Yesterday I had the opportunity to user test my thesis project as it exists in its current state at the Quick & Dirty show. Since I’ve been doing some disparate experiments, I decided to show two of the pieces in an attempt to get feedback on what works, what feels compelling, and how the projects might be better synthesized.
First, I showed a web application I built that uses IBM Watson’s Personality Insights API (i.e. psychometrics) to make assumptions about who you are as a person. The user logs into Facebook in the application and then a dashboard appears that shows them their predicted psychological makeup and purchasing habits. I tried to take a satirical/speculative approach, suggesting what psychometrics could look like in the future.
Second, I showed the work I had done on generating 3D facial models from 2D images. The idea is that after a user logs into Facebook, the application will automatically produce a 3D model of their face just from their Facebook photos. I showed the ‘Manufactured Self’ website with the 3D model of my face. Earlier in the day, I had 3D printed a face, so for the show I projected the isomap facial image on top of the 3D model to lend the 3D experiment more tactility.
People responded really well to the visual aspect of the project and expressed a desire to see more of a connection between this visual and the psychometric web app.
Overall the feedback was so useful. I felt as if the common theme was a desire for a stronger framing of the project. How do I want the audience to feel as an end result? What kind of approach or tone should I be taking? Here’s a summary of some of the comments and my initial responses.
- What do you want the audience to feel? Creeped out, shocked, confused, grossed out.
- There needs to be space within the project for users to RESPOND or express their feelings about this. How can I add a way for users to respond to the project?
- Is it an aura reading or a satire on marketing of the future? Should it be more speculative/dystopian? Which approach will achieve what you want?
- How is the 3D model connected to the personality test? Make that connection clearer & stronger.
- This kind of data matters more in the aggregate. It would be cool if you could see how you compare against other people. Maybe when you add your data it enters like a big visualization and you can see who you are closest to.
- It needs to be clearer that this is meant to be CRITICAL of such processes. How do you make this more absurd? Change the language, push it further.
Right now I need to figure out how to strike the right tone with this project so as to make it as compelling and powerful as it can be.