Independent Contractor | June & Declan

Independent Contractor

> It’s the year 2032 and you’re working a grueling gig-based job for a tech company...

Your task: remotely dispatch drones to deliver packages to people’s homes from your computer. As you work, ulterior motives at play deep within the company become increasingly apparent. You soon come face to face with moral dilemmas as the story unfolds, with your actions revealing an impact on the world.

Independent Contractor​ is a web-based simulation game in active development.

This project received an Honourable Mention for the ECUAA Graduation Award for Community Engagement

A Critique on Surveillance Capitalism & Gig Economy

As a critical game, Independent Contractor simulates the desktop of a gig economy worker, with multiple applications. Exploring surveillance capitalism’s complex structures in our digital existence, and the problematic labour issues in the gig economy industry, Independent Contractor invites the player to reflect on these issues.

Developed with Webflow & VueJS

To prototype the in-game applications we used Webflow which is a visual-coding website tool geared towards designers. It has a great web-design editor allowing us to customize the CSS and page layouts more easily to later be exported. After creating Webflow prototypes we began developing the core functionality and interactions of the game itself.

This is where our tasks started splitting off. June took on Webflow and certain visual designs while Declan coded using JavaScript and worked on tying together the various pieces, pages, and interactivity for the game. After designing the UI prototypes on Webflow, we exported design components and pages to help us begin creating the actual website and functionality for the game.

We learned a thing, or two...

Working on Independent Contractor has been such a great learning experience. Overall, the development process was a lot of learning, troubleshooting, and devising innovative ways of working on both an individual and collaborative scale. There are endless possibilities for designing on the web today which was at first overwhelming but we were able to constrain ourselves to the desktop medium we constructed. Our process and journey throughout creating this game taught us to be flexible and constantly search for new and effective ways to do things.

Moving forward, we would like to refine the puzzles, adding more delivery challenges and puzzles for people to play. We plan to continue developing the narrative, building a more complex world with many more events that will take place. The game also offers a space for writing and social critiques that can be further explored.

We hope to bring a new way of learning about surveillance capitalism and the gig economy that inspires hope and change in our interactions with technology. We also hope you laugh at the jokes we make inside the game. Thanks for reading!

June Tang

Moving from Ho Chi Minh City to Vancouver for my Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design, I am interested in combining interaction design skills with my cultural background to create delightful experience. I am currently exploring how interaction design can impact textual works through format innovation.

When I am not designing, I can be found illustrating, writing sad fiction, or making an oat milk latte, or playing games, or making music, or…

Declan Reilly-Gordon

Declan is an interaction designer and web developer who loves to explore creative and impactful ways of utilizing emerging technology.


Niche Travel | Mike Liu

“Niche Travel” An Information exchange based travel app that focus on traveller community

Project Description

This project, with the aim of better serving people’s travel plans and leading a good and unique way of traveling mode, a specific travel app called Niche Travel is conceived and designed to meet the demand for the new trend of travel style.
Apart from the basic functionality of traditional travel apps, Niche Travel is hoped to provide more functions and serve as a personal tour guide that helps people to plan their own travel routes. Moreover, it is also a great platform that organizes the traveling community for people shares the common travel preference with their friends and strangers.

Key Features

Community

Niche Travel provide a platform for sharing the travel message of the same interest, and also provides a chance for a complete community to make common travel plans or easily share them in a group chat.

Information Exchange

Niche travel encourage users to provide and exchange
information with each other on the platform. All the information can goes into user’s private customized trip.

Interactive Prototype

About Mike Liu

Mike Liu (Liu Ming Heng) is an interaction design graduate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design who focuses on UI/UX, and graphic design in Vancouver, BC. Originating from Shanghai, China. My goal is to collaborate with both modern innovation and the traditional cultural elements in my design work. I hope to further develop the potential with digital interaction’s direct impact on people‘s daily life. 

 


Co-Creating Alternative Approaches to Women’s Safety | Ginnie Morse

Problem Space: 

Women’s safety is an issue around the world, but there seems to be a design blind spot in considering women’s specific safety needs. How can we better design solutions that help female-identifying users feel and be safer when walking in their city?

Solution:

Co-Creating Alternative Approaches to Women’s Safety aims to explore how user research and participatory design can offer us multiple solutions to the same problem, in this case, women’s safety while commuting or walking at night. Complex societal issues such as this cannot be solved with one application or tool, but exploration and conversations about the issue leads us to a deeper understanding informed by and made with the people this issue affects daily. The final product is three different tools, made by three different groups of women, each with a different focus and use related to safety in the public space.

Prototype 1: Google Maps Safety Feature

Prototype 2: Urban Planning App

Prototype 3: Emily Carr University Website Safety Page

If any of the prototypes aren’t loading properly, feel free to access them through these links:

Google Maps Safety Feature 

Urban Planning App

Emily Carr Safety Page

Approach:

As project facilitator, I worked with three different groups of women, who collaborated with me during co-creation sessions, probes and interviews to uncover opportunities for new solutions for women’s safety and to start building and designing the features and purposes behind these solutions.

 Through three co-creation sessions, we made three different prototypes for possible solutions:

  • A Google Maps feature called MoveSafe, that allows users to turn on safe mode that recommends routes with more lights and foot-traffic, as well as an SOS feature and sharing mode where the user can actively share location with their friends.
  • A city planning app, which allows users to report safety issues in their community, ranging from a side street that needs lighting to a need for a bus stop somewhere more convenient for solo walkers.
  • An institutional solution specific to Emily Carr University, which added a page on the ECUAD website where users could sign up for self defense classes, organize group hikes, and find walking partners for commutes home.

All of these features were discussed and produced collaboratively, and the features within them are informed from insights gained during probe responses, interviews, co-design, and round table conversations. Although I did not plan to have the solutions span from institutional, to local, and global I believe it shows a successful depth of research and communicates the goal of this project to show how important participatory design and research is when addressing complex issues.

Reflection:

I really enjoyed this project, and feel I have accomplished what I wanted to do in terms of co-design and exploration surrounding women’s safety. Over the course of this project I received a lot of positive feedback from the co-designers of co-creations and interviews, as they enjoyed being part of a community of women who were sharing their stories, tools, and techniques they use to feel safe, which is also something I thoroughly enjoyed. One thing I would like to do in future iterations of this project is to expand the co-creation to not just involve women, but other groups that regularly feel unsafe or are often left out of design considerations. Lastly, I would like to work with larger groups of people, which was planned for the project but was cancelled due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19. I am extremely grateful to my co-designer, professors, and peers who gave so much feedback and helped over the course of this project. 

About Ginnie

With a passion for user centered research and design, I like to work with methods such as interviews, usability testing, participatory design and surveys, to rapidly prototype and inform product decisions, as well as spur critical thinking about the systems we subscribe to and how they can be re-informed to work better for everyone. I strive to make products and services that are useful, inclusive and accessible to all people.

I recently completed my bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I am currently seeking opportunities in qualitative user research, product design, and content strategy or service design.

http://www.ginniemorse.com


The Salt Shaker | Evan Craig

The Salt Shaker is a musical instrument / toy built upon ideas of tangible and embodied interaction. It uses an accelerometer to encode human shake gestures into digital information, thereby translating these gestures into rhythm and humanizing the digital audio synthesis process.

This project received an Honourable Mention for the Moment Factory Award

What does it mean to play?

Digital instruments offer interesting potential in the space between toys and instruments. Both are played with, but often to different ends. The Salt Shaker attempts to explore this space. It asks what does an instrument look that is simple enough for a young child to engage with, but also deep enough that it can inspire a musician or composer.

Making as Research

Below are some photos of some of many various iterations. As embodied interaction was foundational to the project project it was particularly important to make functional prototypes that could be used and engaged with. It was through the act of engaging with them that the experience could be articulated, generating knowledge that could then be applied to the next iteration.

An Artistic Tool

An important part of the process was playing with the Salt Shaker and attempting to compose some music. Here are two songs I composed with the Salt Shaker.

Here the Salt Shaker has been arranged with another synth.

Here the Salt Shaker is the only sound source. It has been fed through audio effects or resampled for some parts.

Additional Reading

ABOUT EVAN

Evan is an interdisciplinary Artist and Designer with a deep fascination of sound. He is a conflicted technologist who sees the need for creating and understanding value outside of market forces. He is trying to find ways to utilize his broad skill set for the benefit of others while trying to maintain some sort of balance in the form of artistic expression.

Contact: evancraig@pm.me


Problem Space: 

With topics of social justice issues becoming more of a part in our daily conversations, it’s easy to passively support by sharing news on our phones and complain about all that is wrong in the world, but there must be a way we can use digital platforms to bring people to be active supporters.

How can we get people to be more involved with social justice issues?

Interactive Prototype:

Approach:

As the sole designer for this project I was responsible for all steps of the design process from problem discovery to user experience and UI design.

People feel making a change at a global scale may seem like an impossible task. But when they focus on this idea at a local scale the task becomes more achievable. We don’t need big solutions but an accumulation of small changes that will make a big impact.

If I’m going make a digital platform to get people engaged with the local events within their area, it makes sense to design my screens with people in my community. Social justice is achieved best when people come together to support a cause they believe in and actively stay involved in a cause and bringing in elements of that into my design process was crucial. With that in mind, this was a perfect opportunity for co-creation workshops.

1st Co-creation Session:

All students at Emily Carr University were sent an email about the co-creation session and the first 10 students that confirmed the RSVP were chosen as the participants. The planned co-creation activities were: Brainstorming though mind-mapping and sketching on the different ways people can get involved in social justice issues. Discussing and talk about what are some barriers people face from getting involved in social justice issues. Narrowing the ideas down from the previous activities and think about how people could get involved in social justice issues for the first time.

Though these activities, I hoped to get insights from the following questions:

1. What are different ways you can get involved?

2. What are some psychological barriers or other barriers preventing people from being active supporters?

3. What are some way people can get involved in social justice events for the first time?

I was left wondering what happened? Did I not set this up right? How is it possible that we took up 1 1/2 hours and only got through the first activity?

After I replayed the co-creation session in my head, I realized how I’m going to approach the session differently in the second round. One of the most important things I learned was that I needed to get a different demographic of people for the next co-creation session. All 10 participants were designers from different fields. During the session I noticed there were lots of suggestions on how I could approach my problem, which was helpful, but each of them had strong opinions and their ideas were clashing.

2nd Co-creation Session:

The participants for the second co-creation workshop were chosen to ensure that I got a broader range of people. The planned co-creation activity was to have participants reflect on a take home question, bring their answers to the session and start co-creating the screens together.

I had asked the participants to answer a question: When you go through the prototype do you experience any of these feelings?

    1. Comfort
    2. Motivated
    3. Safe
    4. Prepared
    5. Inspired

The images above represent the most important aspects of this successful co-creation session. After the initial analysis, I asked the participants to look over the screens, take out screens or add elements that didn’t convey those 5 feelings from the options I gave them in the question. You can see that screens were rearranged, some screens were taken out and new screens were created.

The co-creation workshops heavily determined the final prototype of my design and helped me refine the final project iterations. Since the goal of the project is to try and shift passive allies into active allies, I needed to make sure they didn’t lose interest in the on-boarding process. So knowing how the participants in my co-creation session interacted with the screens I provided, plays a huge factor in the success of my final outcome.

Reflection

The final outcome of my project heavily depended on the collaborative nature of the co-creation workshops. It was crucial to bring in people to get their perspectives on how they would take their first step into being an active supporter to make this project flourish.

The next steps is to run more co-creation workshops and to keep on iterating. There are no such things as finished designs and there’s always room for improvement!

About Jiyun Park

Recent graduate of the Interaction Design Program at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, British Columbia.

With a dual-focused practice that utilizes my expertise in both illustration and interaction I am able to incorporate both into my design work. I am well versed in all phases of product creation, from user research and profiling, to wire framing, prototyping, testing, and delivery. 

I believe great designers desire to draw upon opportunities and strive to improve on design standards. Desire drives action.

I’m currently looking for opportunities in product design and UX design in the gaming industry or service design.

 

https://jiyunpark.com/

Waypoint Cafe| Ryan Chen

Description: 

Waypoint Cafe is a single player story-based game geared towards casual gamers who enjoy shorter narrative experiences. The game is set in a fictional city where aspects of daily life, such as work and social interactions have been gamified. Putting players in this strangely familiar environment, Waypoint Cafe draws parallels with our own data-obsessed culture, exploring privacy and media influence through a critical lens.

You can find the download to Waypoint Cafe HERE

Goal

The purpose of this project is to explore the consequences of attempting to gamify social behavior. The most prominent example of this in our world is the Chinese social credit system, but many other nations and corporate entities are responsible for this as well. The points rewards card you hold for your local grocery store, the raffle ticket stuck to the side of your morning coffee, even credit scores are used to change the way you behave and encourage acting in line with the goals of those who implemented these systems.

Process

Much of the project was researching and sketching game mechanics that would fit the theme of social credit.  The challenge was finding the right balance of simplicity and engagement. After all, if the game is too easy, it becomes boring, and if it’s too hard, people give up.

The main mechanic I ended up tweaking and tuning was having the player actually living in a fictional world where hyper-tuned social credit systems were deeply ingrained in daily life. players would focus on maintaining their score while working at a mundane day job. The challenge is maintaining a good score while being presented with moral dilemmas and financial challenge while also remembering how to make that caramel macchiato the customer ordered.

Reflection

The main challenge I faced throughout this project was time. As I chose to be a solo act for this project, I was responsible for creating the entire project from concept to art to development. This also included processes that I was inexperienced in, leading to a lot of my time being spent learning as well. In the end the demon we all fear cut my project short and I was not able to complete the game I had envisioned before the end of the school year. However, I was able to create something playable. It’s not much but it’s something I’m proud of and I personally had a blast making, and I hope you get to enjoy it too.

Again you can find the download to Waypoint Cafe HERE

About Ryan Chen

I’m a firm believer in fun things. Growing up, it was always my dream to work on the very video games that I was playing. In my free time you can find me drawing pictures, tinkering with electronics, messing with code or playing games.

I just graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a bachelors in Interaction Design. I’m currently polishing up my UI design skill and learning motion graphics in hopes of finding work in the games industry.

Check out my portfolio: chenryan.ca


Cometta, Cultivating Self Compassion | Arjun Menon

Problem: 

There are many people who face self judgemental or self critical thoughts on a daily basis. These thoughts often become normalized in our lives and contribute to feelings of depression and isolation.

Solution:

Cometta(Co meaning together, Metta meaning loving kindness) is an app that will help you be mindful of your self critical thoughts and respond to them with kindness through a series of exercises. You can share this kindness by sending and receiving kind messages all over the world.

Key UI Screens

These screens showcase key UI outcomes of the product design process.

The top two screens present the feature to send and receive kind messages as a practice of compassion and recognition of our common humanity. The touch gesture of swiping up is given a meaning of releasing a kind message to the world. The movement of the user’s hands away from themselves signifies giving something to someone else. In order to receive a kind message from the world, the user has to accept it. The touch gesture of swiping down, or pulling towards themselves, signifies this acceptance of a kind message from someone else.

Micro-interactions guide the user’s experience in learning and applying the journey to cultivate compassion. These small product moments provide particular functions which come together in a usable, cohesive, and meaningful experience. In the bottom two screens, the micro-interactions allow the user to control visual and functional elements in their journey of mindfulness and kindness meditation.

Process

As the sole designer for this project I was responsible for a wide range of the design process from product concept ideation to, user research and UI/visual design.

Using user centered methods such as persona mapping, user interviews, and field research helped to challenge immediate assumptions in my early concept ideation and inform future concepts and designs.

I moved from low to high fidelity prototyping with testing and feedback for each prototype iteration. The insights from feedback I received during each testing session informed the design in terms of interface and layout arrangements as well as conceptual and experiential considerations. The approach to solving high level problems continued to evolve with new insights from user research which occurred throughout the design process as well. The final design outcome was determined heavily through this iterative and cyclical process.

Interactive Prototype

Ultimately the core experience of cultivating self compassion is amplified and communicated through micro-interaction, gesture and animation. A continuous challenge in the process was maintaining a balance between depth and simplicity of the experience in order to bring in more engagement and interest from users. Placing focus on the kind message sharing feature differentiates Cometta from existing mindfulness apps that might touch upon self compassion as a part rather than the whole of their offering.

About Arjun Menon

I am a class of 2020 graduating interaction design student. My hometown is the sunny San Diego, California.

My approach to design is influenced by my interest and practice of mindfulness.

In mindfulness meditation we become aware of the thoughts and patterns of our mind. Similarly, as a designer I try and be aware of the systems and assumptions we have during a project. I then validate through user centred research and design methods.

I believe the most creative work comes from a place of fearlessness and experimentation. With a strong foundational knowlege of design, I am able to push the boundaries and create captivating visual compositions using established as well as emerging technology. My love for design exploration, experimentation, and play allow me to constantly learn and ultimately create captivating interactions and experiences.

Check out my Portfolio: arjun1am.com


Compassion for a Lonely City | Julia Nowakowski

What if gameplay can become a tool in discovering the importance of human interconnection within a lonely city?

Solution

The “Compassion for a Lonely City” research project centers around a theme of isolation and disconnection in the city of Vancouver. Through collaborative gameplay, this project aims to bring awareness, inspiration and create critical conversation around Vancouver’s loneliness cultures and it’s lack of interconnectivity.

This project encompasses two conceptualizations of the gaming experience called “Into the Void”. The first, an online game with an “In-Real-World” aspect and the second being an Interactive installation, an alternative 2-4 player arcade table, intended for a public/gallery space. As both of these conceptualizations are simply containers to the gaming experience, and due to the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, the project focused on creating a prototype of “Into the Void” that would have been used within the interactive installation.

Opportunity 

While “Compassion for a Lonely City” may not “solve” loneliness, using gameplay as a medium to address loneliness in Vancouver can act as a point of entry by reaching the affected demographic through online communities. It also has the ability to transition a screen dominant experience into our physical reality, which can help mediate a balance between our online communities and physical communities. Additionally, I want to challenge the irony of making a video game for this project since they can be naturally isolating experiences. Overall, we need to re-evaluate our relationship with strangers in order to cultivate new meaning in what community and compassion for others are to us. To do that, we need more intriguing opportunities in creating human interconnections in alternative and evocative ways.

Process

In the process of realizing “Compassion for a lonely City” I used UX design methods, such as exploration and observation to conversation and user testing, in combination with my artistic practice. This was at times challenging but ultimately rewarding and lead to unexpected outcomes. Scratch was used to develop the video game protoypes and a Makey Makey controller for the experience of the arcade. More about my research and process can be found in my medium article:

Reflection

I would like to see the online to in-real world game fully realized. Within that, there is also a potential space that the two parts can be combined into one cohesive experience. Although my technical abilities are not currently adequate at this stage the experience could use augmented reality to weave its story between the physical and real world. This approach would develop the game towards a larger city-scale and act as a collection tool for player data around isolation and loneliness to reflect back meaningful information to the user as well as an aggregated emotional sentiment on a larger scale.

About Julia Nowakowski

As an interaction designer, I value the ability to work in an interdisciplinary nature that is required to build complex concepts. Within that, I aim to continually learn and build my skill set since design as a whole is always changing and there is no reason to stop and say that I know enough.

Contact me at julia.nowakowski9@gmail.com or Link up on Linkedin


EATER'S DIGEST | Michael Peter

Food is essential for our survival.

So how do we feed our cities?

An Experimental Survey

Critical Context

Modern lifestyle has gotten us off the right track, with fast foods, alcohol abuse, drug dependencies, a polluted environment and high-tech stress. Nature intended to fuel our inner healing force with the right natural substances to enable the body to function to its fullest potential. Nature’s resources like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids are designed for use in our immune systems.

This experimental survey invites eaters to declare their last meal. An average of all data entered is projected onto the wall to visualize how a community eats. Users are also invited to print their own individual Nutritional Facts label, which would average their individual meals as a takeaway.

Data Acquisition & Preparation

After searching for the appropriate data from web servers, logs, databases, API’s and online repositories, I discovered the Canadian, Nutrient File: Nutrient Values of Some Common Foods. Published by Health Canada, the Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods (NVSCF) provides Canadians with a resource that lists 19 nutrients for 1000 of the most commonly consumed foods in Canada. Use this quick and easy reference to help make informed food choices through an understanding of the nutrient content of the foods you eat. This data needed to be cleaned for inconsistent data, misspelt attributes, and missing or duplicate values. Next was to model this data on defined mapping rules.

Data Modelling & Visualization

This is the core activity of a data science project. I repetitively explored diverse modes of visualizing data, like radial histograms, treemaps, and population charts. For the aesthetic state of my installation, I chose a horizontal bar graph that averages itself to 100%, maintaining the width of the project installation. Using the RaspberryPi to run a processing code I was able to projection map a corner space. Embracing the darkness of corner space, and improving the visibility of content projected.

Data Analysis & Reflection

Community-wide nutritional information is significant data. It can help us analyze deficiencies in diet, understand resources that a community may need to implement, and help us make informed food choices through a better understanding of the nutrient content of the foods we eat. This survey is location variable, and can be used to compare and contrast various community diets – based on location, climate, and culture. Nutritional Fact Labels serves its purpose in breaking down the nutritional composition of individual foods, not including produce. Eater’s Digest helps bring new perspectives on what we consume, and why. Giving an opportunity for social innovation that builds resilient communities.

Michael Peter, 1998

Third-culture citizen with a global perspective, not afraid of taking risks or embracing uncertainty. His work is widely interdisciplinary, focused in building resilient societies, with experience in ceramics, interactive media, service design and, digital fabrication. His design process is greatly affected by research through experimentation; uncovering the new. He has a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of individuals and communities through his designs. He is also highly reflective, able to assess and understand his strengths and limitations in order to support his learning and personal development. Michael is interested in pursuing an MBA, after receiving his Bachelor of Design in Interaction Design. Everyday he looks for the excitement of what may occur in the realm of all possibilities.

www.linkedin.com/mikeiszen


ViSorter | Shala Lao

Elevator Pitch: 

Many people find washing labels hard to understand which is the main pain point when they are sorting laundry. Our app will help people to analyze, sort, wash and dry their clothing effectively. My design also extending how often different types of clothing need to be wash. Our app has additional features, such as personal laundry calendar.

Project Showcase

Process

I make a website to show my design process. The process map show my idea, design process and also challenges that I face to. Please give you feedback on website. I also do some marketing plan to show the huge marketing potentials of my design, people can invest the project if they are interested. Please click this website to click more details.

https://alovepeace19.wixsite.com/visorter

Reflection

The dome prototype is slow sometimes, I will try to fix this problem when people invest on it. And try to made it as a real clickable website with more detail first for my next step, then do the animation, because the animation make the prototype slowdown. I want to show my grad project more than a student project. I want to make it come true as a real app that can help people doing their laundry.

ABOUT Shala Lao

A brief summary

My name is Shala Lao. I am an interactive designer. I have twelve years experiences of graphic design, which help me better understanding when I switch my role as an interactive designer from Emily Carr. I love to learn new skill. I got great skills on PS, AI, ID. I have experience on 3D software (solidworks, rhino, modo) and motion graphic animation of AE. I am able to do well-finished clickable prototype, website and video for promotion if need to.