Winner of Convergence Innovation Competition under the category "Smart Cities and Healthy Communities"
To facilitate social interactions at bus stops. In order to do so we carried out user research using the following research methods:
- Literature Review
- Task Analysis
- In Context
In order to accurately determine the solution to the design question “How might we enhance the interaction among Georgia Tech students?”, we used the following research questions to guide the subsequent stages of the project:
- What are they doing specifically during this time in the way of interacting with others?
- To what extent do students think social interactions are important while they are commuting on campus?
- What methods/tools do students currently use to interact online?
- What are the perceived pros and cons of social interactions?
- Are there cultural or other factors that affects students’ perception of social interactions?
- What encourages/discourages people from engaging in social interactions?
We learnt more about the current state of social interactions at the bus stop. Through this we realised that most people tend to use their phone while waiting at the bus stop and engage in little to no interaction with the other people present there.
From our task analysis (User Research present at the bottom of the page) we realised that currently the potential users dynamically (both subconsciously or consciously) engage in one or more activities while waiting for buses to arrive. The activities performed during the process are not possible to exhaust and vary a lot at individual level. Some of the typical activities include listening to music, using phones, thinking etc. The order of activities are determined dynamically and sometimes conducted subconsciously by the users. Some activities may be terminated when bus arrives, while others continue onto the buses. This intrinsic feature of randomness makes it difficult to fit the analysis in terms of procedures and to analyse it in a static manner. From the observation encoding, insights can be drawn from the repetitive pattern of “St” (Standing) and “Ph”(Phone). Given a short period of time, most time students spending on waiting for buses are consumed by standing and using phone with various apps.
Through the literature review we learnt the following:
- The perceived wait time were always longer than the actual wait times
- People consider waiting at the bus stop for buses among the most unhappy moments of their life
- It is healthier to take an intentional break instead of doing things out of boredom
- People are happier after a conversation with stranger
In Context Survey
Through this survey we learnt the following:
- Most people use their phones while waiting for the bus. People were doing multiple things at the same time.
- Their energy level as above neutral.
- Most people are not satisfied with the infrastructure.
- Less people prefer to meet new people but there are people who don’t mind.
Interviews was conducted with eight (8) of the survey participants in order to find out more about the motivation, reasons and rationale behind their survey answers. We used an affinity map to analyse the interview data. Refer to User Research document at the bottom of the page.
The following insights were gleaned from the interviews. Refer User Research for more insights at the bottom of the page.
- People do not like waiting at the bus stop as there is no appealing activity they can engage in. Most people stated that they would not know what to do and would be bored if they could not access their phones.
- People either use the time to engage in productive work or just try to kill time till the bus arrives.
- People are dissatisfied with the infrastructure providedMost people stated that the bus timings were unpredictable and the buses were infrequent.
- Others stated that their state of mind depends on various factors such as the amount of sleep they had the previous day, the assignments due and how late they were for their class or appointments.
- They stated that the would be less inclined to interact with someone else if they were stressed/ anxious than if they were relaxed and happy.
- Some people stated that they would like to meet new people as they were new to the campus.
- Some stated that they were like to utilise the time they had at the bus stop to build on their existing relationships and make them stronger.
To start generating ideas, we decided to have each of the team members to come up with 10 different ideas, each with a simple sketch and labels. For this phase, we did not restrict ourselves much in feasibility, cost, or platform. Instead, we made an effort to open our mind and embrace the creativity while keeping in mind the criteria we obtained from our previous user study so that we could get as many ideas flowing as possible.
We resorted to a simple voting session where we keep only the design ideas with greater than or equal to 3 votes from our 4 team members. Following that, we look at each remaining idea as a potential component of the actual design and try to combine them so that the combination is richer in its functionality and integrity. When we were carrying out the combining session, we made an effort to refer to the personas and make sure each personas’ need was addressed by at least one combination design. Before the design sprint, the team had 5 design ideas to present.
Tall Stand Game Table: a tall round table with hooks on the feet with a digital display as table top. The intention is three-fold. First, table with proper height can be leaned on. Second, hooks offer places to rest the bags students carrying on. Third, the capability of playing easy-to-engage game will draw people together, and the process of playing will trigger interaction.
BrickWall: a digital installation composed of multiple cells mimicking bricks, with each capable of facilitating private information exchange. Finding a match in general is the single most important thing is social life. The idea is to work as a platform to help people find the right match by sharing a piece of information locked by customised question. The information to share and the question lock would come from initiator, and any person finds it interesting would have to give correct answer to unlock the piece of information. The question serve as personalised and effective filter.
Who’s Around-Location based Facebook Plug-in: a pure mobile phone application that can help students check who is at the same bus stop, and may have the chance to initiate conversation depending on the status set by the person of his/her interest permits.
Emotion Reflective Digital Shelter: A digitised bus stop shelter in traditional shape and size. Students can check in their emotional feelings on the shelter display, and the input will be reflected on the changes of the content accordingly. The shelter wall display also serves as a canvas in the sense that students can fill in their desirable colours onto the content.
- Group Motion Synchronisation System: A system that can detect the motion of people and encourage synchronised motion for students as bus stops by giving rewards. The system is split into two parts. First is a network of force sensing strips built underneath the sidewalk tiles to detect force changes. Second is the display and processing unit putting together in a bus stop installation that reflect the level of synchronisation.
The "Jumping Tile" idea, which was a combination of "Emotion Reflective Digital Shelter" and "Group Motion Synchronisation System", was selected for prototyping.