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Exercise 3: Write a User Scenario February 12, 2009

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in Exercise 3: User Scenario.
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Exercise 3: Write a User Scenario is tied to Project 2: Evocative Prototype. In Exercise 3 you will write a User Scenario for your Evocative Prototype, describing the experience of Interaction designer Dan Saffer says a user scenario is a kind of prototype build out of words — a nice way to think of it

For info on scenarios, prototyping and more, download Chapter 5 of Dan Saffer’s Designing for Interaction, 2005, New Riders/AIGA: saffer_designing4interactionch5.

Here’s an example User Scenerio from a student of Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT Media Lab:


The Problem
To create a system that takes in user input and creates an output that corresponds to the user’s choice of affect.

The Bottles
The system consists of three bottles that represent three emotions- Angry, Happy, and Sad. They are placed near each other and represent three possible emotional states of a person. These are emotions that can be bottled up inside. We chose these three for the simplicity of combination of emotional states (8 possibilities). Rather than be completely representative of the possible emotional state of the person, we wanted to concentrate on the interface between emotions, the interaction and meaning between clear emotional states. Whenever a bottle is opened, a vocal affective output that corresponds to the emotion in the bottle is generated as if the emotion within the bottle is let out.

User Scenario
Two people walk into the room mute. They look at each other and down at the bottles in between them. One person picks up the angry bottle, shakes it real hard, and releases the cap which flies across the room on a string, followed by a mad sequence of intensely angry words, nonsensical but intentional. As they fade, the person gives the bottle another shake that results in a quick, short outburst.

The second person picks up the depressed/submissive bottle and pulls up the spring loaded cap, letting out a smoky string of difuse words, quietly stating and fading into silence. She cocks the cap to the side and pours the bottle out, letting out a stream of flowing sadness, punctuated by sobs of intensity, and falling to the floor in self pity.

The first person takes the sad bottle and shakes it into the stream of the angry bottle, resulting in yelping sadness and sad words purged by angry overlays. The second person takes the happy bottle, closes the angry bottle, and lies the sad and happy bottles side by side, releasing the lids. Out comes a bubbling stream of mixed emotions and apologies, slowing after the initial flow. The first person again takes the angry bottle and places it next to the other two, opening its lid as well. The result is neutral speech, spiced by words of emotion but with low intensity. A relaxed conversation and occasionally a friendly argument.

The second person places the bottles upright and closes them one by one – angry, happy, sad – and the two people walk out of the room in silence.


Brief for Project 2: Build an evocative prototype that highlights metaphor and feedback February 8, 2009

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in Project 2: Evocative Prototype, Projects.
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Working solo, design and build an evocative experience that incorporates metaphor and ample use of feedback. The experience should be interesting, engaging and/or challenging.

The attached PDF matches the handout I gave in class: