Luis de Sousa Design For Experience May 2016
Step Card & Affinitising Process
Making a Path
Defining a Concept
Feedback from Parents
Experiencing Virtual Reality
Refining the Experience
Creating a Story
Prototyping the Refined Experience 36
Service & Journey Map
INTRODUCTION The project â€˜Design for Experienceâ€™ consisted of designing a civic experience in a specific area of Glasgow. Unlike past projects, this one required the students to quickly identify an opportunity and then develop it. This meant that there would not be a lot of initial desk research, but rather intensive prototyping and testing. The idea behind it was to provide us with the confidence and the know-how to use our own methods to ultimately create a meaningful experience. The first week of the project was in groups and afterwards became individual. In my case, I was assigned the area of Glasgow Green.
Step Card & Affinitising Process
DESK RESEARCH In the first week, we were requested to make desk and field research and identify opportunities, which meant that there would not be a lot of time dedicated to each component. As a group, we agreed to conduct the research individually and gather the findings collectively, rather than conduct the research in a group from the beginning. This method allowed us to focus on specific areas and deal with more information overall. During this research it was made clear that Glasgow Green was a strong influence to the city, in terms of its historical, cultural and social values. These findings made me also understand that Glaswegians have always cherished this park in different moments of the city’s development.
Key Findings & Curiosities:
- Oldest park and public place in the UK
- It was originally a swampy area, composed by a number of
- The city tried to close it three times, due to its coal deposits, yet
the population refused
- It is said that James Watt conceived the “Watt Steam Engine”
during a walk in the park
- It was the stage for many political meetings and manifestations,
such as the radical movement, red clydeside and the suffragettes
Source: Glasgow Heritage Trail
- It was the place where public executions were made
- 50% of the park area is available for concerts and festivals
Glasgow Green was the set for political activism. It was a key place for movemeents and manifestations, such as the Suffragettes or the Red Movement.
The park was originally a swampy area composed by a different number of “Greens”. 6
Source: Glasgow Heritage Trail
FIELD RESEARCH It was sunny on the first day of our visit to the park, which allowed us to see people interacting with the space. It was my first visit to the place and, as we walked around I immediately realised how large and varied it was. It was also easy to understand the weight of the parkâ€™s historical and political background, throughout its many monuments. There was a high contrast between the luxuriant green of the park itself against the industrial buildings across the river, which made the experience somehow a bit deceiving. Another thing that I noted was that the areas of wildlife preservation were quite small in comparison to the extent of the space. This field research gave me a real feel of the park, and made me acknowledge the different areas of the space, that could generate diverse experiences to its visitors.
During this first encounter we also visited the Peopleâ€™s Palace Museum and the Winter Garden, which gathered a higher number of users. The museum was very interesting as an account of the story about the park and the Barras market. This visit allowed me to get a stronger sense of the social aspects and issues of the area, throughout the times.
The Winter Garden gathers a lot of people as it protects people from the rain and cold.
The park has a lot of monuments honouring the historic events that happened throughout times.
There are many wildlife species in the park, yet the specified areas are proportionally too small.
The museum displays the life and social Source: Peopleâ€™s Museum issues present in the area. 7
STEP CARDS & AFFINITISING PROCESS
After the initial desk and field research, we individually had to identify our insights. In order to record insights we used STEP cards (Social, Technological, Economical, Political), a method developed by the 4th and 5th years in Product Design. This method helped us defining the initial ideas and concepts, in space and time, as well as the indicators that supported it and the information that validated it.
Once each of us had our cards completed, we grouped them all together and started the affinitising process. Initially we grouped them by topic and afterwards by type. In the end we organised them by type in relation to time scale. This process allowed us to generate even more STEP cards to help us with the choice of our own different opportunities. Of the insights I identified, the one I most related to was about Wildlife and how we often dismiss their importance in the urban ecosystems, especially in city parks. Therefore I took the decision to follow it as my design opportunity.
Making a Path
WILDLIFE With my design opportunity identified, I started investigating the types of wildlife existing in the park. During this research, I learned about the event Glasgow Green Year that happened in the previous years and more precisely one of its movements called Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival. This group of enthusiasts goes to many parks to observe wildlife species and raise awareness of their importance. Despite their different approach to the topic, it was good to identify a group that shared similar concerns.
Widlife in Glasgow Green:
Another relevant finding was a Scottish Natural Heritage map of wildlife species in the eastern part of Glasgow, through which I identified the more relevant species in the area. It also had a more specific map of Glasgow Green and Richmond Park, which identified the areas where certain animals could be observed.
Source: Scottish Natural Heritage
Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival2015 - Source: RSPB Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival is formed by a group of enthusiasts that goes to many parks to observe wildlife species and raise awareness of their importance.
MAKING A PATH Equipped with the aforementioned map and a camera, I walked along the path in Glasgow Green in an attempt to encounter and identify some of the referred species, point out a relevant route and note down the existing types of wildlife. Simultaneously, I collected small samples left the by animals, as these could possibly help me in future prototyping, in terms of texture and smell. This journey greatly helped defining my early concepts, not only in terms of ideation, but also where I could locate these experiences.
EARLY CONCEPTS With the inspiration taken from the previous journey in the park, I started working on early concepts and develop simple basic prototypes for each one. These concepts were developed with the idea of raising awareness and encourage people respect more the wildlife, regardless of their size or importance.
Tech Tags The idea of this concept is to fit a sensor in the tags each water bird in the park possesses. The purpose is to provide information about animals, thus humanising and raising awareness about them. The information displayed could come in many forms: from the species to which they belong, to the their family tree or migratory routes.
How it works:
- User downloads app
- Points at bird
- App provides info about the bird
Scaled Environments The idea of this concept is to create scaled areas, for instance, areas scaled down where people can have a more direct experience of what it feels like to be a small animal. By potentially deploying many of these areas, scaled to different animals but similar in design attitude, users would be actively encouraged to put themselves in the lives of the small creatures and maybe have a clearer idea of their environment full of constant threats.
An alternative idea to this act of physical scaling the environment down to the scale of the small animals in the park would be to achieve a similar result through the creation of virtual rooms. This virtual experience, however, would have to be enriching in terms of sight, smell and touch for the particular species being observed.
Wild Experience This concept consists of using virtual reality to make people wonder around the park while using the visual senses of a specific animal. The idea is to provoke peopleâ€™s interactions with familiar areas in the park only through the â€œlensâ€? of a specific animal, thus providing, at the same time, a completely new and perhaps even unexpected perception of the park.
USER FEEDBACK Though these three early concepts guided me towards a clearer idea of how to further pursue the project, I needed input from other people as well, so that I could understand reactions to the distinct ideas and maybe even identify significant gaps. In that sense I gathered with people and showed them the paper prototypes and recorded the conversations.
The feedback from people was very important, as it not only made me understand how I could further develop a concept, but also identified the need of creating a story or a narrative underpinning the whole experience. It also made clear that I needed to identify the animals I wished to explore and look at their characteristics and importance in the ecosystem.
Feedback from people:
Show all aspects of the animal:
- To better understand them
- The rational behind their activities
- To understand their reality
Be careful of the risk of humanising the animals:
- To understand the role of the animal in the ecosystem
- Rather people becoming the animals, than animals becoming humanised
- About the importance of the animal itself
- About their particular character traits
Taking the experience to a real space, but also rely on their senses as a whole, rather than just vision.
Make the users perform the same activities as the animal.
Defining a Concept
Feedback from Parents
Experiencing Virtual Reality
Refining the Experience
Creating a Story
Prototyping the Refined Experience 36
DEFINING A CONCEPT After gaining the user feedback I started working on a story for the concept. One of the things that struck me the most was the idea of using the animalsâ€™ role in the ecosystem, and create a narrative from there. In that sense, I developed the concept of people replicating the activities these animals perform, through the use of virtual reality. This meant that users would walk around the park and interact with the space in a whole different way, with also different senses.
The choice of the animals was based on the Scottish Natural Heritage map and my own walk along the path, where I picked the most common species in Glasgow Green. It was also based on how people could replicate some of these animalsâ€™ daily activities in a simple, straightforward manner (ex: it would be hard to replicate a swan outside of the water). These animals were the fox, the crow and the bee. Some of their most prominent characteristics are shown below.
While developing the concept, the story and the animals I quickly realised that I needed to target my experience. The more I worked on it, the more the activities made me think of the experience as a sort of game that could be directed specifically to children. I then explored the possibility of designing the experience to children. Not only could they become more engaged and attuned to the importance of each of these animals, but also have fun whilst hopefully developing certain sensitivity to wildlife creatures.
Create a journey where users become these animals and perform their actions with the their senses and skills, thus creating awareness of the importance of wildlife in the ecosystem.
Crow - Highly developed visual system - Flexible lenses adapted to air and water - Tetra chromatic vision (coloured vision + UV) - Wide visual field - Poor sense of smell - Omnivorous - Recognises and interacts with humans, sometimes even presenting gifts to show appreciation Contribution to Ecosystem: - Assists farmers by eating insects and preventing plagues - Eats berries and nuts, spreading the seeds in different places, thus contributing to the plant propagation
Fox - Dichromatic colour vision - Binocular vision - reacts mainly to movement - Strong auditory perception: - Mouse squeaking at about 100m - Crow flight at 0.25km - 0.5km - Fairly good sense of smell, yet weaker than specialised dogs - Hunts trough sound Contribution to Ecosystem: - Eats mice, rabbits and certain birds, thus playing a major role is prey control and animal propagation
Bee - Sees in UV - Primary colours - Red is black - Two eyes - 3 smaller eyes that inform the bee on light intensity - Antennas - touch sensitive - smells, temperature, humidity and pressure - sense themselves in the space - hears through the hairs in antennas - Eats mainly pollen, is eaten by birds Contribution to Ecosystem: - Is the most important animal in pollination, and therefore a species of great importance to the planetâ€™s own survival
TESTING OUTSIDE In order to test my concept, I visited the park again, and decided to engage with the surrounding area with other senses rather than vision. Such method allowed me to focus more on textures, sound and smell to be able to interact with the space. It was strange to notice that without sight we suddenly become lost, things that we commonly know can be quite different when touched or smelled, without any visual support.
TESTING UV While researching bees and birds, I read that UV helped the former identifying which flowers had more pollen, while for the latter it was very important for mating as many of them have coloured feathers that are invisible to the human eye. In order to better understandâ€”and even seeâ€”the UV spectrum and its benefits, I tried to replicate homemade methods. All of my attempts failed, except for the last one, when I tried to see a flower on a microscope with a UV light: this experiment revealed that the colours of the flower were more vivid and appealing under the UV light, than under a white light.
TESTING SOUND During my visit to the park, I also recorded the sounds around me in an attempt to listen to them later. Later on, I listened to the sounds with my headphones and noticed that they were much more intense than while in the park. This method made me realise how many things happen around us without us even noticing. It also opened up possibilities for future experiences with sound.
TESTING SMELL Another sense that I tested was smell. While in the park, I tried to smell things with my eyes covered, which proved, as with sound, to enhance the sense of smell. In order to replicate that at home, I tried to incorporate the smell in my prototype and for that I used pieces of cotton dipped in essential oils.
PROTOTYPING As I was testing the senses mentioned before, I simultaneously worked on a prototype that I kept changing and refining according to my findings. The idea was to create a mask, or a helmet, that would allow children to immerse themselves in the reality of the animal, by relying on the senses it uses to perform its daily activities. This testing allowed me to consider and identify issues while making and developing the product.
FEEDBACK PARENTS The more the concept evolved, the more I identified issues that needed to be addressed. As I was developing a product for children, I had to bear in mind their intellectual and physical limitations when compared to an adult. I also had to consider that children need supervision and cannot simply run free around the park by themselves. In order to address those concerns, I sought feedback from parents, which helped shape and progress with the work.
Key points raised in feedback: -
Kids need to be motivated during the activity
They need to be told how to do things
Is there a reward/takeaway?
How can parents control them?
Make them understand the value of each specie in a positive
They like paint, customer and masks. Is there anyway to make the
product more appealing to them? -
This feedback was very useful as it made me realise that I needed to make the prototype visually more appealing, but also identifiable as to which animal the children were immersing themselves in Another important point was that children need constant and fast motivation, whilst also receiving extremely clear instructions on what to do.
Do children interact with other children?
EXPERIENCING VIRTUAL REALITY As my project was about to become both physical and virtual experience, I had to try virtual reality myself, in order to understand its potential and limitations . I used Google Cardboard Glasses that were cheap and worked with any smartphone. I was truly amazed by the experience, as I did not expect such immersion once the glasses were put in front of the eyes. The experience with VR was unique and quite engaging, which made me question if I was not trying to create something too intense after all, with the exploration of all the sensesâ€”visual, sound, smell, touchâ€” especially when considering children. In order to answer these questions, I asked for further feedback from distinct groups of people and asked them to try VR while filming their reactions. Such method allowed me to understand the power of VR on its own and, most of all, that I needed to simplify my product rather than having so many different touch-points.
REFINING THE EXPERIENCE With both the feedback from parents and the VR experience, I arrived to the conclusion that not only did I have to define a specific location to conduct an experience, but also to simplify the system, create a stronger story and connection with each animal.
In order to simplify the system, I revisited the senses of each animal and took the decison to eliminiate smell. Although I was removing an important sense, the experience could now be performed only with cardboard VR glasses, earbuds and a smartphone, and could therefore be cheap and accessible to reproduce.
In order to simplify the system, I revisited the senses of each animal and understood that the only one that had a good sense of smell was the fox, although it did not necessarily rely on it for hunting preys, which was precisely the activity I wished to replicate. The deliberate decision to leave smell behind was crucial to simplify the whole experience, as it meant a simpler and cheaper prototype that could essentially rely on a smartphone rather than on advanced and expensive technology. Although I acknowledged that I was removing an important sense of the experience, I believed this decision added more viability to the product in terms of production and cost effectiveness.
As I had to consider a place where children could easily be supervised, without necessarily loosing the apparent sense of freedom, I looked at the different the places at the park and its surroundings. I quickly arrived to the conclusion that Richmond Park was the perfect location, as it was not only smaller and more intimate, but also had a large area covered in trees, which meant that it could be fence, whilst still providing a child with a strong sense of freedom.
CREATING A STORY With the location and the system defined, I started developing a story around the park and the activities of each animal. As I investigated about the space, I discovered a project by Clyde Waterfront that aims to regenerate Richmond Park. With this finding, I realised that the experience could be designed to integrate children in that regeneration process, bringing about mutual benefits.
With these three key decisions, I was able to develop to develop a service:
The parents bring the child to the park, where they find small vending point.
The child chooses which mask she wishes to incorporate.
The parents download the app, select the appropriate animal and place the phone in the mask.
Through the app the parets are able set a time for the experience to last.
When the time runs, the experience stops.
The child takes the mask home, as a reward for the completion of the experience.
As a bee, the child will go around flowers and hand-pollinate them, with the help of simple items, such as cotton buds.
As a crow, the child has to find the seeds placed in trees and plant them in the plot that has the matching card. These cards are only seen under UV light, which means that only birds and bees can identify them.
Once grown, the plants and vegetables could be sold locally, with the profits going to the Park.
As a fox, the child has to hunt preys when she hears them. The sound will guide her to the preyâ€™s location (a noise sensor). Once the child finds the sensor she presses a button that stops the noise and retrieves a balloon as a reward. That balloon is then placed in the plot area and works as a scarecrow to help crops growing. 35
PROTOTYPING THE REFINED EXPERIENCE With the service now clearly defined, I had to develop the final prototype and touchpoints. As every animal needed to be easily identifiable, I developed head cardboard masks. I was advised in a tutorial to focus on designing and creating one single mask, as it would be very complicated to develop three different ones within the timeframe of this project. With that in mind I created my own design for the Crow mask, while both the Fox and the Bee were adapted from existing templates.
In order to develop the Crow mask, I made drawings of different angles of a crow then traced a geometric figure for each perspective, which helped me plan the cuts and the angles I needed to transform it in a 3D mask.
Mask template developed by Steve Wintercroft
Mask template developed by TetraVariations 37
I also developed my own VR cardboard glasses that could fit and be attached to the inside the mask.
Based on the learnings from the UV testing, I developed fluorescent cards that indicate the type of seeds in the trees and plots. These display their real colours once exposed to UV light.
As I wanted to provide a holistic sense of what the experience would look like, I went to Richmond park once again and took a 360ยบ picture of the location for the experience. I then manipulated it in Photoshop with the matching visual attributes for each animal.
I also developed sounds for each animal, so that the experience could have more of a real feeling. In order to visually communicate each task, I made a small movie for each animal.
Service & Journey Map
FINAL PRODUCT For the Final Product I presented three different masks with an image and sound for each. The mask of the Crow was a working prototype, as the goggles I developed fitted and attached inside the mask and the user could then enjoy the small experience I created. I also developed videos that illustrated the task carried by each animal. During the project final presentation, I presented the videos and then displayed the prototypes. In order to demonstrate what the experience could be, I laid three cardboard VR goggles (one of them fully developed by me) in front of each mask. I placed a phone and ear pods inside each one of them and put the experience to run, so at the end of the presentation people could try it.
The VR glasses fit and attach inside the crow mask allowing the child fully imerge in the animal. I also developed a small set of illustrated instructions for each animal, that can auxiliate the child in case of doubt. 42
These images represent the same space under the different vision of each animal.
SERVICE AND JOURNEY MAP
In order to participate in Wild Little Things, parents just need to purchase a paper mask at the park, and bring a smartphone and earbuds. The second step is to download the app and choose the animal and time for the experience. Finally, place the phone inside the the mask and everything is ready to go. Parents are to accompany their children through the experience.
Wild Little things is a VR and physical experience provided in Richmond Park. It allows children to incorporate wild animals and replicate the tasks these perform by instinct. This is a seasonal experience that is part of the Green Network project by Clyde Waterfront, that aims to regenarate Richmond Park. It occurs on weekends suring the summer and the tasks are designed to help and maintain the park. Such approach allows children to not only help in the park regeneration, but also to understand and bring awareness of the importance of wildlife in in general. Children get a first-hand insight on what it feels like to be a wild animal, whilst performing fun but meaningful activities. 44
CONCLUSION This project was a different approach in comparison to others, as we had to identify an opportunity with minimal desk research. Although it seemed hard to consider this method in the beginning, it proved to be surprisingly enjoyable, as it made me more sensible in regards to my own observations and thoughts, rather than an intensive desk research to back up every idea I could possibly generate. I found a certain similarity between this project and Design Theory, as it was very much based on prototyping, testing and thinking through making. During the project I kept looking at new ways to prototype or investigate, which made me more creative and free to develop my own tools. I believe that this way of working gave me a natural flow to whole development process and whenever I faced certain doubts, the external feedback helped overcome these. Another great tool that this project made me discover was Virtual Reality, which is something that I think has great potential, especially in terms of investigation and prototyping, as it allows the user to go to any place in the world with the help of 360ยบ Google Earth or even just create their own reality and easily share it with someone else. Such discovery allowed me to easily manipulate the space in the park and reveal to an audience what my product wished to achieve.
Overall, I believe that what I enjoyed the most was to be given the freedom and the confidence to develop my own tools and methods and to see how these fit my needs at the different states of the project. There are issues in this project that I would address if the time-frame was longer, such as a refinement of the touch-points (signs in the trees, or in plots, balloon, etc.) as I believe these could be approached and represented differently, or developing the other masks and then test the experience with real children. Finally I would have liked to explore the possibility of representing the experience in a VR video rather than in a 360ยบ photo.