Design got really, really big, so I split it into three parts. This first one is about the over all interaction without going into detail about the visual and functional design of the wearable or the website. I say interaction, I mean the algorithm that runs the whole thing. I’m just going to describe what it is really, rather than “The Process”, because my artistic “process” is thinking about stuff while I binge TV series, writing some of it down and, if I’m feeling particularly motivated, drawing some of it. Copy, paste and apply for all steps. If you are interested, the series in question were RuPauls Drag Race, Orange is the New Black and Silicon Valley. Like I said in Phase 1, I’m measuring four variables;
1. Where the user is
2. Who the user is with
3. What the user is saying
4. What physical contact the user experiences
These variables are tracked and have their worth determined according to an algorithm. The interactions worth is measured by points and added up to establish the user’s worth as person. Remember, dystopia.
A user collects points through verbal and physical contact. These are additive actions in that they are worth points. I am a firm believer in making things “Marketing’s problem” when I design, but even I had to acknowledge that a device recording conversations is a difficult sell. So, instead of recording speech, the device records the presence of speech, without storing any recordings. To factor in the nature of the conversation and how that effects the points value, it uses word recognition, with specific words equating to a higher number of points. Positive words, e.g. “love”, “happy” or “koala”, mark a positive conversation. The “good” word list is not publically available, but the display in the garment reacts to the chosen words, making them learnable.
A value is also assigned to physical contact. Different values for different body parts, higher amounts for more intimate areas. Connection made with multiple contact points at once are added together before the application of multipliers (see below), making concurrent contact more significant than consecutive. To account for prolonged contact the points are re-added every minute the contact continues.
Another source of points, separate to the wearable is the users profile. Each page view accumulating points depending on privacy settings. A users interaction feed can be made private, protecting their information, but making page views worthless. A public profile set with a time delay offers users a limited number of points per view, while a real-time feed generates the maximum number of points.
Where the user is and who they are with does not in itself accumulate points, they multiply the points earned by the additive factors.
Location based multipliers can be created in two ways. One of which is by purchase. Similar to the way in which Snapchat allows consumers to buy an area and timeframe to display Geofilters, businesses and private parties can purchase a multiplier for their venue to make it more attractive to customers or guests. The cost of this is determined by the size of the venue, the length of time it is to be in effect and the value of the multiplier. The second method of creating a location based multiplier is natural development. Venues and spaces that consistently attract high volumes of users, especially highly ranked users can develop multipliers without need for payment. Multipliers created in this way can be higher than those available for purchase. The locations of all multiplier spots can be looked up on the site.
Proximity multipliers are based on the rankings of those that the user interacts with. The higher up the scoreboard, the higher the multiplier. These multipliers are attached to the coloured rank system (see below). This makes friends who use the site, in particular those who do well on the site, more valuable to the wearer.
Interactions, and the points attached, are only recorded and valued for seven days. So users have to be consistently active to stay on top. It also means early-adopters can’t get too far ahead of newer users. Only the previous seven days are included in calculating a user’s score.
Oh and the coloured rank thing. A big problem with wearable trackers is a lack of long term motivation. Wearers get bored with goals that start to seem unattainable. With space for only one at the top, users could quickly become discouraged with the site. Taking inspiration from the use of levels in social fitness website Fitocracy, which also uses a points system, users will be sorted into different classes dependant on their rank. These classes are identified by colours, with number one having its own unique colour, from two to ten being another and so on. I made a table but I am too lazy to go find it for you now, maybe next week. These classes continue up to the top million, above which the user is “colourless”. The break up lets users set themselves smaller personal goals. This coloured rank also justifies the garments displays existence beyond “I just really wanted to put a bunch of LEDs on a dress”.
I will cover either the dress or the website next week, depending on my mood.