February 23, 2012

Token+Constraint.Tangible User Interface

TUI

Tangible User Interfaces give physical form to digital information.

According to Ullmer, there are three broad categories:  interactive surfaces, constructive assemblages, and token and constraints.

Tokens

Tokens are discrete physical objects which represent digital information

Constraints

Constraints are confining regions that are mapped to digital operations (embodied as structures that mechanically channel how tokens can be manipulated)

Ullmer, Brygg, Hiroshi Ishii, and Robert J K Jacob. 2005. “Token+constraint systems for tangible interaction with digital information.” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 12 (1): 81-118. doi:10.1145/1057237.1057242. http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1057237.1057242.

February 15, 2012

Moving Forward and Lesson Learned

Tasks to move forward:

  • Personas
  • User Journey/Scenario
  • Development of Interface
  • Read Gamification
  • Make informed choice about the appropriate (networked) device(s) (think about context of and behaviors surrounding interaction)

 

Update in Response to Meeting:

Description of Tool:

A long term goal management tool which mediates reoccurring meetings between two friends in order to take action, clarify, and fulfill long term goals.

People Involved:

  • Goal Setter & Buddy
  • Greater Community of Goal Setters and Buddy Pairs
  • Goal Setter’s Role Model(s)?

Objectives of the Tool:

  1. Clarify goal (condition or state), subgoals (activities), and values through mediated conversation and activity
  2. Prompt the negotiation of subgoals and informal deadlines to make progress
  3. Provide structure to receive mutual feedback and encouragement from a goal buddy
  4. Establish an active home base for the collection of long term goals with an emphasis on continuous action and progression (versus checking off daily habits or following a list of predetermined steps to reach a clear end point)

Requirements of the Goal Buddies:

  1. Choose a reoccurring time to meet (once every week month or bi-monthly, etc.)
  2. Choose which goals they will help each other with
  3. Be willing to share thoughts and complete progressive actions to develop goals
  4. Use the tool to mediate this process

 

 Lesson Learned from this meeting:

I need must always make a commitment to set aside time not only externalize information, but to synthesize it for self and especially others

 

Feedback from Denise and Scott:

  • Huh? (See lessons learned)
  • Is the interaction only through a single point? Maybe there are multiple touchpoints
  • Consider the scale (mobile/cell) and behaviors around that
  • With scenario consider what someone comes in with, what they leave with, and how that shifts behavior
  • Show us the interesting part: how the tool mediates that conversation between two people and those meetings, What happens?
  • Weird confusing map shown on blog got me interested in the one area: The Conversator, and that now needs to be filled out
  • State the problem, what are the goals of each user

 

Feedback from Amber:

  • Create Role Barriers
  • Consider how to organize greater community to share knowledge about long term goal clarification and fulfillment
  • The Buddy provides encouragement and feedback, and implicitly provides accountability.
  • The Who What When Where How of the tool is fuzzy, right now it’s only addressing the How
  • Check out BizVendor, which navigates you towards relevant task management apps
  • Two levels of engagement:
    1. The greater community, which requires a more systems approach of how people might organize and share buddy  and goal making
    experiences
    2. The individual level which deals with individual engagement and motivation… check out Gamification for this
  • Create Personas (which must be in pairs) and Make scenarios based on those specific needs- not everything bc of time crunch…
  • Use Personas to ground/make concrete.. for example: one person who wants to play guitar, and another that wants to find a job.
February 13, 2012

Lots of pushpins, More Conversation & Accountability

Lots of Pushpins…

This map began as a way for me to understand possible functions or “roles” of the tool I would design and the feedback loops within each part. (*1*) It was a weak attempt to begin thinking about “what it is I am making” and “what it is all about” but it was a start. See the key to explain details. High resolution photo to come.

After making this map I began to realize my objectives for this tool were unclear. What were the big questions it was asking. What was it getting at. How was it helping people. Yes it’s about long term goal management but how was it going to do that.

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Lots of Questions…

From here I created and curated a list of questions which would help someone specify their long term goal. These questions were directly and loosely based off of the methodology from many different sources such as:

After creating a big list of questions, I edited these down to the more salient, grouped them, sketched them, and matched the sketch visualizations with the parts of the tool. (*2*) The questions are loosely clustered around a different part or role of the tool.

The groups of questions are as follows:

  • Goal
  • Values
  • Conditions
  • Support/People
  • Achieving Goal
  • Action Plan

An example of some questions such as the ones related to the group “Achieving Goal” are as follows:

  • Describe the state which will let you know that you have met your goal. 
  • What are some possible obstacles which could prevent you from reaching your goal?
  • How will you be rewarded when you meet this goal? How might you create a reward for yourself?

To see all of the questions view this doc:  List of Unedited Questions My Tool Will Ask

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More Pushpins…

As I mentioned earlier, I tried to do a little cross pollination in my map, by matching first the sketches and then the questions with the parts/roles of the tool. This suggests both that  this part of the tool might literally ask those questions to the goal maker, or they might engage in an action which would result in that question being asked. (*3*) See the that map below.

* key *

* detail  *

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A little exercise…

To move forward I began to think about how I would translate these questions into a more typical format, a time based plan for achieving subgoals. I was thinking about creating an action plan through these steps:

  1. List all of the activities you have done or will need to do to achieve this goal
  2. List all of the conditions that will be necessary or helpful in order to achieve this goal (some conditions include social, physical, material, environmental factors, see map for more details)
  3. Group and name these according to phases
  4. Within each phase create steps and designate which activities & conditions are ongoing (habits/practices) and which are one time needs or actions (tasks)

I asked Kirsten Southwell, a wonderful friend of mine and great thinker/designer to come by the studio to get some feedback. We played a little game, which I tested out first below to have a conversation about goals, activities, and conditions. Then, just as I hoped, the conversation snowballed into something deeper.
* List of goals, activities, conditions *

 

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A conversation about Conversation & Accountability…

So this is what I found out through conversation with Kirsten…

I was focused on making a tool which helped clarify a goal into a more specific set of actions by aiding self inquiry. When we did the little activity featured above, I was wondering if maybe my ticket to clarification was focusing on not only on obvious tasks which are to be completed, but also conditions. (This in fact was one of the factors that and interviewee pointed out, to hear that sound clip see Interview 09)

However, as we talked a few things became obvious…

  1. At what point in the goal making process am I helping someone through (Martha mentioned this in the first full committee meeting, see reference to David Roe) Is someone trying to weigh different goal options, or someone who has a goal idea but a vague understanding of how to live it out, etc.
  2. My focus has been on internal awareness, but what is there to be said about others’ role in helping this process? The role of accountability  and conversation with others as a powerful tool for not only working towards a goal but understanding it (*4*)
  3. My map is way to complicated and the things my tool does must be simplified, this was obvious before I started and a result of my additive/expansive method of thinking (*5*)

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Now I should…

Develop concept grounded in accountability and conversation, with parts/roles and questions facilitated by tool, and oh yeah… make real stuff

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Footnotes on Process & Other Details:

(*1*) You can see all of the “parts” are athromorphized. This was a fun way for me to think about the tool in a brainstorming phase, I have also noticed refferring to a relational connection with something or someone helps me create a story and discover the larger narrative or purpose I am interested.

(*2*) I have been doodling my ideas a lot. I am noticing it is helpful for me to process information through multiple means (digital word processing, handwritten notes, index cards, colored pencil annotations, plain text edit files) The more I allow myself to re-tell the story or recap the information through the different means, the more I edit and internalize the important parts. I am just beginning to create a better flow for drawing simple sketches everyday to reinterpret or make a simple model for myself.

(*3*) I have noticed that I am empowered by making digital information physical, so that I might tangibly edit a larger set of information. It keeps me on task, engaged, and most excitedly- enjoying myself. I have tried to take good pictures in order to document this physical editing process in order to encourage constant flow within my workspace. I also enjoy the effect it has on subconscious absorption and reflection on that information. It also provides obvious breaks in my work because I am able to see how much progress I have made.

(*4*) For example… People might want to find someone’s secret… how did they do it? (ie: could you follow your role model’s goal process through twitter) This was an aspect I hinted at in the questions: with “Who else is working on this goal?”

(*5*) I am friends with an Architect. We occasionally spend time drawing while at a coffee shop or waiting in a lobby. He asks me, try to draw without so many lines. I find this an interesting challenge, because when he looks at a paper he thinks about what he wants to draw before drawing it, and only puts on the page what is necessary. Though my tactic of many lines, and an additive process might not be the best for drawing perhaps it could work better painting? I have never tried. However, I do very much enjoy collaging both digitally and with found materials/scraps. I have recently noticed a connection to that way of thinking and reasoning in my design strategy work. Get it out, and then respond to it- edit it- move it- reframe it- and try to see. I love the things which layering can achieve.

February 8, 2012

What are you making!?

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I am making something that helps people think about long term goals…

An audit of six goal management tools

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I am making something that might have the following parts…

The following is a list of possible interpretive parts which my design could include:

+ the diagnoser/logger/tracker/rememberer
+ the conversator/sharer
+ the reminder/prodder
+ the inquirer/provoker/clarifyier
+ the collector/absorber
+ the presenter/performer

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I am designing for an emotional experience and something which amplifies time instead of compressing it…

Now I am in the phase of my work where people are beginning to ask “So what exactly are you making?.” This week, upon Denise’s suggestion, I decided I would try to begin ideating. I was still confused myself as to what I was making. I came across an article which I found during the “body awareness” phase of my thesis question (aka, the beginning of Thesis prep class last semester). This article  titled Slow Technology – Designing for Reflection emphasizes the design of interactions which amplify time or amplify the presence of something. The author gives an example of a doorbell, which plays a pieces of a continuous melody, each time it is rung. The article brought up a lot of interesting points to me, especially after conducting the audit (shown above). The article talked about how some interactions can create a mindfulness or amplification of presence by commentary on an existing relationship with technology. Other interactions act to amplify time by causing someone to make time for something as opposed to compressing time by making something easier or faster (like the tools I audited above).

I had been thinking about the difference between designing for an emotional experience rather than a designing a utilitarian tool to complete a task. I would like what I design to be focused more on an acknowledgment (sacred/reflective) and inquiry (provocative/diagnostic) rather than progress and efficiency. How might I amplify the experience of time in order to produce mindfulness of long term goals? What role does retrieval play? Tangible interactions?  Anywho, I have a lot of questions but now I’ll show some examples of projects that I really enjoy (below). I am posting them, just to give an idea of where my head is.

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I am making something which will have a depth of meaning revealed through an ongoing series of moments and physical interactions…


Olly & Molly (physical, slow)


IxDA Winner: Spotify Box (physical)

Proverbial Wallets (physical)

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I am making something with a surprise factor or something equally as delightful I hope…


Photo JoJo’s Flikr Time Capsule (slow, reflective)

An article on Design Observer written by Rob Walker talked about this service saying that creative tools like Instagram is on a mission “to prod You The User to produce more, now … and now …  and now” and to incorporate that tool into your “regular broadcasting routine”.  Recently I read a description in a book called Empires of Time, which explained that in our American view time could be best represented by a series of continuous rings which interlocked are spinning uphill. Our societies view of time is a constant series of “now’s” he explained through this ring metaphor. He compared this experience to someone who makes no distinction from past present and future, or experiences time as a cycle. I was struck how these two descriptions- of Western conception of time, and Instagram’s influence, were so similar. The author also points out this “Oh Yeah” factor which the Flikr Time Capsule has on the user. I love the description in the article, and I would like to commemorate it with my own series of simple beautiful surprises involving slow, reflective, or physical artifacts.

    

Other random happenings involving slowness, reflectiveness, desires for future, and surprises
Time Capsules, Pen Pals, Postcard Exchanges, Temple Prayers, Omikuji,  Fortune Cookies 

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I am making something with your help…

When I met with Denise this week, I created a few “first stabs” at what I might design. Though it seems silly, I am not going to include those ideas in this post, but the feedback from all these thoughts and tests. One thing I can say I am interested in is a series of interactive objects/smart objects/tangible interactions, which are the main mode for how someone would manage their goals, along with a compatible online program. So that said, I played with the idea of a smart candle, pennies with RFID tags, and a handwritten fortune that is sent through the mail as my “first stabs”. Here are some of the conversations that came out of those initial ideas:

Ideas which came up in conversation with Denise…

Use metaphor to inform & inspire
+ Apply the principles or qualities of a metaphor to your design, rather than literally interpreting or directly applying the characteristics of that metaphor

A note on creating artifacts of ritual
+ There is an interest in creating a relationship and investment in an object, but be careful not to get off subject, creating a richness or sacredness in an artifact is not completely within the role of the designer

A note on retrieval & access
+ Similar to one of the interviewee’s comments on reading analog clocks, accessing the information (the time of day) was slower than a digital clock
+ How is information, a moment, or a goal revisited?
+ In the examples information is not pushed, you pull it

Intentional Language
+ How to talk about goals
+ How to ask about goals
+ Is “Goals” even accurate?

Ask clarifying questions
+ Good examples in Achiever, use of SMART criteria and with follow up questions
+ Additional Questions: Who has had this same goal (role model), Who has this goal now? Who might work on this goal with you? Who has tried to have this goal, but have not “achieved it”? Who might help or support you?

Core/Nucleus of Interface
+ Many sites were focused on profile and accumulation, I would like mine to be focused first on the goals including the clarification of the goals, the execution of individual actions related to the goals etc.
+ In other words the interaction should emphasize action as opposed to sharing thoughts about action

Ideas which came up in conversation with ID Student Mike Falk…
Lifetime/Use
+ What is the lifetime of the object, will people use this over a series of years/their whole life/ etc.
+ I was reminded how an object is physical interface, telling us how to interact with it and use it
+ Is this an object which will be used everyday, that you carry around on your person? like a keychain?
+ What is the purpose, to comfort? to disturb? to make you work harder?
+ Different object, a series of objects, or a single object with different modes or forms could allow for different sets or types of goals, Goals would could be matched with object not according to content but according to time span of commitment and conscious effort

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I am making something that I have wanted to make for a while, I hope…

A long winded but possibly interesting narrative of my interests in embodied interaction and participatory toolkits…

My interest in embodied interaction was fostered as a result book suggestion from Holly Willis during the New Context New Practices conference. She recommended I read Paul Dourish’s Where the Action Is: Foundations for Embodied Interaction. I cannot remember now, what I said which made her suggest this book. However, I checked that book out my first fall semester and had been hanging onto it until about two weeks ago returned it. The book gave me a basis to understand tangible computing, social computing, and even just the difference between analog and digital computing. I was drawn into the idea of human-computer interactions which seemed to rest on nuanced physical and social interactions, which seemed so natural after completing an undergrad in Theatre studying acting, directing, voice, movement, character analysis, and the like. My interest in embodied interaction and human-computer interaction then grew through the guidance of Amber Howard in our second year’s fall semester seminar: New Information Environments. Amber helped me understand a chapter in Anne Munster’s Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information AestheticsIt is here when I learned that designing a tangible interaction was not better than a printed artifact, or a digital on-screen interface, it was just different. And by the end of the class I was able to confidently say in front of my peers that when designing, one should consider the broad continuum of interface design, which doesn’t just include a screen or a phone, but could include an object, set of objects, or an environment. Either way we are designing an interface. An interface, like a human face, acts as an intermediary which communicates and translates information about the external environment and possibly the internal experience. (See a better articulated version of that here.) I learned that how we go about choosing the medium of that interface must be appropriate to the given context of use. This was a semi-wake up call for me, only because the projects I saw (such as the ones below) seemed so much more appealing than others.

When I started my thesis work I was very broadly interested in human-computer interaction and body awareness (or some kind of phenomenological/multi-modal experience). While I tried to incorporate those things in my thesis work it was difficult to say what my purpose was.  In a way it felt like I slowly eroded those ideas to focus on the principle behind what I was after- the idea of awareness and personal significance, making the most out of your day, and balancing enjoyment with hard work then became more off my focus.

For a while I felt I made a short tangent into what I would consider the another revelatory subject in my grad school experience, designing participatory toolkits. In the spirit of Liz Sanders, I used interviewing people about my thesis subject (the behaviors of time management in relation to the use of timekeepers) as an opportunity to design some interactive games to talk with people. The interviewing process was interesting because it was messy, invigorating, and not that straight-forward. But after reflecting on the experience some major themes seemed to rise in importance. Most notably, the idea of “long term goals” as a easy reference point for talking about the “significance of our time commitments”. When I think about a long term goal, it does not deal with efficient time management tables and deadlines, as much as developing things which relate to someone’s individual values or desires. Talking about long term goals feels like the larger framing narrative which can point me both to the experience of time as well as the significance of commitments over time.

February 3, 2012

Feedback & New Plan of Action

Revised Plan of Action:

02-03-2012
Updated Thesis Milestones. Alexandria Jarvis

Writing

  • Create Outline for Final Proposal, Identify holes
  • Weekly Editing of Proposal Materials, Plan Session times
  • Literature Review?
  • Weekly plan to create 500 word responses along with seminal texts?

Audience

Steps to complete:

Create bullet point profile and write 3-5 paragraph description of audience

Notes:

+ Receptivity Gradient: Have an opinion and ready to act

+ Address the socio-economic background

+ college education, transition period, recent graduate, upcoming graduate, within first 3 years in the workforce, unattached

+ Homogeneous group?

Audit

Steps to complete:

+ Develop criteria by which precedent will be assessed

+ Audit of existing long term goal sites & task manager tools

+ Write 2 paragraph conclusion statement outlining areas for improvement

Ideation

Steps to complete:

+ Choose from taxonomy list of possible media (form/platforms)

+ Make list of possible objectives, purposes, & experiences

+ Create 3 or more combinations of artifacts with different purposes, perspectives, and approaches

+ Present through storyboards/wireframes/ etc.

Features/Functions

Steps to complete:

+ Create list of key function/features. Use what you what you learned from 1. the audit 2. interviews and audience study to consider the context of use

+ Combine ideas from last phase and this phase to produce 3 different products, demonstrate through digital wireframes and/or physical prototypes

Final: Scenarios

(The role of the scenarios has become more of a storytelling or presentation device as well as something to work through the details of both the design and use of what I am making.)

Steps to complete:

+ Create episodes displaying the use of each product through hand drawn storyboards

+ Combine best parts of each scenarios into one

+ Produce a 5-7 minute clip of combined scenario

+ Publish online and ask for feedback, refine & adjust

+ Create introduction, pitch, or other things to frame narrative

+ Produce and publish online

Feedback from First Full Committee Meeting:

2012-02-01
Feedback from Martha & Scott

Audience

  • Could incorporate David Roe’s “ready to know, ready to act etc” continuum to describe audience
  • The group you design for seems homogenous you must define and state those limitations or deal with those factors such as…
  1. is your audience “unattached” people who have to coordinate their lives with others (family, children) is much more complicated
  2. It seems you are addressing a certain socio-economic group, ie: college education, middle-class/upper middle-class etc.

Long Term Goals

  • Are we talking 1 year or 5 year goals?
  • You must remember that you cannot judge people’s long term goals
  • How will you deal with them when your system collects them?
    Will it be an open structure or will there be categories or buckets that would prompt them to reflect or record their goals

Designing the Functions of what is being designed

  • The age group you are talking about will already have behaviors learned from other interface experiences, you should use those instead of reinventing them
  • See the book: Designing Social Interfaces for a guide for designing UX
  • Your “three sets of functions” could be based around 3 personas (See Amina’s work for inspiration)

 

Major Holes- What tangible thing are you designing and when are you designing it?

  • Scenarios only address context and behaviors surrounding the use of the thing, not the actual design of the thing. Add that step, and take out others. Will it come in the form of wireframing etc?
  • What are you actually designing? What is the tangible thing?
  • Phases in Plan of action must have stop and start and relate to each other

Inform Committee

  • Talk with Denise and keep everyone informed with feedback notes
  • Establish next reoccurring meetings through e-mail

 

2012-02-03
Feedback from Denise

  • Consider the feedback loop of the artifact and the relationships it creates
  • Sounds like it is more than an online interface design, will it be ambient? physical artifact? Etc.
  • Get your ideas out of your head. Document your ideas through sketches or some form so we can talk about them next week
  • A humanizing experience, an emotional/symbolic experience vs. productive online program
  • Look at Keetra Dean Dixons grad work (it assumes more of a commentary role) but it relevant to emotional and humanizing experiences
February 1, 2012

Full Committee Meeting & Interview Clips

Progress Update…

Below is my progress as of Feburary 1, 2012. This includes a blossoming researchable question, interview results, new ideas, and a plan of action (to be revised). 

Three Clips of Interviewees talking about long term goal management…

A big thanks to everyone who participated in my “picking brains & playing games” sessions. I had lots of fun and through those interviews was able to take a new exciting direction, based on tidbits from our conversations. New moments from different interviews keep coming up in my mind, as I am beginning to ideate. Below are a few clips from influential moments during the interview process.

 

Interview 06: Creating time specific and non-time specific personal benchmarks to reach long term goal

Interview 08: The influence of a “vision board” on long term goals

Interview 09: Understanding your personal conditions for achieving long or short term goals

January 23, 2012

My sense of time is…

January 17, 2012

Picking Brains & Playing Games

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Thanks for your interest in participating! 

Unfortunately, I have already received 12 responses,
and my schedule can not accomodate any more meetings.

However, I would still like to stay in touch with you! 
Shoot me an email at < aijarvis@ncsu.edu > if you would like
to participate in future brain picking sessions (TBA in March).

Thanks again!

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

WHO

I want to meet and talk to you.


WHAT

A 30 minute time block in which we play little games like mad-libs, drawing exercises (simple don’t worry), and making up fake rules to define the universe. Just little participatory exercises and informal conversation to help me understand a little bit about how you think about and use timekeepers.


WHEN

Next week… January 23rd to January 31st

At any time which is convenient for you.


WHERE

I will come to you!


WHY

Because… you want an interesting break in your day // you have an interest in random things // you like talking to friendly people like me //  you wanna help a sister out // you care about grad students // you think research is interesting // you think thinking about time is worth some time // you like design or design students // you hate your alarm clock


HOW

Email me at aijarvis@ncsu.edu

January 15, 2012

Workbook.Taxonomy.Schedule.Feedback

Workbook

To understand habits and behaviors involving timekeepers, planning, and work-nonwork management I created the following workbook (shown below). See Below for photos of the completed workbooks. Since then I have met with Denise to revise the questionnaire in order to create a series of interpretive, open-ended, engaging activities.

Below are a few of the highlights from participants’ workbooks:

The Experience of Time:

  • Choosing alternate rhythms to frame progress. Creating breaks through specific events in the day, or something as simple as working until the last song on a CD is played
    Note: Connection to phase synchronization, an alternate :  “compositions based on the extended repetition of brief elegant fragments that weave in and out of an aural tapestry, devoid of traditional western musical events” 

Awareness of Timekeeper:

  • Sound of clock sometimes draws attention to it
    Note: Why do clocks tick, what are those experiences like when we become aware of the ticking, why do we become aware in that moment and not others?

Sharing Calendars:

  • Mother gives calendar with birthdays/anniversaries of friends and family to her children, This year the sister now returns the favor to the mother
  • She shares her long term goals with others in order to retain/remember them

Physical behaviors & time progression:

  • Desk cal only serves aesthetic purposes on desk, but she gets satisfaction from ripping off each day
    Note: Ripping off the day as a daily exercise: What if daily act could cue into nothing part of brain/create a mundane meditative task to create a break in the day?. Providing daily office gossip. Daily office clues for ongoing scavenger hunt.

Taxonomy

In Progress. See beginning exercises below:

  

Schedule

Week 1: Jan 10-17

  • Begin Taxonomy of Timekeepers and Qualities of Timekeepers
  • Initial Interviews: Create Workbook/ Begin interviews

Week 2: Jan 17- 24

  • Complete Taxonomy of Timekeepers and Qualities of Timekeepers
  • Adjust Workbook
  • Complete 10 interviews with Workbook
  • End of week: Document Study (Taxonomy/Interview): Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 3: Jan 24-31

  • Identify Audience: Background Research, Interview & Observe
  • End of Week: Document Study: (Audience Observation/Research) Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 4: Jan 31- Feb 7

  • Create & Disperse Timekeeping Exercise to Audience
  • Begin creating small Provocations/Probes

Week 5: Feb 7- Feb 14

  • Continue Timekeeping Exercise
  • Continue Provocations/Probes
  • End of Week: Document Study: (Exercise & Provocations/Probes) Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 6: Feb 21 – Feb 28

  • Prepare for Orals
  • Present

Feedback

TBA

January 5, 2012

2012 . Road Trip & Refocus

Happy New Year!

This week I have been working in Dallas, Texas. I have been spending time with my road trip partner and best friend Matt Weiss. We travelled from Raleigh, NC – Atlanta, GA – Gulf of Mexico (in Mississippi) – New Orleans, LA – Chappell Hill, TX – Austin,TX – and Dallas,TX.

I am reflecting and refocusing to prepare for the next and final semester. The trip has been a nice time to relax, but also to spend time talking about participatory design and other similar subjects- as we are both connected with the College of Design (Master of Architecture & Graphic Design). He has relocated here for a Americore Program called Building Community Workshop, an architecture and city planning organization with a focus on sustainable community development.

Having an ongoing conversation about the role of design and it’s influence on community is an exciting extension from my academic life at NCSU. It is a reflection of my 5-10 year plan to establish and interdisciplinary practice with Weiss and other practicing designers & non-designers. (I think I have already met a sociologist and seasoned project manager.)

As I have been moving closer and closer to my return to NC, Weiss and I have begun sharing stories about work. Reflecting on these conversations as well as my mid-reviews, I am left with a few main points to provide guidance for next steps:

+ Introducing qualitative aspects to the everyday calendar: The universal digital calendar has a quantitative organization of time which helps keep track of time commitments according to allocation of time. How might I develop an addition to this calendar that is driven by a qualitative organization of values in order to influence time commitments?

+ Define a specific audience/circumstance: The feedback in mid-term reviews was to choose a specific audience that this tool would be designed for. Right now I had defined my audience as a person who experiences work-nonwork conflict. Another suggestion I had from professor Amber Howard was to focus my design on an emotional circumstance, such as gratification or  playfulness.

+ Existing Models: I would like to find models which have been developed to help the negotiation of values and time commitments. Could a model which helps us think about broader goals and values influence the way we perceive and plan our daily activities?