Nathan Koch

Major Studio I: Instruction Sets for Strangers

Monday, October 23rd 2017

Instruction Sets for Strangers was an exercise in site-specific prototyping, user testing, and iteration.

I worked with Carla Molins Pitarch on an intervention in Washington Square Park. Our primary goals were to 1) make it interactive and 2) make it measurable.

We completed the project over the several weeks. The first week, we scouted the location, created an initial low-fidelity prototype, tested that prototype in the wild, and got feedback from our classmates on the result. Based on the results, we came back the following week with a refined, higher fidelity protoype and resumed testing, before presenting our final results.

low-fidelity-1 Our initial low-fidelity prototype gave the user a choice of three bins to throw a ball in, but the nature of the size and construction led to limited use in the wild. We had big ideas about measuring user sentiment through three little Facebook-inspired emojis, highlighting three "buckets" – but the nature of the construction discouraged use.

high-fidelity-1 What we found was that a larger, more adult-sized installation, placed more prominently in the park, hugely increased participation. In our video documentation of the event, we learned that both adults and kids were drawn to the plexiglass structure filled with colorful balls at the top.

In the sense that we incorporated feedback from user testing, and improved our project in a second iteration – I believe this project was a success. However, I do believe we lost track of some of the original concept in the pursuit of increasing our user count.