For Instruction Sets for Strangers,, three students from MFA DT – Kayla Arias, Alec Dawson, and Billy Ryu – did user testing at the High Line Park in New York on September 28th, 2013. This project explores Interface as a connector between people in socially mobile environments, and in the process aims to understand how people interact with one another. Working in a collaborative partnership, we will choose a location that we feel has inherent meaning in its architecture, history, use or current cultural significance. As observers, we will pay attention to modes of interaction within our chosen space, noting social, personal, and cultural behaviors.
09/13/2013 (Fri): Observation
09/21/2013 (Sat): Iteration #1
09/23/2013 (Mon): Iteration #1
09/28/2013 (Sat): Final User Testing
The High Line is a 1-mile linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan. This road starts from Gansevoort Street and ends at 30th Street of Chelsea area.
Why We Chose This Location:
Among all the possible places in New York, we considered the High Line Park for some reasons. It is in the middle of a busy, multicultural neighborhood and has an interesting history. We found the combination of environment, people, art, and scenery very interesting and intriguing. Based on the High Line's unique configuration, we felt it would provide a more dependable and varied group of people to design an interaction for.
• A long park beside the Hudson River where visitors can get fresh air and beautiful scenery
• A lot tourists visit the park
• Most people have free time here, and they loved to walk through the path
• Most people do NOT stop, and NOT many people walking alone
• Hashtag – Take pictures at location with frame, and post to social media with a hashtag (#)
• #PolaroidPose vs. #WeJustMet
• Include direct instructions
• Provide camera and film for people to take a photo and leave it behind
• Use Polaroid Frame
Our goals were to promote interaction between strangers and connect human beings to social media. So we came up with an idea of hashtag(#) and found that most people took pictures with their smart phone. We also thought that it could be interesting if visitors had experiment with polaroid frame. This is why we chose a polaroid camera and photo frame as materials for user testing.
Many visitors tried our prototype and took pictures with their camera or smartphone. Good start. However, there were several issues we encountered and had to remedy.
• It was pretty windy so Kayla and Billy found it difficult to set up prototypes. At first we tried to set up photo frames with a stand, but it soon fell on the ground. Some parts of photo frame was broken by wind. This was why we didn’t use stand for user testing (but testing without the stand also worked). We need to make the photo frame with stronger material (e.g. wood, plastic) if we use this item for final user testing so that it will never break.
• We put hashtag (#polaroidpose) on the frame and encouraged people to post their pictures on their social network account with the hashtag, but this was still less effective. Billy found there are only 4 pictures with our hashtag on Instagram. Actually, one person posted the picture with our prototype, but didn’t use any hashtags. Updating hashtag was required.
Billy made a new prototype since the first one was broken by wind. We decided to use the first prototype frame as a skeleton of the second one, so we put the old prototype and new one together with tape. We also made a handle behind the prototype so that people could hold it when they take a picture. Here are drawbacks we found after the second user testing:
• The bottom of the prototype was too long so it seemed like a huge door with window rather than polaroid frame.
• Some people grabbed the edge of the frame even though there were handles to hold.
Final User Testing:
Visitors stopped at the frame to take a picture, and crowds helped encourage participation. People didn’t always follow specific rules, but they followed other people. Strangers called other people to take a picture together even though they didn't know each other, and introduced themselves to one another.
• People don’t always follow specific rules, but they do follow other people
• Crowd helped encourage participation
• Tourist attraction provides environment with curious individuals
• The message behind #WeJustMet was stronger than the original Polaroid pose
• PEOPLE LOVE POLAROIDS!