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Fashion Portal

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What are the implications of human vs algorithm curated content? This project explores serendipity through alternate forms of filtering content in the CCA Simpson Library. This project allowed me to design, curate, fabricate, and deploy a product as part of a two week exhibition. 


Project overview

Design an interactive experience for the Simpson Library at CCA that encourages visitors to engage with its collections, resources, and specialists in a unique way.

role: interaction and exhibition design
duration: 4 weeks
team: independent

 

approach

Carried out the primary research including contextual observation and needfinding interviews. Underwent a participatory ideation phase while performing multiple iterative prototyping sessions.

Meanwhile, I curated content from the CCA Vault archive and fabricated the interactive piece that involved wireframing and low to high fidelity screen mockups. The final piece was installed and deployed for the public to use while the exhibition remained open. 


research & discovery

  • How do you develop an interactive experience that encourages visitors to engage with library resources?

  • How do you approach serendipity in the library?

  • What is the difference between interaction and participation?

It was critical to take a holistic research approach for this project since it would be fabricated and deployed. Therefore, I approached this phase in sections that included: observation, insight visualization, interviewing, and domain research. 

 

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observation

It was critical to take a holistic research approach for this project since it would be fabricated and deployed. Therefore, I approached this phase in sections that included: observation, insight visualization, interviewing, and domain research.

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interviewing

I conducted needfinding interviews with librarians and library staff to gain an understanding of current pain points and successes. Highlights of the interviews below:

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domain research

Domain research included listening to various experts speak on the topic of libraries: both present and future.

In addition to familiarizing myself with expert knowledge, I looked for innovative precedents of library programs globally.

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synthesizing

As I walked through the isles I was immediately drawn to the unused pockets on the stack shelves.

I inquired about these in my interviews and came across a common problem: the pockets presented opportunities for visitors to relocate unwanted books making it difficult to find them and return them to their original place. 

I immediately thought about using these pockets as the site for my interactive intervention. How could I make a flexible solution that could fit the variety of pocket sizes?

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Insights & Concepts


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The Algorithm Brought Me Here...

A beacon for the Fashion section of the Simpson Library stacks that connects visitors with "fashion content" in the CCA VAULT's archives filtered by the human senses. The interface-based exhibit will feature VAULT algorithm generated content by searching the keywords "fashion" & "sense". The exhibit purposefully showcases this misleading content while being self-aware enough to call out the faulty content. 

 

Project Challenges


interface design

The visual design of the interface for the exhibit was inspired clothing patterns and simple geometries. The design went through three rounds of prototyping and user testing before reaching the final version. 

prototype one

prototype two

User Testing & Feedback

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final prototype

interaction and motion design

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Moving Button

The moving button on the home screen is meant to attract the attention of library visitors browsing the stacks. The visitor has to catch the button to initiate the experience. 

 

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Onboarding Experience

Once the user clicks on the button they are welcomed to the portal  and a brief explanation debriefs them on what to expect. A pop-window appears that can be referenced at any time using the "?" icon on the top navigation bar. 

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Choosing a Sense

Once they have reached the landing page - the users will see a screen that prompts them to choose a sense to filter the content from the VAULT. The pattern within the category expands to reveal and animated archive with tactility and fashion referenced content in the VAULT. 

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Viewing Content

Once they choose the content they'd like to explore - the user can tap on information, the location in the library, and preview images of the content. All of these components behave differently to create a more immersive experience. 


Fabricating the Enclosure

The fabrication of the enclosure was critical in terms of usability and safety for the visitors. The process took a series of prototyping and testing sessions before achieving the final enclosure. 

As you will see below, the enclosure prototypes ranged in materiality and form. However, they all consisted of two main components: an iPad interface and rectangular frame. I employed various material approaches before landing on the final one. 

The final enclosure was created using 3D modeling software as a kit of parts with joints that allow the pieces to lock into one another. The parts were fabricated using a laser cuter before being painted and installed. A neopixel strip was attached to the top frame light up the protruding box. 

prototypes


installation

Below is a collection of images and a video recording of the artifact installed in the Simpson Library. The artifact was part of the Library Things exhibit and was displayed for two weeks. 

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Reflection

results

  • The project was included in a CCA exhibition called “Library Things” showcased for two weeks.

Learnings & Accomplishments

  • Designed and deployed an interactive experience that dealt with real world problems such as installation, accessibility, and troubleshooting.

  • User Focus: deeply empathized with the library staff by closely working with them throughout the design process.

  • Worked with an abstract topic and leveraged it with tangible resources such as the Library Vault.

  • Wear multiple hats - excellent opportunity to witness and implement my hybrid design skill in Interaction Design, UI, UX, fabrication, and research.

  • Be intentional & test, test, test! Challenge your design assumptions and validate prototypes and ideas through usability and user testing.

  • Mastered Principle, Sketch, and Adobe XD. Learned Arduino prototyping.

IF I HAD MORE TIME 

  • The topic between human curated vs. algorithm curated content could be furthered explored with more robust prototypes. However, I would need an engineer to develop algorithms based on the user selections in comparison to the information in the Vault.

  • With more Arduino expertise, I would have created a stronger lighting effect to attract more visitors to the stacks and better accomplish my beacon within the stacks goal.

  • Throughout this process I learned how to work with constraints, challenged my assumptions, and verified the importance of user testing throughout the design process.