The Challenges

There are a lot of adults who suffered from mental health, not only in United States but also all over the world. Meanwhile in United States there are about 42.5 millions people suffers some mental issues each year, which is about 18.2 percent of the total adult population. Regarding the number, this is actually a serious problem. There are so many questions to be answered to solve this problem, but what about a very simple step that an individual can do to help.

This number of people who are suffering from mental health is increasing each year. We were being challenged how to help the community as individual to increase awareness towards this issue. Of course to reduce the number of people who suffer from mental illness is such a big step, but in order to help, it doesn’t have to be something big. So, if we see from different perspective, rather than to make a big impact, we started from questioning how might we at least help people to feel good, to not think too much about their problem.

 

Goal

How might we at least help people to release their frustration and make them feel good afterwards.

 

Process

We spent a lot of time doing exploration and fixing our concept. After that, we started designing rough sketching and making prototype. We did the development after the idea was solid, and the prototype worked. It was in an iterative process. We did some user testing then improved this project after we got some insights from users.

 

Solution

Idea

We did some explorations and researches how to explore users’ emotions and in the end make them feel good. We went through thinking of making a game, which we could adjust the difficulties. But in the end, a game setting wasn’t something we looked for. It wasn’t that relatable to the users in real life so that they could releasing their emotions naturally. We wanted to make it more meaningful and relatable.

After doing some researches, we knew that people tend to release their anger or frustration by shouting, throwing, or breaking something. This gave us an idea to make an interactive piece that actually can vent users’ anger. Users are encouraged to do physical interactions to drive their anger, such as smashing, stomping, clenching on something, shouting, or breaking whatever.

 

Design

This is the design of our project. We wanted to make a semi-personal space so that the user will be more comfortable to interact with it. From our user testing and research, we knew that some people are not comfortable screaming in public. That’s why we designed such a semi personal space.

 

Interaction and User Journey

 

Insights

 

Anger Flanker was exhibited on ITP Winter Show 2017. In this show, we kept observing people who interacted with it, and we found some insights from them. Using Anger Flanker, users actually released their frustration. They kept smashing and screaming even though it was in public space. They said that it was a very useful product and somehow the need it in their home or office, so that they can use it whenever they are stressed. And after they used it, they in fact felt good because they could vent their emotion which they normally didn’t.

 

What Did I Learn?

I learned a lot from this project. From technical parts (how to build interactive product using Arduino and sensors), high-level parts (how to make users fall in love and keep interacting with our product), until teamwork (how to collaborate within different backgrounds). It was actually my first ever to make such as big interactive product other than software.

It was very challenging from the beginning. Me and my team had to discover the problems first before we jumped on the idea. It was not just about making something cool, but making something that really can help people. We did a lot of observations and explorations about human emotions. The discoverability of problem definition and final idea took a very long time. But I knew that we indeed needed to have a strong base in order to make product that is useful for people.

The technical parts were also extremely challenging for me. Yes, I have an engineering background, but it was actually my first time to make an interactive piece using Arduino and sensors. I learned a lot from my professor, Tom Igoe. I learned more about electrical parts from theory to practice. And more importantly, how implement our ideas using technology to make interactive product.

Last but not least, we wanted to make a product that has good user experience. So we needed to think about every detail that the user would interact with. It might be a small difference, but still we had to think every single detail to make them feel good. Since the beginning, I observed the users who interacted with it and found the insights from it. While iterating the process, we kept improving our product based on user insights.

 

Documentation

Read all the documentation in my blog posts here:

A Project About Mental Health (Rough Idea)
Project Plan: Changing Emotion Arcade Game
Anger Flanker: Play Testing and the Insights
Anger Flanker: Need to Release My Stress Soon
Anger Flanker is Ready to Launch
Computational Media Applications: Making an Interactive Piece to Release Frustration

And the code can be accessed here:

Vidia’s  Github: Anger Flanker