With big data comes big responsibility
Instructor: Sinclair Scott Smith Timeline: 3 months
Categories: Exhibition, Experience Design, Interaction Design, Design Research, UX strategy, Concept Ideation, Service Design, Prototyping
Collaborators: Class of 2019, Products of Design Department (Yes, a team of 20 designers!) My Role: I worked in wardrobe team with Gustav Dyrhauge and Tzu-Ching Lin. We proposed costumes for the exhibition on a regular basis and collaborated closely with the branding team. We also joined the fabrication team and helped build and install the interventions.
This is the central theme of SVA’s MFA in Products of Design’s showcase at Wanted Design, a part of NYCxDesign 2018. The timely exhibition exposes the data mining process used by large tech companies to create highly targeted advertisements and influence user behavior.
The Datalogue aggregates participants’ data points through a series of four tactile interaction stations. At each station, guests are prompted to answer seemingly innocuous questions. Each of their answers is marked on a card that they receive upon entering the exhibit.
The four categories and choice architecture for answers was drawn directly from this PNAS scientific paper. In the paper, Kosinki et al (2015) detail the significance of “liking” specific Facebook pages and correlation with an individual’s personality traits what it can disclose about an individual’s personality.
Visitors leave with an increased understanding about the collection of data, consequences of big data, and the building of targeted advertisements that are used to influence user behavior.
1st Station: The Hamster Wheel
Visually enticing and engaging, the Hamster Wheel entices guests into the exhibition with its carnival-like nature. Once a participant steps into the wheel, they are prompted with the question “Whom do you admire?” and given four choices: Indiana Jones, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie or Steve Jobs.
Participants select their answer with a full-body interaction: walking in the wheel until they reach their final response. They discover that the real meaning behind their answer is a correlation to their level of satisfaction with life.
2nd Station: The Claw
At the next station, participants are asked, “Which of the following individuals would you want to interview?” Again, they are given four choices: Police Commissioner, Emergency Physician, Serial Killer, and Wes Anderson.
They are instructed to maneuver a mechanical claw in order to choose the next input on their card. Their final answer corresponds to their level of conscientiousness, whether they are spontaneous or well-organized.
3rd Station: The Crank
The Crank looks to the future; participants make a choice about a new career, once their job is fully automated by robots. The moving multi-gear form of this interaction is inspired by a similar question that was top of mind during the First and Second Industrial Revolutions. The individual’s response determines their level of extraversion.
4th Station: The Selector
In the fourth and final interaction, guests are asked about the contents of their search history. Their final response illuminates whether the relationship status of the participant. When they have make their selection, they ring a bell, signifying the completion of their “personality test.”
The Final Reveal and Book
Unbeknownst to participants, each of their responses contributes to the development of an intimate psychographic profile on themselves. In their final station, guests are given a summary of their profile that includes specific personality traits, along with a product selection. Product selections were created from robust research on the the design studio’s brand values and mission statements, as well as the product’s form and function. Additionally, specific characteristics were extrapolated from each product to correlate them with 1 of 16 possible psychographic profiles.
What Did I Learn From This Project?
This was the first time I worked in a team of 20 designers. It could be problematic, but we managed very well. There are so many things I’ve learned and also I’d love to dig into further in the future. Here are some of my learnings.
The interaction between designers and users: our exhibition at NYC design week connected with real people, they from many fields, it was really valuable to see how everyone interact with the physical interventions. We built them very well, however, there is still a little gap between some audience that we as a host, need to explain how this work.
Translate research into designed objects: as mentioned above, The four categories and choice architecture for answers was drawn directly from this PNAS scientific paper. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we could apply this scientific founding into our products so that users would fully be immersed in and learned about the data situation.
Team management and collaborations: working in a team, especially in a large team require constant communication and pure transparency, every team, everyone need to keep each other on one page.
This course, Design Performance, really stretched my muscle not only in designing, teamwork but also communicating in the real world directly with the users. I really appreciate this valuable experience!