the downside of being creatures of habit is that we need strategies to pull ourselves back into the present moment - to fully experience the beauty and spontaneity of the world around us.
[urban canvas] is a system to bring spontaneous, delight back into people’s lives through the revealing invisible layers about their movements through the city landscape. and subsequently create a practice so compelling that people get daily moderate exercise through their urban explorations.
the smallest target behavior ::
to explore the city for 30 min/per day
barriers to performing the target behavior? time, routine, and effort.
naturally occurring behaviors ::
rather than trying to get the user to adopt a brand new behavior (ie start going to the gym daily), i’m going to work with a naturally occurring behavior and hope to amplify it through systematic triggers to prompt the behavior and positive reinforcements to encourage the behavior.
specifically, what are points in the user’s journey in which they are already moving through the city? and how can we turn these small exertions of moderate activity into extended forms of exploration and exercise?
user journey ::
 movement as responsibility [barrier to ability]
in this scenario, the user is compelled to move through the city to accomplish a task/uphold a responsibility. examples include, showing up to work or school on time, or getting to a personal appointment. in this case the user’s behavior is motivated by social pressure and pain (the negative consequence of being late), and ability is affected by routine (such as a routine monday through friday commute) and time (the need to arrive at a destination by a deadline). in this particular user’s case a common habit is to wait until the last minute to depart for their destination, thus limiting the amount of time the user can spend on the journey. also, implying that there is no opportunity for amplifying the behavior.
[trigger] :: encourage and enable through suggestion leaving earlier [increasing ability].
[positive reinforcement] :: to enhance the experience of getting from point a to point b, thereby transforming “dutiful movement” into a desirable experience [increasing motivation].
[feedback] :: comes in two forms, mobile/real-time so the user receives reinforcing feedback during the action of moving, and delayed/off-site feedback so the user can view their accomplishments over time and share/compare with social networks [increasing motivation].
 movement as leisure [barrier to motivation]
in this scenario, the user has time on their hands and the biggest issue is triggering motivation [as ability is no longer an issue].
[trigger] :: a notification/reminder of progress and comparison to social peers [playing into social motivations]. as well as enabling by suggesting destinations [motivating through reward].
reinforcement and feedback probably won’t be too different in this case. the biggest lever to pull is motivating the user when they time on their hand to move/explore the city.
fogg behavioral grid ::
turning a naturally occurring behavior into a compelling habit.
feedback loop ::
two questions ::
what types of reward can spark motivation?
- real-world pleasure
- health benefits
- aesthetic and game incentives
what form does the feedback take?
speculative design and games ::
some brainstorming ideas for the incentive/feedback the user receives during or after their journey. by transforming the dull, mundane into something beautiful can we inspire ourselves to do the behavior not only again but amplified?
one experiment would be to see our daily movements through the city as artistic representations - to literally paint the city with our movements. this could be revealed to the user through the use of special “movement-ray vision” glasses, which allow the user to see traces or paths they’ve painted on the city through their movements.
i’m not a big fan of games, especially competitive ones i find off-putting. however, undeniably gaming design incentives can be used to motivate users to perform behaviors compellingly.
another idea, is to create a game in which users compete to paint the city with their colors. for example, the structure of the city grid layout can be used as playing board. the affordance of the geometric patterns of modern city design can be used to conduct game play. by lapping around the 4 corners of a city block a user can fill in the block with their colors. not only might this result in a very beautiful collaged view of the city and all the individuals that flow through it, it utilizes social motivations and game mechanics to get users to want to fill in more blocks compared to others in their social network. additionally, what if users could only attain certain colors by reaching certain destinations?
[photo credit: jennifer maravillas]
other ideas have been sonifying movement data, creating wearable objects to publicly display your movement “score”. or even an object, perhaps in the form of a rubik cube, that only fills tiles based on movement points.@2 years ago with 1 note
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