improving the prototypes - IBM
Brief: Design a way to counter some of the alienating effects of remote working online.
My group: Melanie, Nayla, Lea
After the feedback we realized that in order to create something clear, comprehensible and useful, we needed to simplify our idea. We thus went back to the basics of 3D sound and focused on the most important features, such as the proximity of the sound, the cocktail effect, alienation, the interactions and a method that would help us convey the idea the best.
We also struggled with the movement, as we could not decide on the best way to handle the proximity. The question was whether the user moves his or her icon or the icons of the others around the screen. The problem with the first one is the possibility of invading someone’s space and the lack of sound customisation, while with the second option, one can silence a person without them knowing, which creates a social dispute. In the end, we concluded that the user stays in the middle and moves people around the semi-circle. In that way, the user controls the direction of the sound, but all the persons are equally loud. The semi-circle itself could also be moved up and down allowing a person to control the volume. One can also drag two or more people together creating a group of sounds. We added the option of adding multiple soundtracks in the space via Spotify, YouTube, Sound Cloud or personal files, which can then be shared, mixed and customized. Finally, we also enabled a video option where everyone goes into a video mode in order to have a more lively discussion. To best showcase our idea we decided to record a demo with the addition of the sound. After agreeing on the system and Nayla creating some of the visuals, Lea, Melanie and I worked on the demo. Lea wrote the scenarios, I created the animation in the Adobe XD and Melanie recorded the sounds.
Demo of our application SoundSpace.
The feedback we received from John and Alaistair as well as IBM was really positive; they all thought that the demo conveyed the idea really well and they seemed to really like our platform. IBM even suggested that we patent it. They all wanted to see the demo of different scenarios including various numbers of people and felt that one should be able to move around the space freely to make the conversation as organic as possible.