within the next goal buddy meeting. The artifact can also communicate between the two buddies and incite or encourage action, a challenge, or self-inquiry.

It would be easy to focus on the psychological aspect of this tool- such as what type of questions might the tool ask. However, my role here is not that of a social psychologist but a designer. For this reason I will only develop a few questions which the tool might ask to a goal setter in order to demonstrate it’s ability to incite self-inquiry. The focus will remain not on the questions as much as the designed form and how design allows the questions to be asked. Design can shift the perception, experience, and relationship to the questions. It could elicit a response from the goal setter that is abstract and interpretive or direct, immediate. Both which might prompt a new level of self-awareness, but in very different ways.

The role of the TUI

The TUI is an artifact, which connects a participant to their desire to achieve their long-term goals as well as their desire to socialize with their goal buddy. The desirability for this tool must outweigh the possible inconvenience.  It will not be a subset of another tool, such as an app within a smart phone, or a widget on a desktop, and therefore will require deliberate attention. While Graphic User Interfaces will be an extension of my tool, they will not be the central touch point. Below are some initial iterations of possible TUI interactions.

The actions, manipulations, or associated information of the TUI could be an open source structure where goal buddies might assign their own meaning or types of challenges. This is an exciting possibility which was discovered through a conversation with Martha, as I spoke about my love of participatory design. The idea that the two buddies could develop their own code of challenges/language/or actions based on a suggested structure is exciting!

The role of the GUI

The GUI will serve the function of “the rememberer” by acting as the repository of recorded tasks, inquiry responses, and progress. The widget or app will have complimentary functions to the TUI: It could enable macro and micro views of information and hold large archives of info, creating an opportunity for a searching function.
From the Bright Green post-it’s of that messy map I described what I thought might be the Qualities of The Rememberer. Read and see below: “The remember does not brag, show everything it has, or act like an annoying brother that throws annoying details in your face. The rememberer is a nurturer, though sometimes she knows some hurtful things about you” 

Game or Tool?

I am creating a tool, with gamified structure for interaction. See below for levels of mastery.


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