Beyond the topics of my research proper, my thought process is influenced by a number of other ideas. While not fully introduced into my research, these ideas influence that research as well as providing a starting point for more properly developed ideas.
Here you may find concepts ranging from photography, transport, film criticism, literature, fine art, and even muscle cars. This is, more than anything else, a place for me to present ideas that are not quite ready and see how others receive them.
Our design consisted of a web-based interface that allowed users to connect with each other and track the different experiences that they had. Users are presented with two maps: a local map and a world map. The local map presents the user with a view of other members of the community that are in their vicinity, and displays upcoming events as well as events that have been attended. Attended events add to a heat-map style visualization of the different parts of the local community that have been experienced. The world map displays the different culinary experiences that have been had, referencing them to different geographical areas. By displaying events in this way, we hope to make users aware of how much more can be done, and motivate them to do so.
The two maps give a visual representation of new experiences that can be had. The events themselves are based around themes: a way for the users to further express themselves. Ultimately, the goal is to allow people the ability to organize events that create a comfortable way to gather, learn more about the other people in their local area, and how that relates to the bigger picture of the world.
From the CHI Student Design Competition: Call for Participation
[ http://chi2011.org/authors/sdc/index.html ]:
In the spirit of this year’s conference theme of “Connecting…”, this year’s challenge is to design an object, interface, system, or service intended to help us appreciate our differences. Differences come in many forms, including culture, community, age, politics, education, and abilities and disabilities. It can be hard for us to appreciate and understand the differences we see in other people but there is rich value in appreciating another person’s point of view and understanding the world through someone else’s eyes.
We began the process of tackling this challenge with an affinity diagram to help us understand which facet of the broad topic of diversity we wanted to tackle. We each wrote as many aspects of diversity that we could think of one each to a Post-it note, and then organized them on a whiteboard. After organizing the Post-its, we discovered two things: 1. We had a desire to focus on food as a means of both joining people together and 2. We had generated a lot of ways that people can be different from each other. These two things would become the core of Foodmunity.
After the affinity diagram, we began to research and sketch different ways that people could leverage food as a means to come together and share their differences. For research we conducted interviews with authorities on both food and diversity, as well as evidence of our theory that food would be useful for bringing people together and creating a comfortable situation. Each team member independently sketched a range of different ideas and interfaces, and ultimately, as a whole, took the most positive and resonant aspects from those sketches and combined them. Throughout the process, we received advice from our mentor Ammar Halabi, who gave us an indispensable perspective on both our process and where our design was heading.
We presented this first iteration of our design to the class in the form of a PowerPoint presentation of our sketches. The resulting critiques informed us of places of concern and points of further development which we used to improve our design for our second submission. From here we developed the maps as a means of informing the users of their experiences, in a compelling way, and created a PowerPoint prototype to usability test our design. Our test focused both on the usability of the system (eg. task completion, error rate) and the usefulness of the system (eg. how users felt about using it, what features they would use). From these tests, we further refined our design, improving upon the aspects that were troubling to users.
We presented our design to the class once more, this time with a full use scenario and re-iterated screen shots of the design, and received further critiques to help us polish the design. To finally prepare for CHI, we attended an event similar to one that would be created by Foodmunity and used a questionnaire to get feedback from the other attendees. We used this to further refine our design, the content of our assignment’s submission to six extended abstract pages, and submitted to CHI. Download the submission
We presented our design in the form of a poster with a five minute presentation to the CHI judges in Vancouver, BC.
It was well received, and of the 12 poster presentations, we were one of the four teams selected to continue to the finals and give a 10 minute presentation to the CHI community.