Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ideation for Design Briefs

Following my previous post on my design intention, I've started my ideation for my design briefs.

I conceptualized 2 very different briefs to test different parts of the inter-connected system in order to see which approach is more impactful for system-change but the objective is the same: Time Well Spent - Fortify a screen/tech-sensible society with healthy, resilient and spirited people who will be ready to lead an AI powered future. 
(Kaboompics, 2019)
The 1st brief starts from a social level with intention to stimulate a balanced physical/digital sensorial mind-body experience and encourage social interaction for multiple users, this action plan hopes to lead to a Meso level impact with nation-wide discourse and campaign. This brief looks at achieving overall balance well-being (social, physical, digital, mental) through interactions, play and experiences

The 2nd brief begins with a user level and is more abstract / experimental, which may also come from a speculative angle. It’s more focused on creating personal wellness experiences, self-care routines, developing therapeutic tools and building screen-sensible environments for users to rest and sleep better. This brief looks at targeting personal wellness (sleep hygiene and tranquility) through self-care and slow living.

Design Brief #1
Design an interactive activity or game that involve both physical attributes and digital possibilities to educate people on living a healthier lifestyle with a digital/life balance, the activity challenges people to engage in conversations, physical activity, motor skills, creativity and imagination.

Excessive recreational screen time causes a lack of human interaction and it also disrupts different domains; people tend to snack more while on screens, people find it harder to fit in physical activity, people are not getting enough sleep, and all of these lead to an increased risk of mental and physical health problems
An alliance of physical attributes and digital possibilities is necessary as an increasingly digitized world is becoming one that limits challenges to our bodies and minds, preventing it from achieving optimal sensory, motor skills, creativity, and imagination. As much as digital streamlines many physical processes, we shouldn’t lose the tactile characteristics, feel and value that only comes from physical.
The interactive activity or game should help raise awareness about the impacts of excessive screen time on society, health and family. It might be useful to help them get started on boosting physical activity and adapting better lifestyle choices. 
From ActiveSG on-site interviews: People don’t believe that backing away from technology is the way forward, they also feel that technology is replacing many physical processes that consist of unique tactile characteristics, feel and value. Many people agree that both physical and digital should work together to create better experiences.
From ActiveSG questionnaire results: Challenges are the 2nd most popular format (behind short film) people prefer to learn about achieving a healthy balance for screen time.
Reason for not choosing short film (504 votes): It’s not as interactive as challenges. Challenges (478 votes) can be incorporated in a social setting and people can be more engaged in the physical and mental activities

Approaching the brief
Concept: The Physical/Digital Equalizer for Wellness
Objective: Stimulate interactive bonding among people and help support each other in achieving a healthy digital/life balance with good mix of physical action, imagination and meaningful use of digital tools to achieve mind-body engagement.
Design themes: Citizen Designer
Categorization: Game Design, UI/UX Design 

Proposed card game design: How Long Can You Survive? 
An interactive card game system that incorporates different challenges that engage skills and mind.
Card games are generally social activities and social engagement is an important factor for a happy and fulfilling life. Interactive card games can boost better mental health and memory; they also improve thinking skills and help with concentration, patience and discipline. Playing a card game with friends and family is a great way to relax and unwind as well.
Part of the game can be digitized into a mobile app to save resources such as plastic tokens, plastic trophies, sand timer and optional card decks can be refreshed with new content easily (Guess What, Crack That and Challenge Accepted). Players have to train themselves to resist mobile phone temptations and distraction as their Health Points will be deducted if they exit the Card game app/browser. The game should take place mostly in the physical setting while the digital app acts as a support system. This was actually inspired by games such as Spyfall, SpaceTeam and Forest App.

Spyfall is game that requires deduction, bluffing, probing questions, clever answers and imagination. What's interesting is they have digitized the concept from card game to an online browser to save resources, the main gameplay is still in the physical world, the browser only helps to generate the spy and location, players then put their phones down and start the gameplay by asking questions.

Spaceteam is an online game that requires players to connect through the same wifi and win by cooperating. I was thinking of creating a mobile app that can link up all the players.

I shared my card game ideas with Nur and Andreas and they told me to proceed with testing the game play before starting on the mobile application / UX flow. I have printed the first version and will testing it with my friends.

Similar/Related to Design Brief #1:
Card game: Singaporean Dream (Some physical activities involved), Organ Attack (Conventional)
Interactive exhibition: Museum of the World’s Deadliest Weapons VR experience by Health Promotion Board
Movement: 10,000 Step Challenge by Singtel
Challenge: Healthy lifestyle initiatives and interventions may come across too educational and prescriptive.
Opportunities: Card/board games can make a comeback, as a backswing to technology, when more people start to crave for tactile and tangible experiences. 

(Burst, 2019)

Design Brief #2 
Design a product, system or spatial solution for the bedroom that enables people to sleep and rest better so they can feel fresh and free of fatigue in the morning.

Excessive screen time before bedtime causes people to sleep later, keeps them alert and awake, resulting in poor sleeping habits, which cause long term effects such as lower mental performance, cognitive function and processing speed. Research by shows that people are not getting enough sleep, resulting in impulsivity, being more emotional, less rational and making poor decisions.
From ActiveSG questionnaire results: Bedroom is the 2nd most common place (behind commuting) where people use their mobile phones/portable devices during recreational time, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, people don’t wake up feeling rested and alert.
Reason for not choosing Commuting (809 votes): Using phones while commuting causes less harm compared to using phones in bed (640 votes) as it can affect sleep hygiene which is more detrimental.
The product/system/spatial solution should help raise awareness about the impacts of excessive screen time on sleep and wellbeing. The interventions should help regulate the process of users putting their phones down and discourage usage until the next morning.

Approaching the brief
The bedroom is a space that is mainly for restful purposes, sleeping and body recovery time but many people are having an active digital life even on their bed. The light from devices prevent a proper shutdown of our systems as our body confuses this light as daylight and stops producing melatonin, a natural sleep induce in our body. The constant stream of information keeps minds active and alert, which allow stress, worry and mental stimulation to eat into our bedtime. Technology is supposed to help streamline many formerly time consuming processes to achieve productivity and efficiency so we can have more time for important things such as sleep, but how come Singapore is still a sleep-deprived nation? This brief asks you to design a solution that enables people to ditch their devices and minimize their screen time usage while in the bedroom. We are looking for a human-centered solution that allows people to acknowledge that the bedroom is a sleep sanctuary. The solution requires a need of peacefulness, like a true refuge from the world of digital media distractions. The final product should be a space to allow rest and restore energies. Consider the usage of both physical and digital possibilities.

Concept: Slumber Wellness / Wellness Through Repose
Objectives: Minimize screen time in beds to allow rest and recharge, making sure of sufficient sleep.
Design themes: Objects & Representation, Future Identities
Categorization: Interactive Design, Product Design

Proposed system: The Protest Room /  Battle of Your Attention / Needy Objects / The Gentle Protest

I was thinking that children have adults to set screen time regulations for them but there are no zoning laws for adults so how can we actually help ease screen-time? I thought of a more provocative concept where I speculate a future where society is incredibly obsessed with their phones and they are giving these digital devices too much attention.

From my probe kit findings, people are more motivated to take care of their health / be more aware because they are concerned for their children / future generations so I was thinking what if the objects in the bedroom behave and act like their loved ones? This is just an idea I thought of and have not refined, in a future of smart home system where all objects are connected, what if the bed wants your attention and wants you to sleep (primary function) so it starts vibrating (and gets more intense) till you put your phone down. What if the lamp wants to switch off and rest too, and starts blinking as a sign of protest, what if the air-conditioner becomes warmer and warmer and you have no choice but to put your phone down and go to bed. These are needy objects trying to protest on behalf of your body, they want you to care more for your wellbeing instead of giving so much attention to digital media, this bedroom collective wants to help you get uninterrupted sleep and rest.

It may be an interesting exhibition to create awareness and discourse but I'm not sure if people would really adopt this method in real life to regulate their screen usage. It doesn't sound very feasible that people would be willing to put themselves through this. I proposed this to Andreas and he thought its interesting and told me to develop further which also means I would need to work with automation engineers for this smart home system. I did ask my engineer/programmer friends - Steve and Jason, they both said its a little difficult but possible to do. However I was sharing this idea with more people and most of them say that they would never activate this system to control their screen-time usage. I did more research and found similar designs by Simone Rebaudengo, he was looking at addicted products. He has toasters that are suicidal.

Addicted Products is a real fictional service that questions the model of constant ownership and proposes a scenario in which a product can be shared without the active decision of a person, but based on its own needs as a product.

Nur suggested that I look into wellness therapy instead of going for this provocative intervention. So right now I'm looking at many sleep tech gadgets or possible offline activities as alternatives to mobile devices.

(Mars, 2019)
I proposed sleepwear /sleep tech to Andreas and he was really excited. Right now what I have found are,

The Wellness Nordic Rocking Chair: Rocking you gently to slumberland (I saw this at the Singapore Enabling Festival 2019 1 week ago)
High tech pyjamas: Fibres work to move sweat away from skin and keep body temperature at an optimum level for good quality sleep.
Smart homes - Nokia’s Sleep device: Track your slumber patterns, can adjust the lighting and temperature for when you get in and out of bed.
Bryte Smart Bed: Robotic bed that can automatically adjust the temperature, customise support for different parts of the body and even rock a person to sleep.
Socialight by MA design student SVA NYC: A phone-activated table lamp for a distraction-free dining experience.
Illume lamp by MA design student Rhode Island School of Design: Only turns on when two smartphones have been placed on the base to wirelessly charge, encourages conversation
Challenge and opportunities: -Still in research stage-

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