Here are descriptions of three people I care about for the first step of brainstorming a final project for Designing Meaningful Interactions:
This is Michael. He’s a 28 year old living in Somerville, Massachusetts. He likes tending to plants (like the fiddle leaf fig he found on a sidewalk three years ago and nursed back to health), perusing the internet for strange odds and ends, and drinking inordinate amounts of flavored seltzer. Michael has trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
This is a problem for many reasons. First of all, he’s second year law student, and that requires a lot of time and energy. He has a lot of reading and cares about doing it thoroughly, and he participates in a couple of extracurriculars. He has also recently has decided to commit himself to going to the gym almost every day, a task that requires him to find bits and pieces of time in his day and scrap them together into enough extra time to run on an elliptical or lift some weights. Michael has no time to spare pressing the snooze button every eight minutes for an hour.
This is also a problem for his girlfriend (me). Whenever Michael needs to wake up before I do, I, a light sleeper inevitably wake up too. We live in different cities, so I don’t factor in too much to this problem, but it would still be better for both of us if he could somehow find a way to get up quickly in the morning.
For Michael, I want to create something that makes it easier for him to get out of bed in the morning—possibly an alarm that forces him to leave bed or solve a puzzle to turn it off. I know many people have the same problem and could benefit from this tool.
This is Jessica. She’s a 31 year old who lives in Bedstuy with a hound mix named Florence Nightingale, enjoys discussing shitty reality tv with her younger sister (me), and has a Spotify playlist comprised of hundreds of songs that are all perfect for long drives. She can’t stop reading the news.
She is a producer at MNSBC, so it’s her job to stay informed, but the compulsion to check Twitter carries over into other areas of her life. Out at brunch together, I’ll often find her peaking over at her phone on the table. This obsession been particularly exhausting and emotionally draining in a year dense with (often terrible) news.
I want to create a tool that helps curb the desire to check the news all time—or prevents the checking altogether. Since the news is often been tied to negative feelings, I also would want this tool to include a therapeutic aspect, that helps relieve the stress that comes from following current events.
This is (a drawing of) Sara. She turns 29 next month, works at a nonprofit that is often at the center of alt-right conspiracy theories, has run two marathons, and likes to cook meals that make the apartment that we’ve shared for 3.5 years smell great. Recently, Sara entered into a long distance relationship with a man who lives in Texas.
The relationship is relatively new, and so they have been experiencing the dating phase from afar. But they’ve managed to do so creatively. Together, Sara and her new gent spent a night creating sourdough starters over Facetime, then they baked bread with it when they were together. They have done yoga classes and watched movies together while on Facetime and have texted up a storm.
For Sara, I would want to create something that makes a long-distance date easier, whether by providing the ideas, easing communication, or helping to create more of a sense of physical presence. (Full disclosure: I’m also in a long-distance relation—see above—and stand to benefit from this tool, too).