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Interaction Design Studio


Shown is a concept for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) that the microphone team and I came up with. In our idea, four microphones surround a digital installation. When the visitors to BAM speak, the installation changes form from a flat plane into a blob. The blob is dependent on the visitors voice to determine shape, size, and color.

Here are my six ideas for Tecknopolis at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The purpose of each idea to is create an interaction where the participant feels like they are performing.

1. Shake and Play- When visitors enter the exhibit, they will visit a website on their phones or scan a QR code. When this happens, they then see a screen on their mobile phones where they can pick an instrument. Visitors can carry and shake their phones to play sounds alongside other visitors as they explore the interactive projects. This idea immediately lets the visitors become the performers of the exhibit rather than seeing the designers as the performers.

2. One Box Several Sounds- One Box Several Sounds is a series of boxes hung on the wall with different structures of certain kinds of instruments built inside. For example, one box has strings inside while another box has a keyboard inside. Next to each box is a screen. While visiting the string box, the visitors can use the screen to select which type of string instrument they would like to play. At the keyboard box, there will be a screen where the visitors can select which type of keyboard instrument to play. There will be four boxes in all, and each will demonstrate a different family of instruments. This project is designed to teach visitors about the different families of musical instruments and what it feels like to play each instrument.

3. Switchboard Strip- This project is a long strip mounted on the wall with only knobs, LEDs, and labels. It is a simple design. Each knob plays a single note when turned. Once you turn the knob, the light turns on. The further you turn the knob, the faster the tempo becomes. You can turn on several knobs at once and create your own sound. The labels are there to inform visitors what the sound is.

4. Virtual Recording Studio- Nothing says performance like singing to your own backing track. In Virtual Recording Studio, the visitor walks up to a table with a screen. There will be a camera on the table that projects the visitor onto the screen in front of a fake, recording studio background. There will also be an interface to choose which album to sing to beside a microphone. Just like a karaoke machine, the visitor singes a song. However, after the visitor is finished, the visitor can enter their email and have the video of their performance sent to them. This produces a classic souvenir.

5. Tada!- In Tada!, the visitor will walk through a curtain to find a giant speaker. The speaker then plays a loud audience applause for you. Tada!

6. Virtual Orchestra- In Virtual Orchestra, the visitor stands in front of a giant screen and conducts a digital orchestra. Where the visitor moves her or his hands triggers a part of the screen to light up and play music from that section of the orchestra.

Attractiveness Bias- The degree to which someone or something is found to be physically attractive impacts other’s conclusions about the characteristics associated with that person or thing. These conclusions include, but are not limited to, stereotypes regarding intelligence, functionality, legitimacy, and reliability.

I believe Attractiveness Bias is true. This summer I worked as a User Interface and User Experience Designer, and I was able to witness user tests that determined that people liked websites that looked prettier. When objects look pretty, we trust them and the service that they will provide for us. Another related term to attractiveness bias is branding. One reason that we trust companies and their products is because of their visual designs. Things that look professional are trusted to be professional.

Baby-Face Bias- A tendency to see people and things with baby-faced features as helpless and honest than those with mature features.

I believe Baby-Face Bias is true. In my undergraduate when I studied Visualization, I learned a lot about character design and animation. Giving a character baby-like features, or softer features, in film does in fact resemble that character’s personality. If this is true that animators and film producers are following this formula, then it may be true that our society is being trained to associate baby-like features with honesty and helplessness even when it may not be the case.

Face-ism Ratio- The proportional relation between face and body in an image.

I believe Face-ism Ratio is true. The most prominent feature is in an image is always what draws our eye’s attention. If the face is much larger, our eye focuses on the subtle features of that person, and can suggests their inner thoughts and intelligence. If we see more of a person’s body in an image, then our eyes focus more on their physique.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio- A universal, ideal image of the human body based on the relation between hip and waist measurements.

I believe Waist-to-Hip Ratio is true. The ideal sexualized image of women specifically is a small waist and big hips, and bust. Although this still stands true today, our perception of waist-to-hip ratio may be changing due to movements encouraging positive and inclusive body image awareness.

Good interaction design is goal-driven, easy to learn, and easy to use. I personally believe that the best interaction design exists where natural human actions trigger the interaction, and begin the conversation between the person and object. One example of natural human action triggering interaction is the automatically opening door at a store. We as shoppers and store visitors do not have to think twice about how to open the door or enter a store. The interaction is simple and easy to achieve because our natural action of walking up to the door triggers the interaction.

Bad interaction design is object-centered and not human-centered, can be confusing, and often leads to frustration. An example of bad interaction design, similar to the automatic door, is a door with pull handles on both sides and labels that say “push” and “pull”. Sometimes we come across doors that are designed without the human interaction considered. If the designer would have thought about the human interaction, then there would not be a need for labels on the door.

To me, good interaction design uses human actions while bad interaction design does not consider human interaction at all.

Designed and developed by Steven Simon 2017.