In early July the value proposition of the embedded research at frog starting taking shape:
To research method that lends rich insights into the emotions of consumers globally and delivers a meaningful contribution to the design process.
Since bedding this down, I was able to develop a series of ideation sessions at the frog offices. The first one took place at frog Munich on 27 July. It consisted of 13 frogs and lasted 90 minutes.
In this session I introduced the research topic, thereafter the frogs (designers, researchers, project managers) were tasked with developing concepts that solves the problem of capturing emotion. The ideation session followed a format of:
- Coming up with a set of Assumptions about human emotion (eg. Everyone has emotions)
- Creating Provocations based on those (e.g what if we glowed in the colour of our emotions?)
- Developing Concepts (eg. Let’s create a camera app with emo filters)
The ideas were then distilled and applied to certain scenarios. Thereafter the ideas were then further embroidered by myself and two senior interaction designers at frog (Niels Clausen-Stuck and Vivid Savitri). The ideas were finalized and tested against the criteria for the research method.
The session in Munich was incredibly productive and insightful – the team really contributed to solving the research problem. I am currently researching models of measuring emotion to test/compare against.
Next step is evaluating which of these concepts warrants building, if any.
The current research tools at frog for capturing emotional charge from respondents during diary-style research yields limited results. The embedded research project at frog is now building internal momentum towards exploring new ways of capturing emotion.
Although the practical implications of this tool have obvious advantages for frog it becomes equally interesting from a research perspective to zoom out of the specific task of building tool and ask more general (and fundamental) questions: What are emotions? How is emotion made and measured?
In the paper component of this project these kinds of questions will lead to discussions around the concept of ‘emotion as experience’* – one that is culturally and socially constructed and mediated – in opposition to the view that it is an objective, ‘external, measureable unit.’ Considering this, what do the existing models for measuring emotions contribute to our understanding of the emotional landscape of product and experience research? This leads to a broader discussion outside of the frog context, into the seemingly illusive, perhaps absurdist challenge faced by affect researchers: Is this hunt for an emotional charge an exercise in utter futility?
* Boehner, K, et al., “How Emotion is Made and Measured” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies Vol 65 Issue 4 (Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2007) 280.