Our first experiment for Thinking Physically is to “Create an interface or interaction that causes a person to ‘open up’.” This statement is intentionally vague – emotional, physical, literal?
My initial notes:
People seem to be aloof or wary of unfamiliar others. A shared experience seems to break down this distance. Observing a humorous or traumatic event. An emergency where people have to work together quickly. A spontaneous celebration. Whether it is a positive or a negative experience, a remarkable experience is what will break down barriers.
Apparel. A provocative piece of clothing will stimulate conversation. Affiliation though style, political or sports slogan can serve to both connect and to alienate others.
Gadgets – a sighting of an iPhone, and first generation iPod before it would generate interest enough to overcome avoidance of strangers. Someone wearing headphones is interpreted as a signal that they want to be left alone.
Gesture. Smiling might convey various messages given context…however they would still be different than a furrowed brow. Eyes – looking at someone vs. averting gaze. Culturally determined?
On another level, what about established relationships? I’ve been focusing on unfamiliar relationships between people – strangers, in a city perhaps. What about acquaintances, friends, co-workers, family, partners (an all the variant types here). What about opening up more in an established relationship? Would that be limited focused on emotion?
After a quick message passing with Kate who gave me some great advice – don’t overthink it – I came up with a simple idea: “what about a ‘Hi 5′ shirt? Something really graphically simple and aesthetic. without words, a simple gesture and the image should convey the intention.”
I’ll know if it works later today…