The start of this week marked a significant milestone in the project as everyone presented their mark 1 prototypes. I have to admit, I had hoped that my prototype would be a lot more refined but designing the chair is proving to be a bit more of an issue than I thought it would be and therefore my mach 1 was very much an experience prototype.
I used it to demonstrate how the user might interact with the chair – as they sit in it, a pressure sensor detects their presence and sends a signal to the book stand to light up and draw the users attention, encouraging them to pick up the book and get an insight into island culture and the story behind the chair.
Graham had suggested that it would be useful to highlight the things that we were not yet satisfied with which I did. For starters – and this is the most obvious – I want the mark 2 to be as close to, if not exactly like the final prototype. That means I have to decide what that will be and commit to it. I’ve got a few ideas in development right now. One of which is that the chair will be inspired by man’s intervention on the island, rather than the island itself. The example below is a chair inspired by the countless derelict boats that are dotted around the island. It’s a nod to the islands culture and a way of life for people on this island. They are quite beautiful as well and I feel they actually add something to the landscape.
The other idea is to have a holy trinity of three similar looking chairs that would each symbolise something different which would be represented by using different tweeds on each. I like this idea because the Harris Tweed plays a more meaningful role here, as opposed to the boat idea where the chair itself symbolises the most.
Another development for the mark 2 is to have the technology working more seamlessly and to explore the content of the book further.
Before the presentation I was a bit nervous. I had seen people go before me looking very confident and sure of the direction they were going in. I, on the other hand, had all these different aspects of my project that just don’t seem to be gelling together in a way I’m happy with. Graham confirmed that problem when he said that my project was in a good place going forward but that it was too complicated at the moment. The discussion that followed though, helped me to clear things up in my own head.
Basically, the way I see it, there are three main aspects to my design:
1. The chair.
2. Harris Tweed.
3. The story.
To make my project work, I need to decide what the heirarchy of these three aspect are. As Graham pointed out with my current prototype, I’m designing a chair only for the users attention to be taken away from the chair into the book. That makes the project seem more about the book than anything, so it would have to be really good. The second point that Graham made was that if I go with the boat chair, that might steal the show away from the tweed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s not too late to slightly adjust the position of the project. However, I think Harris Tweed is most iconic and interesting part of my project and is the reason I started it. For that reason, I think the hierarchy should be:
1. Harris Tweed.
2. The chair.
2.5. The story
There’s a reason why the story is 2.5 and not 3. That’s because the Harris Tweed kind of depends on the chair, but the story depends on the Harris Tweed chair. Also, the story could potentially be part of the chair, by which I mean literally built in to the chair. Clearly, there are still several decisions that need to be made before I build mark 2 but deciding on the hierarchy will go a long way to making them.