MANIFESTING DATA DRIVEN DESIGN IN A SPECULATIVE FINANCIAL FUTURE.
What if the systems we use could understand emotions just as well as they understand numbers?
Numbers matter in decisions. We all know Mr Numbers, right? Mr Numbers is that really smart person who is always right and rational and whose decisions fit nicely in spreadsheets and calculation profiles. Numbers is the gatekeeper for truth. But one thing that rational Mr Numbers cannot do quite yet, is to understand feelings, emotions and intuition of people.
Our systems around us, such as our fitness watches or computer screens, might soon be able to measure very specific types of emotions. Some of these systems increasingly know how to make correlations with our emotions, for example in how we make financial decisions as people.
Spotify is one current example. The music service allows users to navigate the platform via mood-based playlists — as opposed to traditional consumption of genres. Through analysing our patterns, it curates the perfect listening experience, according to our mood.
Music makes us happy- and what other things does music makes us do? If systems are capable of measuring our sentiment and identifying our intent, what insights can we draw from our emotional state when it comes to our financial decisions?
In this near fictional future, we posed the idea of having a system that lives with you that increasingly recognises your mood through the music you listen to, combined with knowing your location and browsing history.
Scopus is financial a system that knows your goals and aspirations. Scopus can therefore make beneficial data correlations, presented to you when you need them in the daily journeys of your life.
Klio Rapakoulia (Interaction Design)
SKILLS / TOOLS
Speculative design, Systems thinking, UX, Storytelling, Film making, After Effects, Sketch, Principle
4 weeks during the conceptual Fluid Assemblages course
A personal system for your aspirations
Main UI of the screens by Klio Rapakoulia*
Data correlations & beneficial suggestions
The project was a speculative project, focusing on “thing” - centered design research. We were challenged to design for data driven design, and create concepts that constantly feeds out of user data and changes over time. The brief given was very open for interpretation, testing our skills as designers to make sense of the new and complex knowledge gained.
Weeks of theory and critical knowledge on data economy, mixed with our personal interest in psychology and human behaviour, led us in to a pathway of exploring human emotion linked to peoples financial decisions.
Purchases reflects our innate human emotions, such as fear, anger, regret, and happiness.
“FINANCIAL WALLET” PROBE
We started out with giving randomly selected people a probe. This probe was an excel sheet, which in we asked them to give us insights on some of their recent purchases. The people started to #hashtag their purchases, and graded the VALUE vs MONEY aspect each purchase. These qualitative insights, such as comments and hashtags, gave surprisingly interesting results, since it gave us insight as in how to think as a system and how to start quantifying emotions.
The pattern that emerged was that most people are not aware on how much they spend on things that do not really matter to them.
How could we bring out the real values of peoples purchases and transactions in life? This is the questions we now started asking for this project. Buying a coffee in a cafe, may feel like nothing, but buying that special handmade cup for your loved one in a special store can feel like it means the whole world to you. Still, in your bank-app- these transactions looks exactly the same with - signs. These are very factual representations.
We followed up with interviews on how people view their subscription friends. Later we mapped out journeys with our personas, to be able to comprehend the journeys people go through in their daily life and how they make their financial decisions.
We conducted workshops on what people value in life. We later were showing them their purchases animating in to their “values”
Most people had epiphanies that their random purchases and values were closely related. This led to interesting discussions about what the system could do to help them improve or achieve their goals.
Using sketches, user journeys and a living strategic scenario script, became our tools to tell the story. We worked closely with making narratives and with the use of storytelling as method. This was a choice we took due to the complex nature of the concept - and to be able to show several digital touch-points with data in a clear way.
MOVIE PRODUCTION AND AFTER EFFECTS
With online calls and advice from Martin Gärdemalm from Lampray production company we got a lot of insight and knowledge in movie-making. We filmed during a few days and edited during half of the week.
OUR CHALLENGES AND RESOLUTION
The project revolved around system-to-human interaction, exploring when and how systems touchpoint with people.
Designing for data and show data generation over time in a digital system, is a huge and complex process. User / thing perspective becomes significant. An interdisciplinary team, with data scientists and business would have been beneficial, since mapping out the many financial systems was extremely difficult.
As a reflection, we could have concentrated on just one single aspect. Narrowing down would have made the concept simpler, by letting our process take us further we could investigate how the system could correspond to different data points from the user - goals, mood, persons location and more - realistically mimicking the multiple types of ways systems are interacting with us today.
We played the role of the system, and tried to think as the system.
DESIGNING FUTURE DATA-DRIVEN PROJECTS
Our approach becomes constructivist in its nature, attempting to improve and change from “within” systems, rather than create entirely new ones as in for example the design fiction approach.
Trust is key. As a designer, there is a clear benefit from showing data transparency, for data driven services and bringing it down to simple, everyday interactions.
We based our whole story on real-life interactions from the ethnographic insights we had conducted. Users then started to relate to the complex system in a comprehensible way.
MY ROLE AND REFLECTIONS
The first part of the project was based on behaviour economics. We conducted a series of user workshops with probes, organised as a team.
Further on in the project I took the lead on the overall strategy and storytelling methods, and sketching personas.
I did the organisation and connecting people together, scheduling, movie boards, mood boards, script, and video making.
In this project I conducted minor parts of the UX, a few screens, focusing more on the After Effects animation and editing.