This project is an ongoing pursue around the question of how to overcome a creative block? Partnered with Lutfiadi Rahmanto, we started out scribbling, sketching and describing the problem to better understand what it meant for each of us and how do we scope this problem and usually respond to it.
From the first session we were able to narrow the idea onto a determined goal: A tool to aid inspiration in the creative process. This led us to consider various things around the sought scenario and allowed us to start asking other creatives around this. We sought to better understand –qualitatively– how creatives describe a creative block and more importantly how is creative block overcome? From this session we were also able to reflect on how to aid that starting point of ideating, often a hard endeavor. A resonating answer in the end, was through linking non-related words, concepts or ideas.
We also researched two articles with subject matter experts about Creative Block and Overcoming It ("How to Break Through Your Creative Block: Strategies from 90 of Today's Most Exciting Creators" and "Advice from Artists on Hot to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth"). Here we found a collage between our initial hypothesis with additional components such as remix, from Jessica Hagy's wonderful analogical method of overcoming her creative block by randomly grabbing a book and opening it a random page and linking "the seed of a thousand stories". Another valuable insight was creating space of diverted focus from the task at hand generating the block. We also found a clear experience-design directive for our app, to balance between constrain –structured scrambled data from the API– and freedom –imaginative play–.
Brief, Personas and Scenarios
After validating our intuitive hypotheses on how to address the problem through the contextual inquiries and online articles we came up with a solid Design Brief:
Encourage a diverted focus where people are able to create ideas by scrambling data from the Cooper Hewitt's database into random ideas (phrases).
Through this research we created seven different behavior patterns and mapped them onto this two-axis map, that defines the extent to which personas would behave between casual/serious and unique/remix.
This enabled us to create our guiding design path through what Lola Bates-Campbell describes as the MUSE. An outlier persona to direct and answer the usual nuances behind designing, in this case, our mobile application tool to aid Mae Cherson in her creative block. We determined her goals and thus her underlying motivations, what she usually does –activities– during her creative environment and how she goes around between small and greater creative blocks in her working space. We also describe her attitudes towards this blocking scenario and how her feelings entangle whenever seeking for inspiration. There were some other traits determined as well that can be reach in more detail through this link. Overall we crafted this Muse as a reference point for creating an inspirational experience for the selected archetypes –The Clumsy Reliever and The Medley Maker–.
Parallel to the archetypes mapping, we began thinking how to engage our audience –Artists, Designers, Writers, Thinkers, Makers, Tinkerers, all poiesis casters–. Soon we realize the opportunity of captivating our audience through a game-like interaction. A gameplay that requires simple gestures and encourages discoverability. Some of the games we took as reference are Candy Crush and 2 Dots. Two simple games that have out-stand for their heavily and widespread engagement.
By having research cues and possible game-like affordances in mind there's proliferous space to weave tentative design solutions. Hence we made a couple whiles to sketch layouts, concepts, poetic interactions and nonsense infractions.
On the other side we created sense and sought a balance between amusement and feasibility. At the end of this session we came up with three Design Layout Concepts and general Affordances (call to interaction): Linking, Discovering and Dragging.
From these concepts we started making interactive prototypes. While creating the Discovering prototype, we realize people's intuitive mental model beneath a Candy Crush-like interaction did not match with our design intent, and trying to match it resulted overly complicated and forced. This is why we created prototypes for the Linking and Dragging concepts.
Another prototype explores the underlying preference between text-driven inspiration and visually-driven inspiration. While testing these prototypes we realize some people tent to feel more inspired by imaging the words from a text, and other people feel more inspired by visual queues. This prototype allows both explorations.
The next step is to select one gameplay interaction from our user tests and sintactically address the text data from the API.
This is another interaction mode –Remixing Mode–, thought after Katherine's valuable feedback on our final prototype that can be accessed in this link.
Time's running out! Will your Concentration drive the Needle fast enough? Through the EEG consumer electronic Mindwave, visualize how your concentration level drives the speed of the Needle's arm and pops the balloon, maybe!
Development & UI
I designed, coded and fabricated the entire experience as an excuse to explore how people approach interfaces for the first time and imagine how things could or should be used.
The current UI focuses on the experience's challenge: 5 seconds to pop the balloon. The previous UI focused more on visually communicating the concentration signal (from now on called ATTENTION SIGNAL)
This is why there's prominence on the timer's dimension, location and color. The timer is bigger than the Attention signal and The Needle's digital representation. In addition this is why the timer is positioned at the left so people will read it first. Even though Attention signal is visually represented the concurrent question that emerged in NYC Media Lab's "The Future of Interfaces" and ITP's "Winter Show" was: what should I think of?
What drives the needle is the intensity of the concentration or overall electrical brain activity, which can be achieved through different ways, such as solving basic math problems for example –a recurrent successful on-site exercise–. More importantly, this question might be pointing to an underlying lack of feedback from the physical devise itself, a more revealing question would be: How could feedback in BCIs be better? Another reflection upon this interactive experience was, what would happen if this playful challenge was addressed differently by moving The Needle only when exceeding a certain Attention threshold?
This is a reinterpretation from the exercise example "Making Line Plots" of the Lynda course "Interactive Data Visualization with Processing". A visual glimpse of the idea. The code for this redesign can be found in this Github Repo.
With the opensource JAVA toolkit Processing, I started exploring around User Interfaces, Time representation and Hover Timing. Hover Timing, might bring intersting possibilities for Natural User Interface such as the Kinect or Leap Motion, where different affordances come into place wtih simple tasks like selecting an element. The code for this draft can be found in this Github Repo
For children's month, we created a giant box to make a stronger bond between children and their parents. I was the Interactive Lead for this project making sure the hardware and software would run swiftly for a month and a half.
With a collaborative experience, people embarked in a journey in the world of dreams and imagination. To communicate children's boundless imagination and appropriation of everyday objects, we constructed a giant carton box as the ship, with two control panels were knobs and buttons are made out of plastic bottles and other every day objects.
Along with two Interaction Designers, we coded the project's software in OpenFrameworks and the hardware in Arduino. To ensure collaboration in the box's experience, both panels were made wide enough so they could only be triggered by at least two people. There are two starting knobs and two launching/landing levers. The other panel is as wide as the first one, and it has four buttons that light-up to a sequence. Lit buttons have to be pressed at the same time to defeat the violent thread in the journey.
In 2013 we created an electronic vote system through Android tablets that were remotely activated by a Laptop. I was the UI/UX Designer and Industrial Designer –Cubicle. Our main Design Challenge was to create an election system easily perceivable and predictable –intuitive– enough so grown-ups with no previous experience with mobile devices could vote. It was a successful system that didn't got in the way, with 93% of participation.
I created this storyboard so stakeholders could better understand the sought experience.
For the scrutiny I developed this visualization in Processing
Back in 2013 with two developers, we created this Mobile App. I designed the UI including the simplified map of Bogota and the promotional motion graphics. It was the first Mobile Application to interact directly with the map. A more perceivable and predictable –intuitive– interaction comparing it with the competition (public transport apps in Bogota, Colombia).
Flux is a mobile application for tablets that introduces college students to System Dynamics. Its Design Objective involves a new visual representation to improve the user experience in System Dynamic softwares. I was the Visual and Interaction Designer behind its creation. The second iteration at the right was created with a micro-organism metaphor in mind.
For this project I worked closely with a PhD in Applied Sciences directing and implementing the mathematical models behind it, and a junior iOS Programmer.
Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory sprung from Biology, thus a micro-organism metaphor for the final design seems convenient and captivating. Elements within the aqueous environment resemble organic-like shapes. Both features, the animated elements and organic forms contribute to Flux's aim to bridge users’ mindset onto a unified perceivable and predictable interface.
Ripple effect concept were elements' behaviors interfere like waves disturbing water.
Micro-organism concept were elements have a biological look and the interface borrows visual queues from a petri-dish
In System Dynamics the concept of cycle is essential. This is why the logo's starting point is a cycle. Afterwards, a double cycle resembling the infinity symbol was used for the name's starting point.