3 Concepts


The goal of this weeks presentation was to articulate three possible concepts. Those concepts needed to be considered enough to enable us to choose one of the to develop further and take into next semester. In my research I came to the conclusion that there are two different directions to build a legacy – First, actively collecting (e.g. writing a diary) and passively collecting (sorting things that are already online). Based on that as well as considering the “Design Principles”, “Pain Points” and the “Identity Spaces” I developed 3 concepts. For me, these concepts are a starting point and there will be more in the next couple of days.

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First concept “The Key Concept”

In this concept the center of the interaction is a key. This key is an object (the form is not defined yet) that enables the user to open his/her legacy and save information to that legacy. With the key a “dropbox”opens in which information can be dropped and saved. I used a key to make sure that the user is seriously considering what information he/she wants to add but also to make sure that this information is entirely private and only the key holder can enter it. To make sure that the user is not only saving information but is also providing context and meaning to future generations I added a time frame: Only once a year the user can enter his/her legacy but can then comment on saved data – this should give an opportunity to reflect on the past year to consider valuable information. A “email to others” button lets the user share a experience with others if wanted.

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Second concept “The Family Urn”

Influence by the idea around social objects and this related reading I put the family in the center of that concept. I wanted to take under consideration that a persons legacy is not only personal content but also the social interactions between that person and someone else. In my view, the most interesting conservations/interactions are between people that are close (like family, partner, close friends) and can potentially give a very authentic view about someones identity. Based on that thinking I placed a digital urn as an social object in the middle of a family. This urn has a hard disc in it to save shared experiences and provides access to this content so that family members can add context to the things that they experienced together. The user can save all family names and user names as well as social networks and other online applications (like gmail), this data gets linked and matching data gets saved. For example: If a picture gets uploaded at flickr with the name tags of at least two family members, this picture gets saved in the urn. Another example could be mails between two family members. Later family members can add memories to the pictures, mails, conversations.

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Third concept “Future Message”
With this concept the user is able to send messages to the future. The message is addressed to someone and can be send not now but in the desired time. Personal stories can be send to close friends, the next generation or even to the “future me”.

During my presentation people resonated the most with the third concept – The Future Message. The reason might be that in this idea the human interaction has an emphases. It is also the idea with the most self initiative needed in order to be a successful concept and it dependent on an insightful writing-stile. My prototype showed that the likelihood to stop writing in a regular basis is high (4 of 6 people stopped writing a sentence every second day after about 10 days).

I like the family urn because it shows not only a reflection of an individual but the environment he/she lives in. I think there needs to be more work done in addressing the execution of this concept. It might be crucial to design a object that is more important and meaningful to a family and/or adding additional value by providing a framework in which stories and memories can grow.

The first concept raised concerns regarding the actually object (the key). I think I made it not clear enough that the object is not a usb stick or any other object we know now. I still like the idea: making digital legacy physical. A “key object” might not be the right execution but I will put more thinking in this area.

Next steps and suggestions I got:
1. Meaningful – a major theme in my project. I want to define how data can become meaningful not only for an individual but for future generation. How can stories be preserved and for what purpose?
2. Future proven – I need to make sure that the service/object will work in the future. Improvement by looking 50 years back (what already worked) and a 100 years in the future (what will still work)
3. Media independent – because we have so many object and different medias were all digital data gets saved I want to think about independency
4. What is the role of physical objects? – I think I need to consider if I want to use physical objects to store digital data or physical objects are getting saved digitally (I tend to the first). How can objects become meaningful, how can ownership grow?

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