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.