INTERACTION DESIGN: SOCIOLOGY SUPPORTED BY TECHNOLOGY
My intention is to help innovation (new products and services) progress, and more specifically, to combine my fascination for designing with disruptive technologies (e.g. sensor tech, IoT, AR/VR) and sociology.
Technology believes that everything can be made, sociology believes that deeper reflections can be found that give useful directions. I want to work on these topics, because I was part of the first generation that could be addicted to a screen all their childhood, and this made me mentally and physically unbalanced. After I learned how to get control back, I wanted to design products that are more in line with what it means to be human.
I envision a future where luxury is about poetic satisfaction. This means in practice that I enjoy making designs and experiences that:
- allow for some freedom of interpretation
- engage movement of the whole body
- see a person as part of a bigger "system", socially connected to each other and having influence on everyone they have contact with, rather than an egoistic being
- contribute to a better world, from my values of equality, balance, freedom, and curiosity.
I study a master in Industrial Design (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands) with a specialisation in Interaction Design. Furthermore, I am a consultant in design and innovation for SURE Innovation (a consultancy firm for high-tech companies). Right now, I am working on my master thesis on the future of IoT, I am teaching myself the basics of programming AI, and I am learning Swedish!
hej! how are you?
THE FUTURE OF IOT
Internet of things (iot), privacy by design and by default, connecting the online with the offline experience, embodiment in iot, sociology, public debate, product design
DESIGN for PRIVACY AND EMBODIMENT
INDIVIDUAL project, 5 MONTHS part-time, FEBR - JUNE 2018
Shops are becoming the physical Facebook: "digital innovation" means tracking your entire route and behaviour to improve (neuro)marketing. PIVOT is a connected shopping compass, that lets you physically scroll through a store, without leaving data behind. Get inspired by quotes on the wall or on your phone, pick a compass, scan the barcode, and the compass will lead you the way.
This project is part of my ongoing master thesis, mentored by Martijn van den Broeck - UX designer Google Chrome and Pierre Lévy - professor in systemic change.
being someone else in virtual reality
human-centered design, sociology, story-telling,
persuasive experiences in human-computer interaction (hci),
increasing gender equality, stimulating empathy
experience sexism from the perspective of the other gender
team project, 14 weeks part-time, sept - dec 2016 | download paper CHI PLAY'17
My roles in the team: concept development, user research, experience design, promotion
We learned that sexism is not only a women's-problem, but that it also highly affects men. But, most of these experiences only feel "weird" when you look at them from the other gender's perspective: imagine that women get told that they should not tell at school that they play with Barbies, or that men get lower salaries. Through Pink and Blue Glasses is a virtual reality experience through which you can feel what it is like to be another gender, based on real stories from interviews.
We published a paper in CHI Play 2017 (ACM SIGCHI conference about games and human-computer interaction), we exhibited at the Dutch Design Week (Mind the Step) and we received third price for the Social Design Talent Awards (by the municipality of Eindhoven)!
In the game, you start with choosing your character in the dressing room. The experience around you will differ depending on who you choose. Then, you can access a bar, office and toy-store through a lift. Here, you will experience stories that were told by people we interviewed like they happen to you. You can literally switch your perspective by switching who you are, and experience how you are treated differently, based on your gender.
Team and design process
Together with my teammates Caro van Kessel (focussing on game-development) and Sam Janssen (focussing on empathy) and me (focussing on research and experience design), we started a project with the question: "how can we apply Virtual Reality (VR) to stimulate the players' empathy?". We choose for a two-phase design process. In the first phase, our goal was to develop understanding for what empathy means. In the meantime, Sam and I started learning the basics of Unity (the game engine that we will use to develop our VR experience in). In the second phase, our goal was to develop and evaluate a working prototype.
We kicked the process off by a one-week iteration in which we did a brainstorm, prototyping and literature research. We brainstormed about how an empathy-stimulating game could look (with the limited knowledge about any of the topics at that time). Caro developed a mini-game to reflect on, and Sam and I worked on literature research and mapping the findings. We learned that we needed to develop more insights in 1) how to evoke empathic reactions, and 2) how the level of abstraction in a game influences empathy (e.g. do "people" in the game need to look very realistic, or do players respond the same to a cylinder with eyes?).
Role-play experiment: how to evoke empathic reactions?
To learn about how to evoke empathic reactions, Sam and I executed an experiment among fifteen participants. Each participant had a conversation of approximately five minutes, with a role-player who started a conversation about a personal issue. The role-player chose the topic of the conversation herself, which was homosexuality. We tested four variables: being individual or being in pairs, and getting an assignment based on affection or cognition ("make her feel at ease" or "give her advice"). The results of the user tests were collected through observations, interviews and a questionnaire.
We observed that people react empathically in a remarkably short time (often already after two minutes). Secondly, we learned that there is a strong link between having a personal experience with a specific situation and showing strong empathic reactions.
Prototyping experiment: the effect of abstraction in a game on empathy
Caro studied how players respond differently in a game depending on how abstract the game is designed through prototyping and user-testing. We learned that the level of abstractness does not have a significant impact on how convincing people experience the game. This showed the level of abstraction that could be used in the final game.
Learning about how to develop VR-games
In the meantime, Sam and I were still working on learning Unity through following tutorials online. We had lots of fun shooting cylinders in VR!
We finalised the first design phase by benchmarking, brainstorming and choosing a direction. We noticed that all existing empathy-games focus on situational empathy (empathy that you feel in a particular situation, e.g. refugees). We see opportunities in focussing on stimulating dispositional empathy (empathy that you have as a stable character thread, relating to your personality).
We choose gender stereotypes, sexism, as many people can relate to it in a way, and it has societal impact. By now, Sam and I developed enough knowledge about Unity to understand it's possibilities and limitations. Caro decided to focus on the role of programmer. Sam decided to focus partly on user-research and programming. I decided to concentrate on user-research, the design of the user experience and the evaluation.
Interviewing people about their experience with sexism
We learned in the first phase that the final game has to appeal to the personal experiences of the player. To get more understanding of the impact of sexism on our lives, and to have more concrete examples of what people experience, Sam and I had many conversations with women and men. We decided to use the interviewing-technique of laddering up and down: trying to find both their values (asking "why?") and getting concrete examples quotes ("can you give an example?").
Men don't talk, why?
We found that women had plenty of examples and were able to talk about the subject, in contrary to men: they generally could not come up with any examples in their own lives. Is that because men don't experience sexism? By accident, we bumped into the excellent documentary "The Mask You Live In" (must-watch!). This documentary makes painfully visible how sexism affects men and how profoundly this is accepted by our society, to such an extent that men are often not even aware of this.
We decided on a different approach when talking to men about sexism: we showed them a few shots from the documentary. The result was an overwhelming amount of stories, quotes, and also a feeling of relief from our participants: finally someone to talk to.
We noticed that sexism is often so "normal" in our society, that it is only considered "weird" when you step into the role of the other gender. The women we spoke to found it completely normal receive assaults in a bar. The men we spoke to found it completely normal to hear that they should grow some balls, stop crying or stop running like a girl. Besides: if men feel touched because they run like a girl, what do we teach them about girls?
We made an overview of the experiences as told during our conversations, and we clustered them. We noticed that there are typically four main topics: the way we dress, going out, being at work, and experiences from playing with toys as a child.
Hardware choice: HTC Vive for total immersion
We choose the Virtual Reality system HTC Vive, as this was the best system that we had access to that also allows the player to walk physically. This makes the experience highly immersive: you feel like you are present in the game. We wanted the full experience to take about 15 minutes. This was decided as we wanted to enable many people to play the game during expositions, but we also wanted to give the player enough time to get acquainted with the new technology and to get engaged in the story of the game. From the user-test in phase one, we knew that people experience empathy between two to three minutes, which enables us to let the player experience multiple scenarios in these 15 minutes. To make this reality, we decided to place the scenario's on top of each other in a flat-like structure: the first floor is the dressing room where you choose your character, the other floors (a bar, an office and a toy-store) can be accessed through an elevator.
Experience design: how to trigger dispositional empathy and stimulate reflection?
While Caro and Sam started to develop the game, I began to brainstorm about a script for what the stories inside the rooms should be like. The storyline should be in line with the theory behind dispositional empathy. Four subscales describe dispositional empathy: perspective taking (seeing things from the other guy's point of view), fantasy (being involved with the feelings of the characters in the novel), empathic concern(feeling touched) and personal distress (feeling ill-at-ease).
For perspective-taking, players are stimulated to switch of character throughout the play. This is done by not allowing access to some rooms. For example, as a man, you can’t access the bar. This happened to several men who we interviewed, as they had to prove that they were really not too young, drunk or aggressive. Fantasy was triggered by the fact that the HTC-Vive enables players to feel present in the game. Empathic concern and personal distress were triggered through making the experience heavy, but at the same time only using real stories from our interviews.
In the experience, you hear the response of people around you (e.g. men whistling to women in a bar), and your thoughts to indicate the action possibilities in the game (e.g. "let's get something to drink" in the bar). These personal thoughts do not contain any opinions or judgements about the other characters in the game, as we want the player to formulate these themselves. The personal thoughts do emphasise action-possibilities that people would not think of in the real world, as we assume that this might stimulate action-taking outside the game (e.g. in situations where normally ignorance occurs, the question "shall I say something about it?" is asked.) Voice artists professionally record all these quotes.
While Caro and Sam were finishing the game, I prepared the evaluation. We wanted to validate our assumptions, to get insight into the participants’ experience and to find opportunities for further development. I decided to go for a mixed-methods technique by combining quantitative research through questionnaires (19 participants), and qualitative research through interviews (8 participants).
The goal of the questionnaire was to validate our assumptions about the usability, the feeling of presence, the feeling of credibility, the stimulation of dispositional empathy, the feeling of awareness about sexism, the experience of switching character, the experience of the sound design and the impact of the scenarios. A 7-point Likert-scale was used in a 35-questions questionnaire, based on scientific questionnaires.
Results and future opportunities
The results were very promising. People felt like being in the virtual world, it made an emotional impact on participants, and it made them more aware of sexism and their action-possibilities in real-life. I took the lead in identifying future opportunities and setting up the necessary meetings to make this happen. I identified an opportunity for funding, a design competition, a design exposition and a possible conference. The funding and the design competition did not get through, but we did publish a paper on CHI Play '17, and we exhibited the project at the Dutch Design Week!
Conference: CHI PLAY '17
CHI PLAY is an international and interdisciplinary conference (by ACM SIGCHI) for researchers and professionals across all areas of games and human-computer interaction (HCI). We participated in the student game design competition. As one of the ten finalists, we were granted a publication and a conference ticket!
Exhibition: Dutch Design Week (DDW)
The DDW is the biggest design event in Northern Europe. During the DDW, I pitched Through Pink and Blue Glasses for an event hosted by High-Tech XL (a start-up accelerator) and Mind the Story (talks hosted at the exhibition for visitors). Furthermore, our team got the opportunity to pitch our project for the Social Design Award.
Competition: Social Design Talent Award 2017
The issuer is the municipality of Eindhoven and VNO-NCW Eindhoven, and they connect entrepreneurs with design talents. I pitched Through Pink and Blue Glasses to the judge at our stand, while Sam was playing the game. We won the third price, and we were asked to pitch the game again at the breakfast event of "Dag van de Ondernemer" where Caro pitched.
design inspired by tango
INTERNSHIP IN sweden, interaction design research,
explorative prototyping, rapid prototyping,
inviting for whole-body movement, inviting for intimacy
making people dance together
5-months internship at rise interactive umeå, sweden, FEBR - JUNE 2017
I feel that many qualities are hidden in tango dance. What makes people want to be so close to each other and move together? Why do we perceive tango as a beautiful act? Moreover, how can it be that the interaction between the dancers is so intuitive? I performed a research project with the goal of abstracting elements that can be applied when designing other experiences. The final deliverable is a design that makes it irresistible to people to dance together (even for Swedish software engineers). Furthermore, I have used the ideas as inspiration when designing Algoritmisch Ritme.
Interactive dance installation
programming, art, mathematics, kinect,
inviting for whole-body movement
combining mathematics, art and dance
INDIVIDUAL project, 3 weeks part-time, DEC 2017/JAN 2018| download paper BRIDGES'18
Algoritmisch Ritme intrinsically motivates people to move and explore their bodily potential. The projection art responds to movement of the core body (our centre of mass), which is inspired by my previous research on tango dance. I applied the mathematical principles of a recursive function (a function that recalls itself), fractals (figures that look similar on an infinite of scales), and angle calculations.
This project is presented at the Dutch Technology Week '18 , Warehouse of Innovation, the interdisciplinary mathematical art conference Bridges MathArt Stockholm '18, and I have been nominated for the Foederer Talent Award! I am developing this project for light-art festivals, dance performance, and dance training, in collaboration with a dancer from the national ballet of Finland.
carpooling with strangers
interactive materiality, product design,
human-centered design, programming,
design for sharing-economy, stimulating social behaviour
carpooling: from social discomfort to social opportunities
Individual project, final bachelor project, 14 weeks part-time | VIDEO, FEBR - JUNE 2016
Carpooling is an environmentally friendly and highly social trend. To address the barrier of communicating with strangers in a car, I designed Wally – a shape-changing mirror. I observed that people already use their rearview mirror to keep an eye on their kids. This mirror is to have eye-contact with your passenger. When the traffic needs attention, or when someone in the car does not want to have a conversation, the mirror turns to a frosted state.
design for lower back pain
prototyping, screen interface design,
branding / graphic design, design for health
exercising: do you do it? & do you do it right?
Team project, bachelor, 14 weeks part-time | VIDEO, FEBR - JUNE 2015
My roles in the team: prototyping, interface design, graphic design
Patients with lower back pain tend to lack the coordination and motivation necessary to rehabilitate. Mirrorcle is an exercise mirror, designed in collaboration with prof. dr. Annick Timmermans from Universiteit Hasselt. The exercise mirror tracks the body position using a Kinect and projects feedback by projecting light behind a one-way mirror. This concept was designed by another design team. When our team enrolled, our challenge was to make the design elegant and portable, to further develop the concept and to promote it to an innovation contest, resulting at the third price at the TU/e contest (an innovation contest held by the university)!
human-machine interface design
INTERNSHIP, VIRTUAL REALITY, PRODUCT DESIGN,
HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN, CAD-MODELLING,
DESIGN FOR AN UNFAMILIAR TARGET GROUP
the perceived complexity of a high-tech agricultural machine
4-months internship at diverto technologies b.v., the netherlands, SEPT - DEC 2015
The Diverto-QS100 (a multifunctional agricultural machine) challenged the perceived complexity of the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) among its' potential users. My job was to design an explanation of the HMI to convince customers of the current design and to propose a new design for the right-hand armrest with integrated HMI.
reflection on my experience as a CONSULTANT IN DESIGN AND INNOVATION FOR TECH-COMPANIES
SURE Innovation makes the scientific knowledge and new technologies that are developed at the University of Technology Eindhoven available to entrepreneurs. Our clients are mostly SME's with a wide variety of disciplines, who seek advice in how to innovate their business.
My colleagues are all engineers and some also have a business-background. As one of the only designers in the team, my goal is to provide a thoughtful direction that is not only exciting from a technology- or economic point-of-view, but that also supports user and society.
My responsibilities are brainstorm-sessions and projects that are in the early stage of concept development. Brainstorm sessions are my favourite activity within the job. It gives me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients in a short time: by now I have worked with Burkely (a leather-fashion company), and Oxboard (they make a high-end hoverboard, with the main selling point that it does not catch fire). Furthermore, I have worked with an entrepreneur who was working on a smart device for blind people, and a team of entrepreneurs who were working on improving the storage of silage (cow food). I recently collaborated with Wayfinder (digital way-finding poles for smart cities).
As I work in interdisciplinary teams, my goal is not just to have an inspiring conversation with every client, but also to learn from what my colleagues are advising from their point-of-view. For example, I learned about the new privacy laws, ways to technically realise modular products, and material properties! My colleagues are also inspiring for me on a personal level.
They are not only all ambitious and skilful, but they also showed me how to stay true to myself. We had memorable conversations when a co-worker talked about his burn-out, when we had trouble to stay close to our values when working with "difficult" clients, and one of my female co-workers talked about her struggle to get equal salary for an internship she was persuing. And of course, we also feel at ease in messing with each other and having good laughs!
CONSULTANCY work at SURE INNOVATION
designer by day, designer by night! and there is breaks
To clear my soul, I spend my time outside (preferably free-riding on the back of a horse), dancing, and exploring art. In the weekends, I take care of a horse named Valeska, and together we explore the forest. With my student-dancing association Footloose we enjoy modern dance and hip-hop, which often results in going out with good moves on the dance-floor. To unleash excess creative energy, I love to cook, explore photography and paint!
On my more serious moments I work on developing myself on topics that do not have something to do with my career. I am quite fanatic when it comes to training horse-riding, for which I currently train once a week at the stables of Miranka Schellekens (trainer of the paralympic dressage team of Israel). Futhermore, I am learning Swedish, I work on developing a present and calm mind, and I coach first-year students (and the students that come back to me after finishing their course) in their self-development.
HOBBIES AND SIDE-PROJECTS