We set up this week’s exercise as a group at both indoor and outdoor locations and observed the user behaviour. We experimented with three different objects to emulate a new space; a flexible tube, a robe with adjustable loops at each end, and a rope shaped into a ring on the floor. Each time, two participants would interact with the object.
Reactions, interactions and takeaways
Most participants were unsure of the situation and showed varying levels of comfort. Especially when pairing strangers together, participants either started conversations (they said talking helped to make it more natural) or called out the awkwardness of the situation. Some continued what they were doing beforehand. Ideally, the interaction should be seamless and natural so participants don’t feel uncomfortable or confused (unless intended).
At first we weren’t sure how much to tell participants when we asked them to take part in the exercise. The amount of details we gave likely influenced their behaviour (“please stand in the circle” vs. “here you go”). We need to find a balance between instruction and organic response when framing these works. It should be subtle and not too explicit, yet it shouldn’t be too open (this potentially doesn’t capture interest, maybe due to a lack of specifics/context, and confuses the participants). Environmental factors (i.e. indoors with aircon or hot sun) could also influence user behaviour.
We also tried telling some participants to interact with the objects in whatever way they felt was most natural, for however long they wanted. Some participants took the initiative to test the limits of the space and objects such as untying the laid out ropes etc. These active participants enhance the space by introducing unexpected interactions.