Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Prototype

My final prototype is a sketch in a video format that displays different user scenarios. I tried to highlight very specific situations during the video chat, concentrating on awkwardness or embarrassment as areas of intervention.

The strengths of my project at this point, are the emotional escape and the external entertainment addition to the video chat. I feel that it requires further development in many aspects. Some of the improvements that came to my mind were adding more interactive possibilities by designing motion and image tracking system, add more icons besides the smiley faces and make it optional for the users to upload their own icons.
On my final presentation I got very interesting points of view about my project. One of the interesting ideas that were put forth was that the emoticons are complementing the text messages by providing visual expression that the text itself is missing. I was advised for my future iterations to try to find what is actually missing in video chat communication. This might lead my project to a very interesting result.

This project is mostly conceptual uptil now. I need to further Test and research the project. This would be very interesting and beneficial for future application development. I did a lot of research and user testing, learned a lot from experiment and Feedbacks. I was triggered for this project by my personal experience but I found out through the process that when I seek to develop a tool or an application for a target user, it’s crucial to understand their needs and behavior patterns. This process sometimes might entirely change the objective of the project.

Friday, December 5, 2008

testing reflect...

I did user testing by prototyping the video chat with the photo boot application on my mac that people were recorded to, and combined it with simple, small yellow notes with smiley faces on them. People assigned to simulate a conversation on video chat and try to use those smiley cards if they fell that they want or need to use them.

I got very interesting results and responses, one of the most interesting details is that no one covered his face with the card, they showed it to the camera, at the bottom of the screen, from the side but never covered the face.
People were amused by the idea but very strongly preferred their own face as the emotional expression, but at the same time they liked the idea to be able add some external graphics to the video chat, something that will complement their conversation, but not change it.

To summarize the prototyping: People are interested and open mostly to additional visuals in their video chats but at the same time they prefer their real face for emotional transformation.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It worked!

I figured how to position another layer on top of the video, so now I can start work on one of the biggest challenges for me right now , the as3 to create the emoticons.

first draft:

I just created the most basic html page and embedded the ToxBox, now I will try to find a way to locate something on top of it.

video chat app:

I tried to decide how to apply emoticons to a video chat, I searched the common video chats that I familiar with: skype, msn messenger, ichat, gmail chat... but there is something over used about most of them that make it hard for me to apply my idea on them. Therefore I tried to find a way to create my own video chat that might be the best solution for this project, but unfortunately I don't have the skills or the time to make it happen.
Then a found that very simple, clean user friendly video chat app, and it can be embedded to my own site!
I need keep my video output as simple as I can to emphasis the face and especially the facial emotions, keep it clean of any other additional gadgets, and communication canals as text messages.
perfect!!! :)))

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feedback from 12/3/08 class:

My main problem at this point was the actual visualization of the emoticons as part of the video chat conversation, I do want to keep them simple, general and abstract because these are the reasons why I wanted to incorporate the emoticons into to the live chat. But if I will use just those icons as pop ups on top of the video it might look very lame. It might be to direct, maybe in an offensive way, to oblivious. So the development after today's class is keep the abstraction, but use animated icons instead of the steel images. It will add another layer to the conversation, and actually when I use video, the animation/ the movement will be more organic.

Interesting reference for the animated emoticons:

*as3 : it the possible technology for my application.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tech design:


Mask of emotions:

"Since most people spend their days behind computers expressing emotions via colons and parentheses anyway, the Digital Media Design Dept at Hongik University figured they'd just be done with it all when they created the "Mask of Emotion." It displays LED emoticons that supposedly react to external stimuli, such as a smile when the wearer shakes hands with someone. Its creators say it was designed to hide real emotions and -- literally -- mask them with whatever is being presented on the mask."

FaceAlive Icons:

The seven basic expressions in JAFFE database.

"Facial expression is one of primary communication means of the human, and sometimes it is even more expressive than words. Today with the increasing popularity of advanced communication tools such as emails and short messages, more and more people have been communicating by various means without seeing each other. However, facial expressions are still greatly needed for the most of these conversations."

Pega Look@me

"Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph is a picture language; people carved their own words into stone.
However, after thousands of years, we are now going to use similar system again! The picture languge is indeed evolutionary.

The idea grew out from discovering how young generations communicate to each other with these half-symbol or half-text art and how honest they are to express their emotions boldly, just like saying “Hey guys, look at me!”

It also makes a strong statement about these crossed-intersection style symbols outperform formal languages during some small talk and reveals thet people’s foundness of something in between instead of precision wording in any formal languages.

There are 40 emoticon elements on the keyboard; each of them can be the eyes, mouth or nose. It is up to the users to design any cool expressions creatively.

Sketches / Prototypes

User Scenario:

story board...


(to the design criteria)

Design Criteria:


Main goal:

Context Analysis and Problem Statement:

Target User Group:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

some precedence...

Mask of emotions:

The final project, final statement.

Recognizing the mutual influence of human facial expressions and facial emoticons on communication, this project seeks to combine both forms into a single, more complete form to help users communicate more effectively in online video chats.

Thank you Morry...

Friday, November 28, 2008

More from The Impacts of Emoticons on Message Interpretation in Computer-Mediated Communication

non verbal behavior is thought to reflect general intentions, many of its forms are perceived by observers to be less controlled and deliberate than verbal utterances (seeKnapp, Wiemann, &Daly, 1978). Facial expressions are considered by some to be among the most controllable of nonverbal cues (Ekman & Friesen,1969). Yet, Birdwhistell (1970) reminds us that people “are not always aware that they are or are not smiling”(p.33). Furthermore, some forms of facial affect displays—those accompanying weeping, for example—are generally considered direct and involuntary representations of internal states (Kendon,1987). Typed-out textual symbols, whether verbal or iconic, may not be so involuntarily casual, in the minds of receivers. Relative to FtF nonverbal communication , emoticons may be considered more deliberate and voluntary. One may unconsciously smile FtF, but it is hard to imagine some one typing a :-) with less awareness than of the words he or she is selecting. Marvin(1995)recognized this phenomen on in her discussion of MOO interaction, stating that :
smiles in face-to-face contexts can be strategic or spontaneous and unintentional. In the context of the MOO... every smile must be consciously indicated. In private some thing flowing across the computer screen might cause a participant to spontaneously smile, but a conscious choice must be made to type it out; a participant might frown at the keyboard and but[sic]strategically decide to type a smile.

*these quotes are very good example for my own statement about emoticons an FtF facial expressions, the advantages of the emoticons over the real face expressions, therefore if there is something that FtF expressions luck of, it might be supported by emoticons by exporting them to the FtF communication.

Research notes...

The Impacts of Emoticons
on Message Interpretation in
Computer-Mediated Communication
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

- Emoticons are graphic representations of facial expressions that many email users embed in their mes-sages. These symbols are widely known and commonly recognized among computer-mediated communication (CMC) users, and they are described by most observers as substituting for the nonverbal cues that are missing from CMC in comparison to face-to-face communication.

- Another way in which e-mail users may imbue their messages with social meaningis
through the creation and use of“emoticons,”“smiley faces,”or“ relational icons”created
with typographic symbols that appear side ways as resembling facial expressions. As early as
1982, Hiltzand Tur off stated that “computer conferees also find ways to overcome the lack
of personal contact. They have even devised ways of sending computerized screams, hugs
and kisses”

- Rezabek and Cochenour (1998) defined emoticons as “visual cues formed from ordinary typographical symbols that when read sideways represent feelings or emotions” (p. 201). Thompson and Foulger (1996) referred to them as “pictographs” and described their use in CMC “to express emotion or as surrogates for nonverbal communication” (p. 226) “suggestive of facial expression . . . [add-ing] a paralinguistic component to a message” (p. 230).

- Danet, Ruedenberg-Wright, and Rosenbaum-Tamari (1997) also reflected this assump-
tion. Danet et al. defined emoticons as “icons for the expression of emotion, or for marking
one’s intent as non-serious. . . . The best known ones are a smile, wink, and frown, respec-
tively: :-) ;-) :-(.”

- In a content analysis of roughly 3,000 messages, they found that 13.2% contained emoticons (or intentional mis- spellings, punctuation, and other CMC-based textual graphics, which the researchers con- tend function in similar fashion). They also found that women (i.e., users using stereotypical female names) used these symbols approximately twice as frequently as men did. If one is to accept the use of these markers as attempted nonverbal usage, and therefore an attempt at an open display of affect, these findings support classic structures of gender communication (Quina, Wingard, & Bates, 1987), according to Witmer and Katzman. Wolf (2000) reported a similar propensity for emoticons being used primarily by women. She also found them used more frequently in mostly female online groups than in mostly male groups. In an interesting cross-gender accommodation, Wolf (2000) observed that in mixed-sex discussions, men’s use of emoticons rose to the level of women’s, rather than vice versa. However, women used emoticons primarily to express humor rather than sarcasm, whereas men used them for sar- casm more than humor. Rezabek and Cochenour (1998) also content-analyzed emoticon use online, but unlike Witmer and Katzman (1997), they limited their analysis to face representa- tions. In four academic Listservs, emoticons were present in 19.15% to 75% of messages, and in a sample of Usenet groups, 25% of messages. Approximately 53.5% of the face repre- sentations were :-) or :), 10% were ;-), whereas only 7.5% were :-( or :( in the combined samples.
*very important note for my research, actually , by rough generalization it makes me think that the different patterns of emoticons usage are outcome of different emotional behaviors, people that tend to be more emotional in face to face communications will use more emoticons.

- “if verbal and nonver- bal cues were relatively equal in strength when judged separately, the nonverbal cues domi- nated verbal ones when they were paired together”, “For emotive, relational, or attributional . . . outcomes, nonverbal cues account for varying but greater amounts of the meaning than verbal ones”.

- “the face is particularly important in judging positivity because receivers associate the smile with positivity, a link that has no analogue in the body and the voice”

Final Project - Research...

The human face is one of the most important tools that we use for interaction and communication. Changes in the appearance of one person’s face produce an effect in another person, which creates nonverbal communication between the two.
Another type of communication use text messages on different online networks, chats or mobile phones. That type of interaction seems to be very dominant and even more accessible, in a way, for very wide population that has a typical west modern way of life. As it appears, the usage of text messages for communication between people is very successful. However, more and more usage of facial expressions icons added to the “online/text language”. The first incarnation of our facial emotional reaction appeared as ASCII signs like: “:)”, “:(”, “;)” and etc. As the time goes on, the icons become more and more realistic: the “emoticons”. Xin Lia, Chieh-Chih Chang, and Shi-Kuo Chang Computer scientists at the University of Pittsburgh took it even further while developed software that takes the actual picture of a person’s face and creates more “emoticons” from it.
A fascinating process happens, the technology goes back and forward simultaneously, in one hand it develops more and more ways for artificial communication but in the same time, by increasing the technological skills, it goes back to the most reflective and primitive, and apparently the most effective way of communication; nonverbal communication via our facial expressions.
But this process is not the only interesting thing that happens; there is a remarkable influence of the online communication on our basic, face-to-face communication.
There is something about those “smiley faces” icons that sometimes works even better for certain situations. Maybe it is the generalization of the faces that creates more “safe” reaction, not committing, like a politically correct mask. The simplicity of the abstraction – maybe sometimes we just don’t need so many facial details for an interaction. More and more I find myself in need just to type that simple smiley face on my face, sometimes it seems the most appropriate reaction.

For my Interface final project I would like to explore that mutual connection between online and face-to-face communications, in a relation to the basics face emotional expressions.

"theanyspacewhatever" - Guggenheim Museum
First, with entering the museum, I was fascinating by its unique architecture that draws you in and derives you through itself. It is almost impossible to resist it, you unconsciously following the spiral architecture towards the exhibition. It is an outstanding combination of art, artists and space that come together as one big puzzle. However, the most interesting thing occurred to me while my friend Paola and I run into one of the exhibits’ guides and developed very interesting conversation about the current exhibition and the museum itself. In some point that guy, that I unfortunately can not remember his name, asked me for my thoughts about the exhibit, my first reaction happened to be very positive, and I started to give him some examples of what specific I like in it, and then very suddenly I just said: “you know actually, it’s just appeared to me that I find it very boring”. I think I scared my self by saying that, because it just came to me so unexpectedly. The guy’s response was even more surprising; he looked at me, smiled and said: very interesting that you saying that, because when I was talking with one of the artists of that exhibition he actually mentioned that one of his goals in his work is to make people really bored. He think that when people are get really bored of something, just then, they can really understand it deeply by paying attention to the smallest details”.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

and after many many many different iterations ...

The final project:
The target that we set ourselves was to make people stay longer and encourage them to interact with their surroundings by participating in activities that had no primary relation with the basic use of this particular public space – the bathrooms.
One of the main design creterias that led us through the process was its simplicity.
The culture and history associated with this space forced us to be extremely careful while adjusting to the space. In addition, we had to be very friendly to ensure that people felt comfortable with our objects. We wanted our objects to become part of the space but at the same time they had to be unusual enough to be noticed. We decided to focus on interaction through messages - that seemed to be a “safe” activity in such a place.

We wanted to create an activity that would encourage and reward the user – the success in completing even a part of a crossword is a reward that creates positive outcome within the user.

The decision to use magnetic letters was made on purpose to allow our users to participate easily. The questions that we choose to use were a mix of different knowledge areas to expand our target user as much as possible.

We placed the board periodicly in both bathrooms. As a result, we had great responses, people did stay longer in the bathrooms, and words were filled out. The easy questions were answered first and then some of the other were attempted. In the men’s bathrooms we got some creative additional words on the board.
We were very pleased with the final results of our project, we succeeded in making people stay longer in a space that they are usually uncomfortable in and try to escape as soon as possible, we also made them interact within the space and even with each other.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Public Bathrooms?!?!?

We chose public bathrooms, a unique “very public” space for a “very private” use, making it an interesting and challenging public space for study and observation. After comparing a number of public bathrooms in NY, we chose the Bethesda Fountain bathrooms for our project. This location is ideal for public bathrooms; it is in one of the most central areas in NY and is visited on a daily basis by a variety of people. During the observation we found out that people try to avoid any kind of interaction in this space and attempt to get out of there as soon as possible. This observation encouraged us to experiment; we attempted to make people stay longer in the unpleasent public bathrooms, and encouraged interaction with the space and it’s users.

The process involved many different iterations and we met with numerous challenges on the way.

Invetation to Interact...

This is the second interface major studio project that is all about public spaces and interaction in those public spaces.
The first assignment of this project was to choose a public space that we as a group ( Erica, Darcy, Iker and me) wont to observe and interact with it later on.
In some weird way, we agreed very quickly about our public space - public bathrooms!

we started the process with exploring and observing different public bathrooms all over NY.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Village Pet Store - Banksy

“Shoe-Be-Do” - the final prototype

In different cultures people used to take their shoes off when entering a home while in others, entering someone’s home without shoes might be considered rude.
In the USA and especially in New York shoes remain on, even though people in New York come from a variety of cultures and have very different “shoes habits”.
But, entering a house with the shoes on brings a lot of dirt inside the house and it’s very disturbing and annoying for people interested in keeping their floors clean. And at the same time they not feel comfortable asking their guests to take their shoes off. This problem leads us to the idea for a product that will solve that dirt problem.

“Shoe-Be-Do”, a doormat that will increase the awareness of cleaning the shoes before entering, will provide a solution for people who try to keep their floors clean without taking shoes off.

People already have doormats but they are useless, they have got used to them and basically ignore them, and they are nothing more than something they pass on their way.

The final prototype is:
Standard size doormat that we tried to make look as much as the usual one, when a person steps on - the light turns red and then yellow and the mat vibrates, music starts playing and the monitor displays: please shuffle to the beat!

The person starts shuffling his shoes, and actually dances. After a certain time the music will stop, the light turns green and the display reads: please come in! The owner sets the music and the length of the shuffling time in advance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Door/Dirt Mat

Door/Dirt Mat: it will analyze the dirt content of any shoe placed on top of it. Then evaluated by the owner-specified criteria for cleanliness and the person will be allowed to enter the door or not (will be asked to clean his shoes).
That new idea combine in an interesting way all our 3 objects: it's cleans, opens a door, and related to shoes...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Redesign of Everyday Objects

After my napkin observation the redesign project takes it next level:
group project: combining qualities from each object and creating a completely new one.

the group and the objects:
Uros - Shoe sling
Michael - Penni
Ira - Napkin

we made list of qualities:
1. soft
2. cleans
3. hard
4. small
5. long
6. environment friendly
7. strong
8. useful

we tried to find a good combination for those qualities in one object, which was a really big challenge.
we tried to combine all 3 objects in one or to combine their uses: our first idea was a slingshot that will combine all 3 objects. it will pull out the key and the napkin will come out to... it was a the first idea, we tried to develop it more but eventually we found a different solution.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What do Prototypes Prototype?

What do Prototypes Prototype?
Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill
Apple Computer, Inc.
Cupertino, CA, USA

some notes about:
- prototypes provide the mean for examining design problems and evaluating solutions.

A model of what prototypes prototype:

- "Role": refers to questions about the function that an artifact serves in user's life - the way in which it's useful to them.
- "Look and Feel": denotes questions about the concrete sensory experience of using an artifact - what the user looks at, feels and hears while using it.
- "Implementation": refers to questions about the techniques and components through which an artifact performs its function.

- Integration prototypes: are built to represent the complete user experience of an artifact. Such prototypes bring together the artifact's intended design in terms of role, look and feel, and implementation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters:

Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters:
Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions (J.P. Djajadiningrat, W.W. Gaver, J.W.Frens)

The main question about this article for me: Is an Extreme Characters is really a practical product design test?
They are so many vary extreme characters that it is impossible to take everybody into a count.
But in the other hand, maybe after testing extreme characters needs it will be easier to define the extreme needs and to customize them to the main stream needs.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

some history...
There is a whole history about napkins, besides it's usability it has an important cultural and social symbolic.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

15. Soft but not big enough to be a blanket or a pillow.

- Thank you Dino for napkin observation modeling!

13. No taste.
14. Can hold light pressure.
10. Thin enough to breath or see thru.
11. Big enough to cover human face or head.
12. Without any cultural attributes.

8. It soft and pleasant for touch.
9. Mops up liquids.

6. Can be used for different purposes.
7. Adjusts to any use and any position.

5. The natural color of this napkin fits in different environments.

some notes about the napkin observation:

1. It's environment friendly object.
2. Good choice of size, not to big or small.
3. Very compact object, easy to storage.
4. An elastic material.

I've spent the weekend with some of those amazing napkins, I was observing the napkin, testing different uses, situations, positions, angles...

Recycled Napkin

I've decided to observe a Recycled Napkin, which is a very well designed object.
This is my own first blog EVER!