IDENTITY & INTERACTION DESIGN

Virtual v/s World

An interactive awareness campaign that informs and engages users about the change in human social behaviour due to the increasing use of virtual assistant devices. 

 

Premise

Every year in April, Rochester Institute of Technology holds an event named 'Imagine RIT' wherein students get to create engaging exhibits or display projects. (www.rit.edu/imagine)

For this event, I had intended to create an interactive exhibit to bring awareness about the 'Eliza Effect' 

Due to Covid-19, this event was cancelled and the exhibit did not come to fruition. This project is therefore in its nascent stages

 

The 'Eliza' Effect

Eliza Effect refers to the phenomenon of unconsciously assuming that computer behaviours are analogous to human behaviours or the susceptibility of people to read far more understanding than is warranted into strings of symbols—especially words—strung together by a line of code. It was named after 'Eliza' the first chatbot ever designed by Joseph Weizenbaum

In recent years, with the increasing use of virtual assistant devices, there has been a shift in human social behaviour. Our devices have altered the way we perceive social cues without us even noticing

 

Objectives

Inform

Make people aware of how the use of virtual assistant devices is affecting their social lives

Engage

Give them opportunities to make a change that impacts their lives in a positive way

Reflect

Allow for people to be able to look back on the actions taken, to prompt continuous change

 

Scope

  • Virtual assistants are used by a large audience ranging from as little as 10 to 65 years old - implying that this change in social behaviour could affect a large fraction of society.
     

  • Of those with virtual assistant devices, 47.4% use their device at least once daily. And this percentage is expected to increase as new updates and features are released.
     

  • Most users belong to the younger age spectrum wherein behavioural traits can be easily influenced
     

  • Since these devices are relatively new, we are still in the beginning stages of the behavioural evolution. Any change made now will have a larger impact.

 

User Journey

 

Method

Engaging with our physical environment reminds us of what makes us human - the ability to feel. By promoting non-digital interactions, we can build a stronger connection with ourselves, our family and communities.

 

Although limiting device time isn't new, other solutions make use of app locks and data visualization to show the amount of usage without providing alternate activity options. By gamifying the experience of cutting down device time, we can provide the user with a positive mechanism that allows users to make a change.

For this exhibit, I decided to use card based interactions to build the change-making experience. Card based interactions are intuitive, nostalgic and allow for mobility because of their size.

 

  • Bold: uses bright colors, high contrast and heavy weight typography.
     

  • Conversational: first person statements, casual yet comfortable language
     

  • Thought provoking: ideas and thinking points that go beyond the moment

Design Direction

 

Name & Logo

In order to intrigue the audience, the name needs to be one that is easy to understand but open to interpretation. Hence, the name 'Virtual v/s World'.

The colors black and blue are used to show the contrast between reality and virtual experiences. The typeface used, 'Fredoka One' is informal and friendly to encourage interaction.

Lo-fi iterations

Hi-fi iterations

 

Card Design

Following the design direction stated above, the cards have been designed to have high contrast to grab users' attention. The front of the card has a prompt that consists of a strong push statement followed by an alternate option. The back of the card explains the prompt further, while providing space for recording the action. The prompts have been designed based on common virtual assistant requests.

Hi-fi iterations

1/6
 

Poster Design

The posters have been designed to provide more context and thinking points to the audience at the event, and keep in theme with the direction of the campaign. The idea behind the concept is to create a sense of eeriness for the audience to push them to take action at the event.

 

Layout

Illustrated below are two layout options for the exhibit at Imagine RIT - the exhibit would include a display of the posters, a rack display for the action cards, a monitor with a live Instagram feed showing how people are interacting with the card, prizes for playing the game and a looping video.

The layouts below were designed to be set up in a corner space of any room to create a confrontational ambience. 

 

Moving Forward

In order to make a large scale impact, we must aim to engage the user beyond the time limits of the Imagine RIT event. To ensure that this can happen, all the action cards are made available digitally in an open Google Drive folder, so that users unable to attend the event can participate from their homes. This also helps the exhibit live beyond its time at the event.

By making the cards available to the public, we can promote awareness en masse, create a community of change and make a positive impact.

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© 2020 by Mriganka Gupta.