Concept: This design consists of a calibrator(the white box) where the users could choose their privacy levels and an acrylic box, where the servo motor drives the bubble gun to turn on. With the belief that a design can “significantly influence consumers’ perception of a product, consumers’ experience and their preference (Bloch, 1995),” focuses on investigating design intentions and relating it to consumers’ interpretations through adding a transparency effect. Just like through the transparent cover of iMac G3, designers can re¬veal the technical details hidden underneath, which prompted different consumers’ interpretations. At that time, “people felt that Silicon Valley technologies were mysterious, however the transparent cover of the Apple iMac G3 enabled people to see technical details under the product cover (Coates, 2003).” This example conveys how consumers can have a different perception when faced with a completely new experience. “It was not perceived as a cold office device but as a friendly and modern household product (Dell’Era et al. 2011).” The idea of a design that enforces transparency comes to mind “as a way to physicalize a boundary between data breaches and overexposure to AI gadgets with always listening microphones(Cababa, 2018)” and to gain trust from users in using this product.
In this model, I only used 1 bubble gun to visualise data loss from the private and family datasets. This was under the assumption that the public dataset was the least significance among the three. Therefore, if users pressed the push button related to the public dataset, there would be no reaction. Additionally, I wanted to know whether having one bubble gun instead of three would impact the usage of this design. An LCD screen was also added to visualise the recorded data that users could classify to either personal, family or public dataset.
Example scenario: when users say, ”Hey Alexa, can you tell me what’s on the news today?”
The word “NEWS” is the detected keyword that triggers the device to turn on, and the underlying data of “NEWS”, such as Location details of where you are is a slot that Alexa would essentially be searching for to complete your request. Hence in this intermediary device, the location instead of news will be parsed on the LCD screen and users may decide whether that is a private, family or public data. These choices will be saved internally in an offline device later used as the reference for triggering the bubble gun next time.
To find out about what users think about this idea, I conducted a user testing to evaluate the design.
User testing Pictures:
Overall, some concerns are expressed relating to online speech recognition, where open source APIs are used, therefore concerning testers regarding hacking into the system, similar to the cambridge analytica scandal. Overall, the testers felt surprised regarding the types of data that are being recorded out of them. This can be seen above, where they were communicating together and their faces showed a surprised look.
How to develop this further?
Due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), I wasn’t able to test it with more participants. Hence, I planned to test the future models using an online method. One of the limitations includes the dissatisfaction of using the voice recognition module as it can only be used by one person at a time, and his/her voice should be recorded before the device can run. This results in a very poor user experience and in planning for this product to be exhibited, it will not allow for interactions by multiple people at a time. Additionally, machine learning abilities to calibrate the saved data is not possible here due to the Arduino’s weak processing power. Next, I will continue using transparency to relay the product message and make changes in the electronic modules to improve user experiences.