Analysing Research and Ideation

After carrying out research in and around Bristol, the session today revolved around discussing our findings and trying to narrow down specific topics in history and places in Bristol that we could base our ideas around. We have been tasked with putting together a design brief for next week to present our prototype idea to the rest of the module class.

“where the human beings remain anonymous and that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as “places”.”

Our initial interests pointed towards the Bristol Bus Boycott/Bus Station and the slave trade exhibition that was in the M Shed. However, we have decided to discuss ideas around the buses because few people know much about the Bus Boycott. The bus station can also be seen as a ‘non-place’ which according to Marc Augé are spaces “where the human beings remain anonymous and that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as “places”.” Therefore, by creating an installation for this it could create a more interesting experience for people as they catch buses.

Sketches of our ideas on post-it notes

It led us to come up with two ideas (see illustrations above). Cristiano suggested to actually use the bus as the installation. Screens could be installed on each window showing a video of the time of the protests which plays with the motion of the bus and pauses when it stops. A sensation of immersion would come from the experience of being on the bus and the event being related to the boycott that happened in the past.

We could further develop this idea to use the screens to show the exterior environment outside the bus that would be connected to GPS and make use of augmented reality to pin figures and people in places where protests occurred. We also looked at Dutch designer Ilse Heesterbeek who came up with a similar design using touch-screen smart windows installed on buses to display historical information about the place that users are travelling through.

Our second idea is to use the bus tickets, whether they are paper-based or on the phone, as pieces of a puzzle or multiple puzzles. Scanning the ticket at a physical artefact would show the progress of an image related with the historical event on a screen. The more tickets that get scanned, the more of the image is revealed. If one image is revealed another puzzle starts with a different image.

We initially thought about having the scanning installation in the bus station while people are waiting. However, further discussions led to the idea of having these puzzles at individual bus stops and getting people to scan their tickets before or after getting off the bus to see collective progress. There would a screen and scanner installed at each bus stop and the puzzles could reveal images related to the bus boycott or particular areas of history related to the specific location of the bus stop.

Next Steps

Within the next week, our main task is to decide between our two ideas and document exactly how we would envision the interaction to play out. We will then be creating a design brief for this to include a summary, context around what we would like our project to achieve, what problem is that we are trying to solve, our target audience or who is going to be impacted, the constraints, and how detailed our prototype will be. We will also need to put together a schedule for the project to plan when we will do our prototyping and final documentation.