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Implementation and evaluation of a "Friendship flowerbed" - a novel approach of incorporating interactive friendship data physicalization in gifting experiences

  • Data physicalizations are physical objects that encode data. The concept comes from data visualization, except for in a physicalization the data is presented as 3D tangible objects. Research shows that physical representation of data and being able to interact with it improve understanding and memorability of data, which supports the embodied cognition thesis, according to which cognition is supported by the body and the physical world and developmental psychology research, suggesting that manipulation of physical objects can promote understanding and learning. Alongside traditional physicalizations of statistical data, there also exist physicalizations of personal data, for example heartrate patterns, DNA data, one’s emotional states during the course of the week, etc. Research shows that such physicalizations, often embodied into everyday objects to promote familiarity and intuitive interaction, stimulate self-reflection as well as social interactions by telling others the stories behind the data. Some researchers thought about using data physicalizations as gifts and created example of such gifting artifacts. However, the design process of these artifacts was not based on the user research; nor were the physicalization gifts evaluated in any way. This is the gap that we are addressing in this master thesis, and the goal of our project was therefore to create and evaluate a personal data physicalization present using the human centered design approach. We started our work by conducting user research: performing interviews and defining the important characteristics of the future physicalisation gift. It was followed by a brainstorming session of possible design solutions and creation of the prototype. The prototype was then tested with users, addressing understandability of the data presented in the physicalisation and subjective perception of the gift. Our documentation of the findings and the research process provides a new step in the research of personal data physicalisations and lays out new topics for future investigations.

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Author:Tetiana Marchenko
Examiner:Rosa van Koningsbruggen, Kai Essig
Document Type:Master Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2024/03/12
Year of first Publication:2023
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Rhein-Waal
Degree-granting institution:Hochschule Rhein-Waal
Date of final exam:2024/01/31
Release Date:2024/03/14
Faculties and Institutes:Fakultät Kommunikation und Umwelt
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen