To begin a further exploration into making the Defiant Devices project a participatory experience, I quickly generated a prototype of a simple workbook. My goal for this 2 page mock up was to take an initial stab at inviting others to experience the process of defiance.
10 participants were given a set of 2 worksheets. Each worksheet had a different machine. The participants were given the simple instruction (on the sheet) to “
Draw Invent a Defiant Device that beats the above machine.” The rest of the process was up to their own interpretation – I was interested in giving very minimal instruction to better witness the participants’ inclinations and assumptions. The results were very interesting, and varied. Overall I received positive feedback from the participants about the experience of defying the machine, however, I discovered that the participants all shared similar confusions and hesitance to the project.
Over half of the participants claimed they felt overwhelmed and intimidated because the illustration of the machine they were to defy was extremely detailed (gosh, thanks guys), and they felt as though they were expected to draw at the same caliber. This intimidation sparked a bit of a lag in the participation, and resulted in the desire by some of the participants to explain through writing, as opposed to illustration, their invention.
Another discovered flaw in my worksheet was a confusion about the assignment’s goal. 50% of the participants interpreted “defiance” and “beat the machine” as “optimize the existing system” where as the other 50% interpreted the instructions as “invent a new device that is designed to break the system.” The latter is what I was hoping for.
Moving forward / other user comments:
- How can the workbook get progressively harder from start to finish?
- What language can be used to make the goal fo the assignment clearer to the participants? Perhaps an example should be in the first page?
- How can the experience be less intimidating for the participants without compromising the detailed imagery?
- What kind of reward system / conclusion could be given besides the gratitude of finishing the set of assignments?
- What would happen if this was a collaborative effort as opposed to an individual effort?