MSc Product Design - Creative Technology (3)

I began week 3 by doing a bit of research to give my project a bit more of background and context. 

Looking back to the previous week, I outlined 3 groups of people I was interested in designing my product for - families, flatmates and friends. I also included a 4th category that looked at long distance groups, either families or friends. After doing this, I listed possible types of news that are shared. This included things like sharing grade results, exciting or sad stories, external family news, job prospects (interviews, offers, promotions), work stories or home news. 

I also looked at how people share news in the 21st century and why people like to share. With 750 million people actively using Facebook and over 200 million tweets sent each day, these communication channels allow us to share and send news instantly. A problem with digitally sending people news now however is that it can come off feeling impersonal, with physical ways of sending and receiving news (letters, postcards) are considered more personal and thoughtful.

According to a study commissioned by The New York Times, there a common basic motivations for why we shared information based on the results of an online survey they conducted that asked 2,500 sharers. They are:

Altruism - sharing valuable and entertaining content to others. We think about what people want to know.

Self-definition - Sharing to define ourselves to others - “you are what you share”

Empathy - Sharing to strengthen and nourish our relationships. Sharing show someone else that we’re thinking about them.

Connectedness - Sharing to get credit and feedback for being a good sharer - to feel valuable in the eyes of others. 

Finally, to round off the research, I looked at why we should celebrate good news - it creates opportunities for us to be free from frustration and worry, it gives you more opportunities to be happy, it improves your relationships with others and it’s good karma - you reap what you sow. I compiled all of this research into a presentation that I took into my tutorial on Tuesday. I also summarised my project into a 100 word statement:

The Good News Box is a household beacon that uses IoT to encourage and celebrate face-to-face conversations that share important announcements by sending notifications to your household when interacted with.

With no context given to these notifications and only a time given to meet at the object to receive the news, the product aims to build suspense and gather the household in one place and build excitement at receiving this news - who is reaching for the box? Who had good news they need to share?

For the rest of the week, I focussed on getting the technology behind the interactions working. Utilising DJCADMake’s very own Ali Napier, he helped me come up with a new avenue to explore when using neopixels: activating them through touch and conductive materials instead of using a potentiometer. I felt this was a more intimate and subtle way of interacting with the project and so I played around with conductive paint and thread to light up the neopixels.

Satisfied with this new interaction, I began to think ahead to next week and what I hoped to achieve in the last week.