Brief: Design a way to track and trace human contact that builds trust
Members: Amber Lau, Tanvi Kulkarni, Felix Kirk, Nancy Obeid
Collaborative Partner: Tactical Technology Collective
Mid-point Review with TTC
This week we had a mid-point presentation to TTC, we first we present our research findings with surveillance and trust, then briefly talked about our previous initial idea of data decay and reasons why it wouldn’t work. Next we move on to the new direction of self-tracking. We explained the different experiments and results that we did, and finally present our new conceptual ideas. (view Week 24 post for concept details).
It was quite unfortunate that the three ideas weren’t explained it clearly due to time limit with the presentation, however Stephanie’s, co-founder and Executive Director of TTC, comment was very on point and really did help us to think it further.
Overall, it was nice to know our whole journey from research stage to the point where we started to generate ideas. However, she thought the focus on panopticon is a limited metaphor now, such model isn’t really valid anymore. We also got reminded not to underestimate surveillance from private companies and the government.
2. Data Decay Concept
Stephanie found our first direction with data decay sounds interesting, but the way of fading and forgetting information weren’t so convincing. She said if we go with this direction, there should be a proper closure and ending. We need to think about what is closure look like, and how it an ending of memory can be like. One critical comment we also received from our tutors last week was about convincing firms to give up data, this might actually lead to ethical issues.
3. 2m Trust Radius Light Beam
Stephanie liked the interaction of this idea, she thought it is an interesting way to move away from government. However, the major concern of this idea is moving away from tracing which I totally agree. Also we seems to be creating a design that uses technology which people don’t really need. Our idea is poetic but also a problem technologically to design something superfluous, people don’t need anymore technology that is hard for them to adopt. She suggested us to think of other ways to present distancing. We can think about what 2m means to us and how it can be form, perhaps it would help us to come up something more playful.
4. Trust Badge
Our starting point of hoping to fostering relationship between family members was good, however such point might also create more problematic issues socially. Instead of fostering, it would turn into more social friction and communication fiction between family members. Furthermore, although remote monitoring of elderly can help to support but it also removes personal privacy and some elderly would feel being overly protected.
Tutorials — Struggles
While our team noticed the limitation of the proposed ideas, we still found ourselves struggling on the technology aspect. We couldn’t figure out how contact tracing would work efficiently without the help on technology… Fortunately the guidance our tutors later helped us to clear our confusion. A simple question of “How do I define technology?” made me instantly realised that it could be more than just Bluetooth and GPS. By “no technology” it means not mainly rely on the technology to do contact tracing, we can still adopt technology for other purposes, such as photo taking or sharing things online.
Regardless of the 2m Trust Radius Light Beam idea, our current focus social distancing between human and human, yet we have been ignoring the invisible contact that would appear within us, e.g. cough from 20m away and the air-condition is blowing towards you, these are aspects that we cannot control and consider about. What can we do about? Is there a way out?
With all the comments we received, we found that there’s always problems within problems, and what’s involving now is starting to drive us away from the micro perspective. Therefore, we decided to reorganise our thoughts from the self-tracking perspective.
How do I track my interactions? How can we document our daily activities? By thinking of these questions, I came up with the following answers:
- Voice recording
- Video taping
- WhatApp/ Text message
- Facebook/ Instagram/ Snapchat post
- Phone call
- Verbal conversation
During the thinking process, I realised I actually do use a lot of medium to keep record of my daily activity. Like normal verbal conversation with family members, FB or Instagram story for special events, my own schedule for class, and even text msg with the person that links with the things I do… The way I “document” my daily activity is not centralise. At this point, I was thinking is there a thing where I can keep records of all my documents with dates, then I can look it back whenever I need to.
My idea was actually quite similar to the one my teammates proposed. We also thought about creating check-in poles in every place for people to check-in, and a tracking diary where it contains different layers (e.g. location layer, activity layer etc.) for people to keep record and check later on.
After sharing the ideas to our tutors, they thought we can explore the diary idea. They suggested us to do some research about “self-quantified” and “self-tracking”, and think about how a diary can be formed, and what else can it do.
“Self-tracking” or “Quantified self” means tracking oneself on a practice base regularity then keep a record of it to produce statistics for self review. The idea of self-tracking normally comes from personal use such as understanding one’s habits, behaviours or feeling change. Even thought self-tracking tend to focus on oneself, many self-trackers see themselves as part of the community trackers and voluntary sharing their data to open source sites such as the Quantified Self to engage with and learn from other self-trackers.
In Lupton’s paper, she identified self-tracking in five modes:
- Private (for one’s own purposes only)
- Communal (sharing data with other self-trackers)
- Pushed (encouraged by others)
- Imposed (foisted upon people)
- Exploited (where people’s personal data are repurposed for the use of others)
In some situation, pushed self-tracking and imposed self-tracking might emerge social justice issues because self-trackers are being tracked under surveillance, this lead to less willingness to share their data.
We thought there is possibility of merging private mode and communal self-tracking together to achieve collective goal as fulfilling civic duty in producing small data that is valuable not only or simply for personal use but also for the purposes of others in one’s community.
Security & Motivation
Consider diary is a something personal, containing additional security would help to build trust. Even though we still haven’t decide the form of the tracking diary, we found a USB looking multi-factor authentication that works as an extra layer of security protection of digital data while researching.
In addition to this, Lupton also mentioned how using gamification strategy and the idea of competition would motivate people to continue self-track.
A diary can be taken in analog or digital form. Apart from the tradition handwritten paragraph format, another freestyle format of diary is bullet journaling. Bullet journaling allows people to create customisable system that fits their specific goals, it mainly aims to keep records for habit tracking or self reflection, such as expenses, emotion change, fitness record etc.
When applying the idea of a diary to self-tracking, there are elements that needs to be included, including: location, time, date, and people encountered. Other elements like health status, events, emotion are consider as optional but useful information for further analysis.
New Design Concept — Applying Diary to Self-tracking
Adopting the idea of a diary, our concept is to let individuals to keep track on themselves then record it in a “diary”. Since diary is a personal thing, individuals can decide what information to be included, as well as record it in a way that fits their preference (just like bullet journaling). Self-tracking can be considered as a more ethical way for track and tracing. On one hand, this approach can avoid government surveillance hence protecting one’s privacy, on the other hand, this can increase individual’s awareness to things and people nearby them. The only time people need to give out their diary is the when they got diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Allows people to keep control of the information they want to share
- Information is only collected when people share it
- If Diaries are kept by the family, they could re-connect old and young generations, which is an opportunity to help people’s loneliness
- It still relies on the government posting the location data of Coronavirus patients
- There needs to be a link to technology in order for this system to work. It can’t purely be analogue.
- Relies on people sharing their diaries with each other
Inspired by bullet journaling, Nancy and I both create some diary templates specially design for COVID-19. We both included essential elements of location, time and date, people, and health status. The template that I made contains two version: one is daily format, another one is weekly. Apparently each template looks differently, but one thing that’s in common is that we both create formats that’s easy fill in and no text require. For busy people or people who doesn’t have a habit on keeping track, this way of recording information wouldn’t cause a lot of time.
Experiment 1 —How people keep their diaries?
Apart from ideating the form of keeping self records in terms of the COVID-19 usage, we also did an experiment asking our family or friends to create their own version of diary. Our aim of this experiment is to see how people organise their “data” in their own way.
There are traditional ones, which is written in narrative form or with illustrations. Some people like to keep their diary simple and use bullets points. Nancy even let her cousin to try out her diary template to keep record of his day as well. In addition, some people also like using their schedule as a diary and show it in a timeline format.
Apart from the handwritten format, some people also prefer using digital version. They like using social media such as facebook and Instagram story to keep a record of what they have done for the day. Using digital format not only allows them to share memory and tag people that involves in their activity, the yearly review feature provided by some platform like Facebook would also allow them to look back their previous activity (as reviewing memory).
Another type of diary is merging both handwritten and digital forms. This is more customisable, can be printed to a physical form and easily sharable.
Experiment 2 — Self Tracking & Diary Entry
Our team also tried to create our own diary and see how different our diary can be.
I did my diary for two days in two separate methods. For the first one, I pay more attention to the objects that I touch and people that people that I encounter. For the second one, I write down my activities according to time. And mark down my location whether I’m staying at home, indoor place or outdoor space.
Tanvi record her day using timeline format — brief sentence of what she has done at different time. She also used a container and record the number of people she has contact with different colour identification.
Nancy applied her diary template and record her week.
For Felix, since he didn’t left his house but went jogging in one of those days, he used to map to map out his jogging route, and use colour dots to record people he encountered that may have entered his 2m radius.
It was actually quite fun to see how people have different formats to record their daily activity, but one question that pops into my mind is that: if we allow people to build their own tracking system, it would be hard to analysis and compare them when they share their diary. By that time, it would cost a lot of time and effort to create another system to sort these data then publish to the public.
It was a bit pity that Stephanie couldn’t hear all our ideas because we would like to hear more from her, but this is also a good lesson for us to always keep our presentation precise.
I’m glad our group got to meet to our tutor again at another time this week and talk about our idea, because all of us were very confused with the solution regarding to the brief. We always thought applying technology i.e. bluetooth or GPS will provide more accurate tracking and tracing results, hence more suitable to use for this pandemic situation... After getting affirmation with our direction, I felt so relief because we no longer need to trap inside the confusion zone. We were able to create experiment and test with our concepts, which is the fun part!
Ayobi, A., Sonne, T. and Marshall, P., 2018. Flexible and Mindful Self-Tracking: Design Implications from Paper Bullet Journals. In: CHI 2018. Montreal: ACM.
Lupton, D., 2014, December. Self-tracking cultures: towards a sociology of personal informatics. In Proceedings of the 26th Australian computer-human interaction conference on designing futures: The future of design (pp. 77–86).
Projects by IF (n.d.) Multi-factor authentication with a physical object. Available at: https://catalogue.projectsbyif.com/patterns/multi-factor-authentication-with-a-physical-object/ (Accessed: 22 October 2020).
Quantified Self (n.d.) Get Started. Available at: https://quantifiedself.com/get-started/ (Accessed: 22 October 2020).