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Thinking Thesis: Michael Yap’s preliminary prototyping

Thesis—Prototype 1

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Thesis—Prototype 1 from Michael Yap on Vimeo.

Michael Yap‘s paper prototype testing the hypothesis: “Encoding the physical world with data can create awareness, meaning, and behavior change.”

Last week, I created a paper prototype and conducted an eight-user test (from February 2–3) for thesis. I edited the video documentation this week and posted it on Wednesday. The hypothesis: encoding the physical world with data can create awareness, meaning, and behavior change. The results: mixed but positive. All users correlated their health behaviors to the changes in the tomato display: healthy behaviors had no affect on the display, unhealthy behaviors visibly ripened the tomato, creating awareness. The display meant different things for users. For some, the display was a manifestation of the current health state of their bodies: if they exhibited unhealthy behaviors they expected the variable tomato to ripen; if they exhibited healthy behaviors, they expected the variable tomato to “un-ripen”. Others derived the intended meaning of the tomato: unhealthy behaviors accelerate the aging process, which is, of course, a uni-directional process. The results confirmed a suspicion that I previously held: some narrative (as complex as a video; as simple as a label) will need to accompany the final prototype in order to make the intended meaning of the display clear. The tomato display was not effective in creating behavior change. No surprise, but worth establishing.

Read more of Michael’s latest thesis thinking.

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