Okay, so I think from today’s conversation, I was misunderstood, so after mulling over my ideas for this project, I’ve decided to try to explain this concept again, and finalize what I’m going to do for the next month. This is basically me laying out my battle plans for the next couple of days of things I need to complete for my project. There’s still some computing components involved but they’re relatively simple or should be simple to complete, once I ask around or figure out how to do it. I’ve done some sketching and will probably be doing more sketching in the next days or so, so look for another post from me.
Anyway, to start off, I really want to make a toy. I initially wanted it to be for the blind, but it doesn’t have to be just for blind kids either, although I don’t want to completely disregard blind users, and I’m thinking about ways I can include or incorporate their needs during user testing. I never really imagined that my toy would be 100% audio, and there will definitely be some trigger action involved regarding the interface of the toy/game and how the user plays with it. My precedent for the kind of toy I would make would be the Leapfrog toys with multiple built in interactive games.
The game element is still going to be a huge part of my toy as well, with most of the story/action being audio driven. With that said, you’re not just hearing sound, you’re also touching strange textures. I did a rough sketch to show you what I mean.
So I want to make a robot, which has a “game” element hidden within it. The game is triggered when you press a button on it’s chest, right above a doorway which holds “mystery” drawers and a small trackpad with different textures that trigger different reactions from the game. I’ve already started developing a rough screenplay, in which I’ll be getting actors (or doing the dialogue myself, I’ll figure it out one way or another…), and in the story, you help these characters complete different missions and explore different environments.
While I wasn’t imagining the interaction to 100% mimic this technology, I found an article about the iPad that made me see Apple in a different light. Initially, what drew me to it was how portability was one of the main features needed to make it an accessible app for the blind. I’m sharing it here because although the portable aspect of the iPad has a secondary appeal for me, the VoiceOver technology was something that drew me to it and made me think about the blindside project I had shared earlier.
I initially wanted to “built” a paper board prototype, but with the issues that were plaguing my computer this week, I didn’t get a chance to do that. That was probably a good thing anyway, because I was still on the fence over how I envisioned the robot functioning, interface wise. Over at 55 West 13th, I encountered these sculptures…
…Which really got me thinking about product design and how I want the robot to finally look. I plan on create an illustrator file and sending the file to the AMT laser lab, as well as dropping off Plywood on Thursday. This file will be posted tomorrow to the blog so that you can see how the robot will finally look.
A huge part of this can only be understood visually, which is why I say that I don’t want to talk too much without having the right way to frame it in context, it helps me way more to write about it here than to simply speak it out because I’m just not good at talking or explaining my ideas because I have a tendency to ramble, (like right now, heh). It does not mean that I don’t want to explain my idea. I’m pretty visual, so when I normally say I don’t want to explain my idea too much, I mean that I don’t want to talk about it to the point that the general idea of what my project is about is lost on the audience. I say this because I feel that after our class ended, I don’t honestly think anyone walked away knowing what my project was about. It helps me to present my project until I had a visual aid of some sort that helped support my argument.
So anyway, I don’t think that I should just make this project for “regular” people (mainly because it’s offensive and because Blind people are regular people too) I want this project to be inclusive for everyone and for all children, so I’m being particularly careful about how I want to the users to engage with the story play. I initially talked about the users grabbing or observing things from their environment, but the more I thought about this, the more I was against it because these ideas tend to cater to children who are within a certain “class” and demographic. With that said, the toy will not be “talking” to you, or be overtly monotone like the VoiceOver commands for apple, but these will be special soundtracks Also, I think the visual aid will rob this project of any originality it had going for it and if I make the texture part of the project a mystery, I think people may be compelled to investigate it more. So, I will keep you all posted on what’s next to come.