Ideas in Form is a design challenge to present a concept in five different forms:
- 1D= project narrative
- 2D= sketch
- 3D= physical prototype
- 4D= the passing of time
- 5D= interaction
My initial concept for Ideas in Form was to explore storytelling through a social impact lens. My goal was to design an interactive experience that fostered empathy through stories and demonstrated the shared human experience. I decided to do this by creating an immersive experience. Every culture throughout human history has used storytelling to share their experiences, consolidate their culture, and interpret the world around them. I'm particularly interested in storytelling as it relates to anthropology and how it can be leveraged to demonstrate our shared humanity.
Talia is the granddaughter of immigrants. Her grandparents met in the US and she has grown up identifying as an American. She's seen so much hate and fear directed towards immigrants in recent years and it disheartens her. It seems that people just don't understand how similar their experiences really are. She decides to share some of the stories she recalls from her time with her grandparents to show just how normal they are: the time she broke her leg climbing a tree and her grandfather carried her home and bought her ice cream for being brave, the times her grandmother made her wash the dishes by hand and use the dishwasher as a drying rack.
Talia's stories join hundreds of other stories in an immersive experience. Mark has never met an immigrant but he comes to the experience and chooses the theme of "grandparents." Marks finds dozens of stories from people who look very different from him. He selects one of the stories and it is Talia's story about her grandmother and the dishwasher. Mark enjoys the story and the immersive. Talia's grandmother reminds him of his own mother because she never let him use the dishwasher either. Mark walks away feeling he has just made a new friend.
Initially, I considered facilitating the experience with a chatbot that compiles a trans media experience. I was inspired by Ben Hoguet's article "How to Tell Stories with Chatbots." I'd like to gather stories from a group of people on a common theme ("tell me a story about your parents") and ask for them to submit artifacts that relates to their story (photos, videos, tweets, text messages) and then allow the chatbot to pull from an API of all of the artifacts to send to the user when they request a story. The user texts the chatbot and is given the choice of the story they want to receive. The user can then choose to hear another short story or see artifacts from the story.
2D and 3d
In the 2D and 3D iterations of my idea, I envisioned a gallery-like setting where I could build an art installation. The installation would have wall to wall screens that would come to life with artifacts (photos, maps, scenes, video clips, and music) to accompany the audio and video of the person telling the story. I pictured visitors following a story visually across the space of the room. To demonstrate, I made a paper prototype.
For the 4D iteration we were tasked with adding time and movement to our concepts. I decided to rethink my initial chatbot idea and give the experience an app interface. I designed a mockup tablet app to demonstrate how the artifacts would supplement the storytelling. The video below is the mockup in action. I kept with the theme of grandparents and used a story courtesy of The Moth.
In feedback, I received questions about how one might share their own story so I decided to prototype the interface for recording, uploading, and sharing your own story. I also wanted to better demonstrate how users could discover others' stories and browse stories based on shared themes that are central to the human experience and relatable across cultures.
The final iteration is a prototype of the user interface to upload and edit your own story. Link to Prototype
Resources and inspiration
"What is interactive storytelling?" - Benjamin Hoguet, Medium
The Art of Storytelling - Pixar in a Box, The Khan Academy
"The Technology of Storytelling" - Joe Sabia, TED Talk
"The Science of Storytelling" - Steve Denning, Forbes
"Babushka's Revenge" - by Ivan Kuraev for The Moth