Flock Design Report
Blythe de Gruchy Daniel Apt
Research 4–11 Brief Linking Words London Other apps Drift Interview Design Museum
Experimentation 12–25 Concepts Flock Visuals User Experience Final Design
Analysis 26–29 Summary Evaluation
Despite "shear determination" to document the process in this report, one can find more at either: http://metropolights.tumblr.com/tagged/dgcicodesign13 http://iamapt.com/category/project-4
A collaborative project by Blythe de Gruchy and Daniel Apt, the following design report has been produced together. Where necessary our individual insights have been labelled with either * for Daniel and 째 for Blythe.
To design an iphone app exploring the theme of psychogeography. It must capture the audiences imagination in a way that surprises and intrigues them through memorable activities. There should not be one defined route or destination. Psychogeography is a way of looking and understanding our environment and how it controls our decision making. In short, what makes you take a new path in the city that you have never taken before? Being a pedestrian is the only time you really have to take in the city whilst moving through it, due to not having to concentrate on motorists or traffic lights for example.
Reconstruct + lost prevention Way-finding (with an educational aspect). Tasks + capability Exercise, game shows. Treasure hunt + always connected Treasure hunt while physically being connected. Treasure hunt with people all over the world. Change of perception + FourSquare Re-imagining a location, reviews not just check-ins.
Topography + messages Messages show up on the map. Layering and being able to see past the textâ€™s content. Text is different based on location. Purposeless + headphones Fashion, broken, social isolation. Restricts true auditory experience. Exploring + block senses Exploration with new senses e.g. smelling Shoreditch. Heightens other senses e.g. blindness.
Pedestrian + always there Local characters, commuting, system / pattern, transport, reliable.
Documentation + augmented reality Seeing past documentation in the present. Remembering journeys.
Getting lost + directions Way-finding. London + think for you Signage, TfL staff, maps, referendum, voting protests, advice.
Limitation + walking
Exploring + facetime Collaborative, rando app, connecting. Show your explored surroundings.
Small radius, slow, weather, unpredictable, userâ€™s fitness.
Explore together with being in different places. "Knocking Live Video" app.
As part of our research we gained insight into the colours, textures and shapes of the city. We did this by photographing the city and finding scraps from magazines that represented how we interpreted our surroundings. 째
There are several psychogeography apps that already exist — we tested and analysed several including, Serendipitor, Dérive, Wanderous, Geocaching and Drift. The key things that I felt were wrong with the apps that already existed was that they were aesthetically unappealing in both colours and in layout. They lacked a user friendly fun interface and they were clunky in the way they worked. Drift in particular did not save the photographs it asked you to make in each task and were impossible to find once the journey ended. °
Existing apps are unrewarding, and all come down to one thing. Do this, do that, follow this route. The user needs to have control, and be rewarded if they go on a wander through London. *
Testing psychogeography apps was paramount for this project*. In the end we tested Drift, a psychogeography app that asks the user to walk and take pictures.
‘Walk east for two blocks and find the highest vantage point you
‘Walk north for two blocks, find a sign of hope and take a picture
‘Walk east for one block, look for something between the lines
‘Walk south to the nearest intersection and take a picture
‘Walk east for a block and find something that was recently
can and take a picture from that perspective’
and take a picture of it’
improved and take a picture of it’
The tasks Drift asks the user to do are very repetitive, and strongly dependent on photography. The app does not keep a record of the photos taken with each step, and therefore does not allow the user to reflect upon previous ‘drifts.’ ° Drift has no real reward built-in, which creates a one-time, non-engaging experience. *
‘Walk east two blocks and try and take a picture
‘Walk east until you find something small
‘Walk north for a little while and look for
‘Walk north until you find something your
‘Walk east for one block and take a picture of
of the wind’
and green and take a picture’
something celebratory and take a picture of it’
grandmother would consider beautiful, and take a picture of it.’
something worth remembering’
We went out to the streets and asked Londoners the following questions: Do you ever walk for pleasure in London, or do you always have a destination in mind? What do you hope to get out of it? Do you get lost? What do you do when youâ€™re lost? Did you know there are apps which intentionally try to make you get lost? What do you think of apps that would try to do this, with the intent of making you see new parts of London?
The iPhone is the best device at preventing people from getting lost. When people get lost, they mostly use their smartphones, followed by signage, and lastly intuition. Nobody knows of the existence of psychogeography apps. Opinions are mixed on the need for such apps.
Talking to people was essential. Many interviews became conversations, which were much more insightful than the initial questions we asked during the interview. *
As part of our ongoing research we visited the Design Museum. One of the more interesting pieces of design exhibited was the Olympic Wayfinding. One of our initial findings was that the app should blend as seamlessly as possible with the users existing routines which is something that the Olympic Wayfinding system did perfectly through its clear magenta signage implemented into the tube network. Our app needed this passive, less demanding interface for it to catch on. 째
Another design that was inspiring was the Zombies! Run app. Designed to make going for runs more exciting the idea is to follow commands and run away from the ever relentless zombies chasing you. The idea was great but it lacked the excitement that we had gained from reading about it before testing it out. It also affirmed our reasoning for wanting an app that was not so dependant on looking at the screen for it to work. If the idea of Psychogeography is to get people to explore the last thing you want is for the user to be looking more at their phone than their surroundings. *
We were asked to come up with and present at least 10 ideas. As a collaborative team we came up with over 30 and presented around 22. Icodesign were insistent that the ideas were not just ‘I’ve thought of this…’ with no visuals so together we created fun colourful concepts, avoiding numbering them to show favour to any one.
Colour does have a certain influence, but we have not found this to be substantial when presenting. °
Collect coins for taking new routes and jewels etc. for new routes outside of your area. Compete with friends.
Given a randomly generated shape, the player matches their route as closely as possible using GPS.
Lava The map gets covered with lava. Donâ€™t get burn. Use your camera to see the destruction.
Lost Networks Follow lost trails around London, from underground tunnels to forgotten canal routes.
Musical Roads / Stories
Route based on music
Music changes with each road; Different stories can be heard as you travel down each road from famous to local myth
Ambient music will lead a slower curving route. Drum + Bass for example leads a more jagged route.
The Maze Find your way out of the maze in real time using GPS to navigate your turns. Select different difficulty levels.
Is it quicker to walk? Works out if your route would be quicker to walk or to take public transport.
Walk â€˜n draw
Draw a shape, and try to walk in your drawn shape.
Build your own version of the city with the places you visit at like. View on a map or as individual profiles.
Distort the map Intentionally disorientates you but still gives you a vague map so you are not totally lost.
Breadcrumbs Follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by friends or randomly generated. Follow people, art trails etc.
Flock â€” Be a sheep
Get points for having a big flock. Follow the crowd and let them guide your route. Try to lose as few people as possible.
Forces the user to choose between roads. A-to-B can be used.
Matching Game Match objects around London with other players.
Senses Explore the city using all senses.
Follow ghosts with your camera, solve mysteries and get treasures.
You are only allowed to walk on certain roads if you are listening to the right music.
Whispers Follow the loudest voices. Approaching junctions, voices will appear clearer or fainter. App can be audio only.
Fog Uncover the map and shapes by exploring / visiting areas.
Reveal more details as you move people explore the area. More roads will appear on the map as you keep walking. You can’t see too far ahead.
Due to the zombie apocalypse you are on the run. Listen to your phone’s instructions to survive.
During the ideation process we came up with many — actually the most — ideas. At that stage we needed to think divergently and have many ideas, but now we needed to choose an idea to further develop. In the end we chose Flock. In the process we consulted tutors, ICOdesign, flatmates, fellow students, and each other. In the end we chose flock due to the fact that it was the most original idea with the most potential for development. It had a fun name that I came up with almost instantly. It was also the first idea that I drew out at the ideation stage which was purely down to the fact that I found it the most appealing.. * Inevitably the ideas created during the ideation process needed to be improved. To improve Flock there were several aspects we needed to define or change. * - How do you detect where people are? - How do you reward the user? - How will Flock look like? In the end we decided to use FourSquare's database. ° It gives us information about other people's location, and the amount of people. Through its API we could connect and use this information. * The user would be rewarded for having a large flock, and could compete with other friends or users. ° Flock needed to have a friendly and simple aesthetic. °
Viv, design specialist at ICOdesign suggested we strongly focus on the functionality of the app. We should not waste time designing a bad idea. Luckily we had not designed too many screens, so we focused upon the user experience and wireframes, before designing our final iPhone screens.
This was very hard for me to do, I usually do not work on paper. I make lists in my sketchbook, and go straight to the computer and create designs. *
To communicate how we saw the apps interface coming to life we used wireframes to visualise the complex ideas before spending hours perfecting each screen. We kept the wire frames simple so that just the user experience was judged.
I was positively surprised by Blythe here. I find her work to be more aesthetic than functional. At this stage she made some very just points and had the clear ability to focus on the user. *
Problem London is an amazing city, but due to everyone being busy, commuting, and working, no one takes the time to stop following their routines and start walking around London. Insights Existing apps do not work: they are boring, unengaging, and un-rewarding. An inherent interest in psychogeography is needed to even find many of these apps. iPhone users do not get lost and wander, because apps like Maps and Google Maps keep them right on track. Londoners are busy, and there is not much that can change that. Solution Flock, an app that stands out from all its predecessors. This is not a boring psychogeography app, this is a game. It is filled with rewarding elements, and competitive leaderboards. Flock can be used within somebodyâ€™s routine, as well as outside. One can play Flock actively, and try to achieve the highest score, or when the user is busy, let the app run in the background, and therefore play it passively. This results in a unique concept, which is fun and rewarding, and can easily be integrated in to the userâ€™s life. *
Problem A large proportion of Londoners walk every day in London yet do not simply wander and explore the city. Insight The apps that already exist are dull, clunky and have no reward. Our app must be easily accessible and easy to use. It must be fun and have some kind of reward to hook people into using it. Solution Flock. The name is simple, catchy and has great potential for advertising due to the large number of sheep puns available such as, ‘Shear determination’ etc. Due to this, the fun factor is already instilled in the user. The app is designed to be played passively or not. We wanted the app to have this option so that it could just be left on in the users pocket and not require them to constantly look at the screen. The colour and simple cartoon image of the sheep are both appealing and user friendly. In my research, I noted that blue was the colour used for Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Tumblr - all of these apps are social which psychologically should trigger in the users mind when using the app. °
Results Icodesign really loved our idea, they thought it was original and interesting, all they wanted more was a mock up of an advert and more screens —which we designed— to show how it worked a little more
It is often said that great collaboration occurs when each member has its unique skillset. Collaborating with Blythe definitely resulted in this. Blythe comes from a more creative background than I; she has worked with fashion, has an interest in photography, and works in a more conceptual manner than I do. I myself come from a more scientific background, and I find it hard to say how this influences my work. Inevitably this resulted in advantages and disadvantages. The advantages were not necessarily the opposite skillsets, but more the opposite mind-sets. We approached any aspect throughout the whole projectâ€™s process differently. This enabled us to think more divergently. The greatest disadvantage was communication. Due to me not being as much of a visual thinker as Blythe is, I had a lot of difficulty to understand certain ideas she had. Comprehending these visual ideas was difficult for me, and verbalising these ideas was difficult for Blythe. When we did understand each other I felt the outcomes were good, I felt confident about what we made, and understood it. Our opposite skill-sets came to use now: Blythe did the wording, I did the design. It was a good collaboration, but I will need to develop new skills. I do not want to spend my whole career being a "photoshop-monkey." I want to do more than simply designing. *
The decision to collaborate on this project was due to the fact that Daniel and I possess very opposite skill sets, yet together possess are more rounded approach to the work. Working together however meant that we inevitably pushed each other as both of us wanted to do well in this project and, due to our own individual approaches to a brief, I at least, found myself working in a different way. One of the toughest aspects of working together was that I work very visually and find it easier to draw representations of what I want. Daniel does not work in this manner, which meant that often communicating ideas between the two of us took time, several misunderstandings and eventually a good outcome. Throughout the project I felt that my strongest contributions came about in the design thinking, art direction and copywriting. I took great interest in the research needed for this project and found that working collaboratively meant that we could do more research in a far shorter amount of time. In the first week alone we conducted interviews, visited the Design Museum, tested out other apps, created a moodboard, photographed the city and researched Iain Sinclair and Will Self. Working with ICOdesign was a great experience as they were exceptionally helpful and seemed to be excited by our ideas. More than anything, their positivity encouraged us to keep going and to keep developing our ideas. 째