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So… I have proven that I have time to bother other classmates while they do their work, I can make stop-animation movies, and I can spy on what others are doing… but what have I been up to? Where am I in my process?

After months of research, the past few days have served as melting pot for my ideas. These are coming together through visual articulations that intend to offer tentative answers to the research query. In my case, word and content games are key to ignite the development of visual ideas.

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In my sketchbooks I articulate relationships, ideas, possible reactions and what ifs… Very similar to trying to color-in a coloring book without crossing the lines, although in my case I always leave my determined boundary. Focus is like a mirage that I search for.

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The process began in the ideation of a digital wallet.

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Wallet behaviors would be affected by the folding of the artifact.

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Various metaphors reveal larger lessons about the management of monetary assets.

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Questions and more questions…

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Ideas flowing… and in a moment of pause, I took the time to draw an idea for a necklace.

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Somehow a swamp came to visit, from which some notes on credit visualizations began to happen.

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Notes from the PBS movie The Ascent of Money.

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Dan Ariely came to lecture at NC State, serving as reminder to his ideas which I read almost a year ago. Perfect timing.

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Thinking about wireframing. Concentrating on the mobile platform.

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Bringing in Shelley Evenson’s Cycle of Experience.

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Plotting my current investigation in comparing to others such as Mint.com.

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Four interests: deciding on what I need vs want, sharing and comparing, choosing an item and buying, or not.

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Need vs Want.

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Sharing.

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Choosing.

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Buying… or not.

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After some time I moved into the digital realm to wireframe some of this information to see if the sketches were translating correctly into the medium of exploration. This step revealed interesting interactive qualities in the affordances provided by a screen of such size, and most importantly, that this project is not about the act of shopping, but about the processes and internal debates that happen just before.

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Research has revealed that people with lists tend to be more responsible with their spending and their consumer activities, so I decided this was a good starting point for such explorations.

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The list, being touch-interactive, affords more expanded views and deeper levels of information.

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The interactive qualities of the device itself, recognizing between vertical and landscape modes, allows for even deeper levels of information and a hint at categorial frameworks.

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An illustrated way to interact with a possible list.

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Could you photograph and item for the service to recognize it automatically? Why not? Amazon does it already in their mobile app.

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Could I take the recognition capacities and have the device read of RFIDs?

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Say, if I were in the soap aisle, and I am facing a moment of indecision, could my phone load the available options by reading the RIFDs?

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Let’s say I am interested in a lamp. I have shown preference over one. The system provides other options.

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Again, taking advantage of the already known device behaviors, a switch to landscape changes the mode into sharing.

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I decide I want to video chat about this. I choose the person from my address book.

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Valentina says: “No no… bad choice. The bulb on that lamp is irreplaceable.”

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Valentina provides her own option.

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I drag into my well of options, but making it the preferred choice by placing it in front.

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Once I have my items, could I search for the stores that have the best deals or the most of them in one place?

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I check the ones I need (want) to buy now.

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System makes a search, returning recommendations and clarification of why.

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Of course, it can give you directions to the place.

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And even better, it can guide you in the store to maneuver through the labyrinth of consumer disaster.

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MOVING FORWARD…

I have to say that my project is not about the act of buying, or about making it easier for people to shop, and I am aware of the fact that most of my prototype explores just that. I just had to plot out a concrete system that allow me to ground the abstract explorations that are now coming.

This morning I shared these wireframes with one of my committee members. It was decided that the possibilities of the list metaphor need to be exploited and evaluated. Could this list feature have limits or capacities imposed by the system based on current income and expenditure patterns? Could the limit be money based, so that if I have items that cost less, I can have more because I have not reached my budget cap? Can I include, or even push a categorical approach to provide a system that allows users to identify between a needs and wants? How can users make judgements between them?

Is this about orienting me? If so, products would not be the only thing that could be included in this list. Experiences, like going out to dinner in restaurants, could play a key role on the process.

What is the information that a consumer in a rational state is looking for? I can’t let the project become a catalogue, but can the process reveal, for example, the real long-time costs of something. If I buy the cheap fridge now, will it cost me three times more later in electric bills?

After some reflection, my thoughts are inclined to seeing this project as a touchpoint to reach consumers at a more rational stage. How can I teach them to develop their intuition on the matter at hand?

more to come… stay tuned…

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