Mary Lim

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

mx: +research & 15 ideas

Ashton and I rephrased our problem into a question during class:

Problem Statement
How can we create a platform where people can share experiences and connect with people in a more authentic way, while also providing potential therapeutic effects, which social media now cannot satisfy/fails to do? 

Those in their 20s to 50s. Particularly those who:
1. Desire Authenticity
2. Embraces Connectivity
3. Need an outlet for stress/anxiety

After we talked with Emmy in class the other day, Ashton and I decided to break up the problem into separate parts. Since we started with an idea/solution first, we have to backtrack and modify our idea along the way. This is what we came up with over the weekend:

This is how we're breaking up the research:
  • how sound effects emotion
  • the need for authenticity
  • social media today – pros and cons
  • how sound effects emotion
    • "there is a second auditory expressive behavior we humans carry out – our bodily movements themselves. Human movement has been conjectured to underlie music as far back as the Greeks. As a hypothesis this has the advantage that we have auditory systems capable of making sense of the sounds of people moving in our midst – an angry stomper approaching, a delicate lilter passing, and so on. Some of these movements trigger positive emotions – they conjure up images of pleasant activities – while others might be automatically associated with fear or anxiety. (The sound of running makes us wonder what we’re running from.)" 
    • "As evidence that humans are the principal source of emotionality among human artifacts, consider human visual signs. Visual signs, I have argued, have culturally evolved to look like natural objects, and have the kinds of contour combinations found in a three-dimensional world of opaque objects. Three-dimensional world of opaque objects? Nothing particularly human about that, and that’s why most linguistic signs – like the letters and words on this page – are not emotionally evocative to look at." 
    • "It’s only recently that technology has enabled us to delve into the depths of the human brain and into the depths of the ocean. With those advancements our ability to study and understand the human mind has expanded to include a stream of new ideas about perception, emotions, empathy, creativity, health and healing, and our relationship with water....People’s responses to any kind of stimulus, including advertising, include conscious activity—things we can verbalize—and subconscious activity,” he once wrote. “But the subconscious responses can’t be tracked through traditional market research methods.” When groups of neurons are activated in the brain by any kind of stimulus — a picture, a sound, a smell, touch, taste, pain, pleasure, or emotion—a small electrical charge is generated, which indicates that neurological functions such as memory, attention, language processing, and emotion are taking place in the cortex" (
    • "Emotions are closely linked to perception and very often our emotional response really helps us deal with reality,"

      This study found that emotional learning on hearing response is found in the the auditory cortex which is known as the area that is responsible for auditory plasticity.

      "Our hypothesis is that the amygdala and cortex are modifying subcortical auditory processing areas.  The sensory cortex is responsible for the changes in frequency discrimination, but it’s not necessary for developing specialized or generalized emotional responses.  So it’s kind of a puzzle.” (
  • the need for authenticity
    • Authenticity is a indicator of credibility, trustworthiness, and accuracy. While fulfilling the promises made to the consumer, authenticity also enforces trust between the producer and consumer, as well as strengthens relationships between the consumers themselves. In regards to social media, people want "authentic interaction" where they can hear/see your personal voice. As social media allows for constant documentation, customers should feel involved in the whole "customer journey" from "initial awareness to total engagement." Transparency is key in this aspect. (
    • Still, ad campaigns in the past took advantage of the desire for authenticity and superficially created the same effect with "vintage" design, harkening back to the past though not actually coming from that time period. In actuality, 66% of customers feel that the transaction between consumers and manufacturers are one-sided. At the same time, 70% of customers feel that brands only seek to increase their profit. (
    • There is a trend of the longing for 'real' as "more and more aspects of life become fake or artificial." This is especially seen in those considered part of Generation X (34-54 year olds). These people are attracted more to "real-world situations and authenticity," and are also more drawn to advertising which seems more calm and safe. Young enough to be technologically savvy and known to be loyal to their chosen brands, Generation X is viewed as a "must-know for marketers." (
    • An interesting tidbit about authenticity and marketing:
    • "This drive for authenticity is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the marketing industry. Despite the fact that, to a large extent, advertising is still focused on creating the right image via traditional channels, consumers are demanding something more tangible."
  • pros and cons of social media today
    • While researching on this topic, I found many contradicting articles about the impact of social media. Overall, social media seems to have a slightly more negative impact on society due to a couple of reasons. Though social media allows for more connectivity through keeping up with friends, it provides an "illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy." There also seems to be a decrease in the simple act of making eye contact between children and their parents. Despite the common misconception that social media is used to contact across large distances, this is not the case. More people use the internet for local contact. The internet also actually promotes engagement to public spaces such as "parks, libraries, community centers..." (
    • Still, there are blaring cons: social networking sites is correlated with "personality and brain disorders, the inability to have in-person conversations, a need for instant gratification, and self-centered personalities, as well as addictive behaviors." Heavy internet use is known to be associated with depression, loneliness and anxiety. Needless to say, more time spent on social media decreases the interaction time face-to-face. Another aspect of social media is its tendency to isolate people and actually "exacerbate feelings of disconnect). (
    • On the other hand, some say social media allows for people to improve their relationships and make new friends. (
  1. app that reveals the origin of the object – ex. cell phone --> landline
  2. app that turns off all electronics at once
  3. a platform to swap skills – ex. one person who knows how to do calligraphy teaches another person who knows how to snowboard, while the calligrapher learns how to snowboard.
  4. a device where you can make whatever you want on a website that can be printed out (3D)
  5. a visualization of what social media would be like if it existed in form/space
  6. being able to hear sounds in real-time that are only from natural landscapes (for people who need a stress reliever)
  7. being able to hear different weather patterns in chosen locations
  8. radio station where you can tune in on a different location 
  9. a way to journal your idea with sound, a sound journal
  10. a place to collect different people's laughs
  11. hearing short tidbits in real-time internationally that are temporary
  12. connecting sound and smell to create a new experience
  13. being able simultaneously listen to chosen locations at once
  14. networking through sound - being able to share sounds
  15. a platform to be able to schedule meets to listen to one sound all at once with many people

I found a really helpful sight in designing for generation x:

logo design preferences for gen x:
according to this website, words that describe gen x are:
individualistic, entrepreneurial, materialistic, hedonistic
gen x' also tend to like symmetrical design, and prefer a naturalistic style (freehand) rather than graphic (mechanical)

People in this age group (gen x & y) like clean and simple design. They also prioritize functionality and embrace technology. Another factor that comes into designing for this community is its uniqueness. Below are some images that I think embodies our demographic:

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