Speed Dating Exercises

Week Eleven: 3/27 — 4/02

We evaluated our findings from the exploratory and generative research phases and generated four concepts based on those results. As the next step we decided to go to back to our interviewees and test our concepts with them. So, in order for our participants to relate to these concepts, we further developed various iterations of each one and then speed dated with our interviewees. We speed dated with Charlee Brodsky, Mark Rettig, Shruti Chowdhury and Minrui Li, who we had also interviewed previously, so they were aware of our territory of exploration.


Concept 1: Mixed Reality Cafe

Charlee

She thought it was a really nice concept for times when she is close to her family but not when she is traveling or is far away since those would be times when it is important for her to know what her kids are up to… in terms of differences, rather than in the sameness. While she really resonated with the idea of shopping, restaurant, celebrating together, she wasn’t happy about the bar setting.

Mark

He felt positive. He liked how it was about the person, and not about the medium. He thought that the technical assumptions behind this story made some really interesting things possible in terms of the fidelity of these holograms.

Can we see each other’s eyes? Where’s the voice coming from? The mouth? The uncanny valley comes because I’ve come close to the presence of actual humanity, but I’ve missed it by “this’ much, so it’s creepy…

He felt that visual cues related to people are more important to read them. That may be very valuable, in a relationship and that is something that is lost through other mediums. He thought some settings were more comfortable than the others like bar, restaurant, celebrations but not so much shopping.

Shruti

She wasn’t convinced that this idea would work for her and her parents since there are very specific activities that she prefers to do with them. Like, bar with some food might work, or even museums, art gallery, pop-ups. She thought if she appeared as a hologram, she would want to see the other people too as opposed to only one person who is talking to her. She liked the possibility of overhearing the conversations. Shruti was very skeptical about being present but not being able to touch things. The line between actual and virtual seemed very blurry for her and she was bothered by that. It seemed very pre-planned and pre-thought for her.

Minrui

She was really happy about the idea of traveling through time and space. She thought that a lot of planning will go into, first, co-ordinating and then traveling to the cafe to be able to talk. But, even though she and her parents live in two different time zones, she liked the synchronous quality of the concept, especially for situations like shopping, eating and celebrating together.


Concept 2: Popping in and out of spaces

Charlee

She was uncomfortable about the idea of sharing the space with someone even though she was excited about the idea of having that chance to do activities together with her kids. For her, it would be acceptable to imagine this is at home and hospital, but she was absolutely against the idea of her kids being able to find their way into her work space.

Mark

He thought it was kind of fun, the possibility of doing this opens up opportunity beyond family members. But, there needs to be some new social protocols — a knock on the door, or an agreement to ‘pop in anytime’. Another interesting take by Mark was to troll his family members through this system. He said that affordance would have its own charm. For various settings, he thought execution really matters.

Shruti

To her, this concept seems like a ghost in the house. She again brought up the concern of not being able to touch even though the presence might be felt. So, even though it sounded sentimental to her for situations like when someone is sick and that you can be present for them, but, not being able to help when needed would instead make her feel even more guilty.

It is more about being there, not so much physical care.

Minrui

She got really concerned about the privacy of users at either ends as well as the portrayal of the person as a hologram in public places. She strongly felt that such scenarios would be more appropriate for private and not social places since hologram presence has high chances of distracting people. While walking her through different settings, she felt that there needs to be an option where she could disable two-way connection saying,

If I am injured, I don’t want them to see me, but if they are injured I would want to see them. They will react in a way that will make the situation more stressful

She talked about how she would be willing to share more if the communication was consistent because little things accumulate over time and then a few days pass, things build up and then she would forget what it was. She was concerned about:

  • The time difference between her and her parents.
  • Not being able to multi-task while being engaged in the medium like Skype, FaceTime etc.
  • Difficulty in navigating through the complicated technology.
  • Communication being limited to words and not about facial expressions and body language.

Concept 3: Passive Presence

Charlee

It was really poetic for her, but, she pointed out that the the interpretation at the receiver’s end is entirely subjective and might not convey the same meaning as she as a sender would desire. Amongst all the iterations, her favorite was the one with kitchen lights because of its subtlety and its metaphorical value of a signal for starting a conversation and that it’s unobtrusive. She thought it would be helpful in developing a bond between families.

Mark

He expressed that for some people, it can be a trigger for many different kinds of emotions based on the nature of that relationship and the story behind it while for him, it risks feeling gimmicky. He felt very strongly against the idea of a company taking credit and assigning meaning to his interactions.

Shruti

She thought the person taking the form of the environment is interesting. While she was onboard with the idea, she pointed out that the synchronous nature of the system might not work for her and her parents, who live in a different part of the world. nicer. She liked the idea of getting little cues to follow your parents..like a reminder that they exist.

Minrui

She found it to be a really interesting interaction, but, was confused about not being able to see and talk to each other. She was uncomfortable about the idea of her parents knowing about her whereabouts and also reducing the identity of people to things and environment.


Concept 4: Virtual Care Package

Charlee

She started recounting when and why she sent numerous packages to her children over the years. She clearly seemed to resonate most closely to this concept for reasons like

Who doesn’t like receiving packages? So much of this is about communication, and how do you enable communication

One of the things that she sensed would be hard with this is finding a right time for her and her daughter for the synchronous communication.

Mark

He found the idea of sharing the snippets of the day very trollable. He wished that a system could help skill people a bit in composing that can help them become storytellers. He raised a very interesting question of where is it that our communication be helped since we won’t really know what people are worried about.

Can they have a way to just put a thing over here in case I see it? A sign to show that they are open to talking about it. It’s easy to assume things are okay…

He wishes the system to help people express… Help them talk about things that they aren’t very good at talking about and then, it’s up to us to decide what to do with that.

Shruti

She said she could automatically think of this being applied in daily life. The good thing about it is that you are also experiencing it for yourself while curating it. Her only concern was that it may get too much, but for mundane stuff it’s good. It follows patterns of social media. Buying games like these would be fun for her. She felt a little overwhelmed about the customization and the amount of time needed for it, but, said that she would want to experience it with them rather than gifting it to them.

It’s nice. I would use it. I don’t know how I would capture it and how they would use it but it’s nice.

Minrui

This was her most preferred option since she and her parents engage in a lot of capturing and sharing of experience at either ends. She was curious about the form of the virtual package and its ability to record and save stuff. She brought up a very interesting point about the significance of physical objects and how she loves revisiting her photos in an album more than on the digital platform, mostly because the more the number of pictures, the less appreciative it becomes. She though the idea of both pre-composed and personalized since the need would vary as per the content. It would be more personalized for mundane stuff, but, pre-composed would be preferred for important experiences.

Moving forward, we plan to analyze all these insights and select one concept that resonates most with all our research findings and start detailing it.

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