Interactive Map

Final Project
Prototyping for Interaction Design (Lab), Austin Lee
Carnegie Mellon, Spring 2017

Project Brief

The objective of the project is to make the word Design interactive.

Reflecting on the Brief

I noticed that clicking a button or touching an object to animate a visual of the word Design responsively (i.e. kinetic typography) would be sufficient for the project. However, I want to explore more metaphorically what design meant to me. This was confirmed when Dan Boyarski asked each of us in our critiques,

“But what does this animation have to do with Design? What does design mean to you?”

To me, design should be inclusive and it should make you feel a certain way. I really value diverse perspectives in design, so I wanted to incorporate different voices into my project.

Exploration of Ideas

I had originally started with the idea of countries. I wanted to have an interface where the user can touch something or receive a card from a vending machine of the word Design in a different language. I played with the idea of delighting the user. I also explored ideas around the prices of different chairs or clothing items from various different countries.

Concept Development

I settled on the concept of an interactive map, where each of the nodes tells a story about someone’s design philosophy.

Here were the steps for making this interactive map:

  1. Create an illustration of a map in Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Laser cut the Illustration onto a piece of wood (I used a Birch Wood Painting Panel).
  3. I recorded audios of (six) different people and asked them the following questions: Where you are from? Do you know the word for ‘Design’ in a different language? What does Design mean to you? What is your Design philosophy? Note: I have a hard time picking just 6 people. I like to be as inclusive, as possible. Ideally, I would have everyone’s voice all around the world represented. I even asked everyone in class what languages they spoke.
  4. I put two nails in each of the locations that people mentioned (one for the input and one for the ground).
  5. I soldered wires into the nails.
  6. I connected the wires into a Makey Makey. For each location/node, one of the wires connected to an input (either W,A,S,D,F, or G). The other was connected to GROUND.
  7. I used Soundplant and assigned each of the stories that I recorded to a key on the keyboard. I made sure that the sound matched the input on the Makey Makey.
  8. To take it a step further, I made two animations and used Aurasma, an augmented reality app. If you hold up your phone to the whole map, you see one animation. If you hold your phone up to just a node/location (for the prototype, I zoomed in on Turkey), you can see another animation. Both animations end with the words: DESIGN IS INCLUSIVE.

Next Steps

I imagine this being an interactive piece in a public space or museum. Someone would be able to walk up to it and record their voice. They would then be able to drop a node wherever they want on the map. Anyone can come by and press a node to play the story.

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