Part art project, part interaction design, this concept looked at how to "activate" a space. Our team of five MHCI students chose the Will and Jane Sell Parklet in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh as our space due to the fact that it's well traveled and has walls on both sides, not only providing many opportunities for installations but also minimizing the walking paths so as to provide an obvious place to "activate".
Our initial research involved observations of the space and interviews with people who walked through or stopped there. From these we learned that people sometimes stop to read or relax, though at night it's more populated with people fresh out of the nearby bars. From this research we began brainstorming many ideas, and sketching them out for critique by our peers. From there, we narrowed down to six ideas which we quickly ran by people who were passing through the parklet. While users reactions were not always positive (our goal was for it to be "creepy", which was certainly validated by our users), the idea of shadowy figures in the "windows" who can notice them looking at them elicited the most emotion from users. We thus decided that this idea would have the most impact on the space, while simultaneously not interfering with current uses of the space (other ideas, such as benches that played different instruments when in use, would have likely disrupted people using the space for relaxation or reading). We also felt this idea did a decent job of providing possible entertainment for people who use the space for people watching, as they could watch the reactions of people interacting with the installation.
research, brainstorming, concept testing, video creation