W20 - We are arriving there

Our team pushed so hard to make what we got from ideation session into a service at the beginning of the week. We defined two concept areas namely: five senses of Abisko and time travel. The later ties strongly back into CIRC's research, as in "the more data you collected, the more accurate you can predict the future." That's one of the values of research - to find out patterns in the past and then foresee the consequence in the future. It gives a volume and depth of the information that we need to convey, while five senses is more about experience the information in an entertaining way since the tourists go to Abisko to enjoy their vacation.

Mind mapping of Abisko

Ideation, more ideation

I went through a crisis to connect auditory or taste experience with research information, which has a certain level of complicity. These modalities are nice in terms of carrying saddle information in an experimental manner, but not appropriate for research or stories, at least cannot stand alone. We were constantly balancing between the amount of information embedded and the level of entertainment in the service. 

mapping of entertainment and information

Back to our mission, it's an information service (if we are really pushing this into a service) instead of an experience service or service that creates value. Examples of information services can be a library experience, social media platforms or newspaper delivery etc. What we consume is the information and in our case, the research. What we can achieve within the frame is trying to find out a more engaging, interesting and understandable way to deliver the information to tourists who are bored in Abisko since they don't know what to do except waiting for the aurora at night. 

I was listening to Kevin's idea of a vertical layer travelling elevator box early Tuesday morning in H&H. The solution to arrange and map out the research areas in a logical and consumable way was pretty impressive. But my concern was that what we've been doing is trying to avoid installation which is still and static. There is nature out there and the best experience is still to pose yourself in the real environment instead of having a fake projection to recreate the experience somewhere else. For me this is not an honest experience. And I really don't want to push the experience into an amusement park theme just because nowadays people cannot concentrate on something complicated anymore. I don't want to collude in making people think less and become lazy by turning everything into a game.

Don't sit and talk, visualise something, try out something

With these unresolved doubts, questions and concerns, we tried a rough prototype session in the elevator at school. The outcome was mind-blowing and untied my concerns into a different direction. One thing we found out was the benefit of making an isolated environment help people to concentrate on the auditory experience since your other senses are not working. I managed to focus on the story better than sitting in a sofa listening to podcast. And this finding tied back to my concern of using projector to recreate something. If it's audio only then it's not a recreation of movie experience anymore. It has its unique element that nature doesn't have. What we constantly compared to was the planetarium experience last Friday. It was fascinating because there's no other way to witness and see planets in real and in that case projection is a meaningful and honest way to create the experience. Rebuild is fake but recreation is not.

One thing I figured out was even we only have the elevator as a single physical evidence, if the user consume different information in multiple times, we can still argue that it is a service. The question is: do we really wanna build just an amusement park in STF? Maybe.

One thing I figured out was even we only have the elevator as a single physical evidence, if the user consume different information in multiple times, we can still argue that it is a service. The question is: do we really wanna build just an amusement park in STF? Maybe.

Elevator experience test: it was so dark inside that no pictures could be taken. My only concern is that this won't scare people off since the space is so small and dark. But we might use it as an advantage as well, as in it creates an isolate experience which helps user to concentrate and be immersed.

The auditory experience for me left a lot more space for imagination. If you think of a 3D imax movie experience, it really tries hard to convince you that the movie is happening. And you are passively, impressed by what the story wanna feed you. That's why I loving reading so much because I can have my own interpretation of the story, what it looks like. I loving listening to music and most of time I have no idea what the members of the band look like. This is not even important.

Thursday update: Service design is ambiguous

What are the elements of a service? I was getting lost in this constrains or definitions of multiple locations, multiple physical evidences, multiple times and multiple tasks. For instance, is iPhone a service or not? It's a single physical evidence, but if you think of the multiple tasks and the build-on progressive interaction, then we can argue that it is a service because it provides a sequence of information and constantly changes information/experience. And any product we use in our life can be expanded into a service if you think of the before and after life span of a product. The problem is that there's no manual or standard to justify whether a design is a service or not, just like interaction design. There are some ambiguous guidelines but they are not absolute.

And if you think about a standard expansion, an app or website is so pervasive and I agree they solve a lot of problems. But is there a better way to introduce the service, which is more related to the context? In our case since tourists are already talking to each other, then why not use this as the beginning of the service, or at least, our story. Of course there will be an app or website as a standard element to promote the service, or make it tangible, an information wall, but why not use the behaviour that is already there to tie back to our context? I think both ways work. But we have to somehow choose whether to go for a standard flow, which is of course more understandable, or a not standard flow, which makes it as a unique story.

Besides, our situation is whether we go for building up the experience in different channels with similar information (learn-memory-share) or we focus on the flow of the information (learn-share) especially how it is spread out. They are different stories and either way can be justified. But not in a same one.

Friday update: An end is a beginning

I was fascinated by the mechanism behind persuasion. Convince yourself is hard. Convince others is even harder and there's probably no way to convince a person. What you can do is either, talk about your opinion and wait until others realise that you have a point, or use the statement from the third party i.e. research, user test etc. And the moment that you are able to agree on something without compromise, is truly impressive and wonderful.

That's why I love working in a team though sometimes it's frustrated as hell. You are constantly finding justifications to convince yourself and others, which pushes you to think through all the possibilities logically and make your ideas stronger. You have to understand what your teammates think and be ready for surprise. You will face the problem of running out of time and squish execution all into the last week before deadline. With all these challenges coming along, I'm still fascinated by the moment that your teammate eventually understand and advocate for your idea, and vice versa. Even there's always the impossibility of not being able to understand completely, understanding is, in general, beautiful.

And then I was wondering whether I have something to improve when playing in a team. Maybe I should make my attitude clearer, at least let others know whether I agree or disagree, and why. But the problem is, there's not enough time to form up your own idea if the team spends too much time in discussion, and it's really hard to point out a strong argument right on the spot to support your agreement or disagreement. Then what you can say is only " I feel like blablabla", which is not strong enough to convince others and the loop goes on until it is somehow out of control and then we realise we probably talked too much. And there's always this human nature to fill in the "pause" in a conversation just for the sake of keep the conversation going on. Then the information is easily shifted into not important areas and we lose the efficiency gradually. 

What I really tried to do is: to say the things which are truly important, to listen and think before I argue for something, to speak out that I need sometime to speculate, to suggest a way of thinking or questions that can help move on. I'm not afraid of pausing. I'm not afraid of making mistakes and coming up with the not so brilliant idea at the first place. 

And I love listening to music when working in a team and take turn DJing. Bluetooth speaker is awesome.

I'm glad that finally we are arriving there.

Just a thought

About storytelling. I was wondering who's my favourite storyteller, both from movies or literature. Since the information you see is richer than the information you read, it's more difficult for a director to leave the gaps and imagination for the audience than a writer. And this makes it not easy for me to choose a good storyteller from movie industry, because I'm always distracted by the technics and style in a movie. And I don't know if a beautiful story is enough for a director to claim that he's a good storyteller.

I've been fascinated by Milan Kundera for a quite long period. He's a really nice storyteller, as in the simplicity, the wit, the beauty, the empathy.