Friday, 21 August 2015

FMP:Designing Meaning

In this post, I am writing about my own thought, probably won't really reference much as  back ups for the idea I have in my mind, as this is not an academic piece of writing I suppose this is okay from time to time.

Henry Ford said: Every object tells a story, if you know how to read i[t. This quote sort of explained the idea fairly well, everything that has been produces contain some kind of meaning with itself when it has been sold to a customer. Yet the meaning of this very object will depends on how it's been used by its owner. I do understand that  this is kind of cheating for saying everything has a meaning but it relies on a person to define it. But I honestly think this is fairly true. A meaningful object to one does not mean it will also be meaningful for another person. Meaning by its definition, it's "what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated;signification; import:"

In designer's view, something that is important may not go the same with the consumers. This is going back to the experience model from Marc Hassenzahl.

Meaning is a personal thing, there is no rules or guidance towards meaning but purely generated from inside one's mind. We do not get attached on the same thing for everybody, there is a preference and there is story behind everyone, thus everyone is going to be different.

So what do I mean by bringing meaningful experience towards consumers? since nothing is meaningful for everyone, how can you possibly design an interaction in this regard. And to be honest, I can't. I can't do it for everything for everyone, I know its complexity in this topic. The reason I chose to pick this topic is that I feel IoT has been quite a buzz on the internet and a market. People enjoy the thought of having automatic everything or long distance monitoring/controlling things, this illusions of living in the future. And many manufactures will also solely produce such products which only because this is a new trend and just for the sake of earning money, they make it. Even the company I worked for asked me to develop a "Cheap" but "Reliable" project for people to turn a light on in London from New York. 

Here I am not criticizing those company are just money whore, what I wanted to say is, we should start thinking of bringing a much deeper meaning things to the market. Now that we have better understanding of many problems we should solve, by designing things that could solve problem from the core is one of the definitions I think is meaningful. Back to the topic, even thought I can't design objects that is meaningful to everyone, but i could design a object that is meaningful enough to the matter itself.

By meaningful enough to the matter itself, I mean the object is directly related to and has direct effects on its target thing it is designed to address. Everything is designed for a purpose, rather it's for someone in love, pain, for a better living, an easier operation of certain tasks or just entertainment. if that particular object is addressing the matter to its core, I would say it is a meaningful design. 

For intense, persuasive technology in my thesis, Why is that I dont think Carla Diana's example really isn't meaningful enough, it is still carries a meaning but not quite there, is because her examples only express "information", like most of the commercial products, they only show information, and hoping the users will change their behavior solely one the information they have been shown. Studies suggested that this type of persuasion will only have short term effect, and for those small number of samples that lasted long term, they are changing their behaviors for the sake of numbers, achievements, competitions. In an other words, they didn't do it for the purpose of better health or better world but an irreverent purpose.

Nike Fuel band is one of the examples of numbers driven activities 

So I think it is pretty clear that in terms of persuasive object of IoT, I am trying to figure out a different approach to the matter, I am trying to solve an issue from the heart of a person rather than showing numbers or forcing people to do so and praying they will truly accept the alternatives. Because people really don't like changes, including me, as it is easier to not change. in order to achieve the goal of this "Change" number itself will not be enough and thus in this context, not meaningful enough.

There are still many thins that need to be proved/disproved in order to support this theory, and I do understand that it could be wrong at many points, but this is what I am thinking at the moment and I am hoping to support the argument from my project and thesis rather than using this as a support to my paper. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

FMP: Persuasive Technology

Persuasive Technology is broadly defined as technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviors of the users through persuasion and social influence, but not through coercion. Dr. BJ Fogg was one of the first people who started the idea and practicing experiments in the 1990s. Eventually developed a behaviour model of his own.

The model is constructed with three elements, Trigger, Ability, and Motivation. Theses three elements formed, for what we know, behaviours. For instance, When your mobile rings, what could be the reason for you not to answer the call i.e. was in a meeting, was in the shower/restroom, or did not feel like talking to that person...etc. In this simple situation, mobile phone rings, is the trigger, in the shower so could not answer the phone, is the ability, did not want to talk to that person, is the motivation. These all three factors have to happen in the same moment one after the other in order to initiate a behaviour. missing one then the behaviour would not happen. 

This model clearly demonstrate that behaviour does not come easily but through a close relationship with  human psychology (motivation). Before we begin to change behaviours, we should understand how people is triggered and motivated to the matter, as well as their ability of performing such behaviour. 

Fogg then further propose a behavior grid, that shows method  for matching target behaviors with solutions for achieving those behaviors.

Each fifteen way of changing behaviour represent different psychology strategies and persuasive technique. And for different behaviour you are persuading should apply different method. 

Persuasive technology is already been widely applied in the digital space of our world, facebook, google, amazon and more are the example of persuasive technology. for example, Facebook could send you an email notification about a photo you are tagged in, that is the trigger, then depends on the situation, you could immediately click the link to see that photo, motivation in this case is already there as you are urge to see what photo is that. Once you are on facebook you might common the photo or start browsing other contents. This persuasion is been done so well that we are not even aware of it. 

Any online advertisement could be its own persuasive technology, they encourage the audience to perform something they did not originally intended. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

FMP: Operand Conditioning

I have mentioned Operand Conditioning in the last post, saying some products or services use this technique to change one's behavior. The principle seems pretty simple but I think it is still worthwhile to explore the technique further.

Operand conditioning is a learning process in which behavior is sensitive to, or controlled by its consequences. For example, a child may learn to open a box to get the candy inside, or learn to avoid touching a hot stove. In contrast, classical conditioning causes a stimulus to signal a positive or negative consequence; the resulting behavior does not produce the consequence. For example, the sight of a colorful wrapper comes to signal "candy", causing a child to salivate, or the sound of a door slam comes to signal an angry parent, causing a child to tremble. The study of animal learning in the 20th century was dominated by the analysis of these two sorts of learning, and they are still at the core of behavior analysis.

In an other words, Behaviors have consequences, there are two main types of consequences: Reinforcement and Punishment, each one of them has two types of consequences: Positive and Negative. Reinforcement is to increase the tendency of the target behavior will occur, Positive Reinforcement is to add an extra thing to increase the possibility, I.e. rewards. Negative Reinforcement is something that it's been taken away in an effort to increase the tendency of target behavior occurs, I.e. completing target reinforcement will remove any warning sounds/sights.

Punishment on the other hand, is to decrease the target behavior will occur again, same with reinforcement, Positive Punishment is adding something, Negative Punishment is to take something away.

So what product uses Operand Conditioning to change your behavior, Nike Run app is a pretty good example. The app tracks your work out duration and distance and over pace, when you meet a certain level you can unlock the "trophies" to honor your effort. this is, to me, a straight Positive Reinforcement. By rewarding you "achievements" (trophies) to increase the tendency of "target behavior" (working out)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

FMP: Aesthetic of Friction- Marc Hassenzahl

A famous psychology experiment of giving a small child one marshmallow, and tell him/she if they can resist eating that marshmallow, they can get two later on. The result mainly show that the kid will attempt to resist eating that marshmallow but mostly fail in the end. This in psychology is called "temporal discounting" 

Temporal Discounting is a tendency to give greater value to rewards as they move away from their temporal horizons and towards the "now". However, the preference reversal occurs when both rewards are set to be the future by a little difference, for example, a £100  in a week or a £150 in a week and a half, they usually choose to wait a week and a half. But, when the little reward comes to now, the preferences maybe reversed again. Pigeons have the same tendency over the preferences. 

So what does this have to do with the interaction design, or just design world in general?

Lets say we want to change one's health state by convincing him not to consume too much sugar. In this case, the little reward is eating sugar, the large future reward is a healthier body. Yet the idea of better health is abstract and vague, you maybe able to persuade a person in a short term, but in the long run, persuasion will turn into a self-regulation. with the uncertainty of future reward( a vague idea of health), the person might prefer the little immediate reward (eating sugar). And this is where persuasive technology comes in.

Persuasive technology is designed to change attitudes or behaviours of the users through persuasion and social influence, not through coercion.

The persuasive technology model are fairly simple, they usually provide basic information and feedback, nor employ a very simple model of conditioning behaviour.


(Conditioning Behaviour/Operant Conditioning  )

Although persuasive technology offers feedback or operant conditioning, human is much more complicated than pigeons even we have the same time-discounting. Human have insight of the world and cannot be forced in to a motivation machines. They need something else help them to transform, to trick them into motivation.

To achieve this, we must forget the socialised culture of design, which is making things easy and convenient, because the aesthetic convenience does not instill change. What we actually need, is an aesthetic of friction, through this friction, but not a coercion, people will then to start behave like the way that object is meant to deliver. 

Although Marc Hassenzahl did not mention anything about meaningful experience in his presentation, I feel this still could be a definition for it, and it is very different from what Carla Diana has given, right here he focus more on the psychology side of interaction, base on psychological studies and design to shape a person's behaviour in a better way, or not!

What's interesting is that the projects he shows on the surface all have very clear statement of what it is trying to express, but the user still owns a choice of accepting the message or not, in an other word, the devices are not trying to force people into a motivation, just like he said, human cannot be forced to become something, all they need is a trigger which to help them develop the behaviour themselves. 
The devices make the suggestion and still offer choices is what draws me into his thinking. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

FMP: Meaningful Design with IoT?- Carla Diana

Internet of Things, by Henry Holtzman's quote, used to be something with RFID tag inside them. IoT was meant to be objects that has some sort of digital shadow(RFID), and we have a database for everything to allow as to manipulate, share and short in a virtual environment. Yet this idea was originated in the 1990s. The meaning of internet of things has become something else in the recent years.

Right now internet of things might mean something that  actually have embedded processors in them and can achieve some form of communication. The interesting thing is, they did not anticipate to have that many device having a computing power, the anticipation was having cheap RFID tags, yet they did not get cheaper as quickly as microchips or processors. 

The interaction we have with IoT no longer remaining having to say "Here is what I'm doing and here is why I'm doing it, now help me" but assist us in a automatic and intuitive way.

There are a lot of expectation in the future of IoT, twitting banana? smart toilets? all short of possibilities, but why would you want a twitting banana anyway? what is the meaning hides within? How do we design a meaningful products for IoT? and how do we figure that out?

Carla said, a meaningful object of IoT, has the ability to turn things into knowing, because their connections to the internet.
(Hierarchy of Meaning)

The data is the rawest form of information, when a data is translated into a more organised language then it becomes information. And we take the information and translated it again into a more human form, we have knowledge. However, the wisdom is something that becomes to large for a single device to handle, it should require a larger system of serverise or psychology...etc to achieve a decent result. 

Carla organises these knowledge into three main frameworks: The knowledge about selves, knowledge about others and knowledge about the world.

What Carla has suggested about the meaningful design with IoT, in a simple term is to create a knowledge with the object and not just information. And it is something that ambient around us that provide us the knowledge instead of using computers and keyboards to visualise all the datas into something we read. its more of a physical approach to the matter instead of simple graphics and numbers. 

This is quite an interesting topic, I mean I often wonder that what exactly is meaningful design to us. the word "meaning" is extremely hard to define and usually only related and matters to individuals. But if we look in a much broader view, we could find some common in between those individuals and trying to conclude what cloud be a meaningful design. And Carla's point is actually pretty convincing in a way. By delivering knowledge to a user, and if the user care about this knowledge, then the device would be a meaningful design.