Check out our project tin cans slides
When we thought about prompts for our tin can phones, we wanted to test a range of prompts:
1. Playful + open ended
2. Playful + instructive
3. Serious + open ended
4. Serious + instructive
6. Visual icons
We tested different locations in the park, which varied in crowdedness and activity. We tried passively placing some on benches and actively giving some to people.
- No one participated when cans were passively placed — only when we actively invited people:
- indirect hinting
- direct invitation
- People did not read the prompts — they only observed them after the interactions were over
- We had to inform people about technique of pulling string taught
- Young kids were fascinated because they hadn’t seen anything like this before
- Older people found it nostalgic, and multiple said they used to do it when they were kids
- Some people liked it, others were more disinterested
- Of the people that did try it, the majority had positive, engaged reactions
- When people were using it, the string instigated different interactions itself:
- Some people tripped or walked into it without realizing it was there
- Some kids were playful and tried doing limbo with the string
- Each conversation consisted of at least 5 exchanges
- People on lawns seemed more open to participating. It was also a better environment for the tin cans, since they involve people walking, standing at a distance, and pulling them taught
- Conversation topics were very basic introductions:
- What’s your name?
- Where are you from?
- Where do you live?
- Confusion about who was listening and who should be talking
- Some skepticism and surprise when devices worked
- When people who used it knew each other, conversations were more engaging and deeper
- People watching other people participate garnered interest
Opportunities for next prototype
- Creating some kind of stand/display and signage to draw more attention to the prototype
- Simpler prompt
- 2 versions:
- Open-ended platform where any 2 people can talk
- Booth where one of us is there, and individuals can talk to us, kind of like a live “Ask Me Anything”
- Lowering the barrier to entry: make it easier for people to just sit and talk without having to worry about walking, pulling it taught, etc.
- What’s the takeaway? Sometimes, people just want to have someone to talk to. (Old man story)