Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Public Space Project - Phase I

Objective: Observe a public space for 24 hours. Document it. Identify the groups appear in that space and how they interact among one another.

Location: Pier 45, New York - Space in front of the restroom


Time schedule of observation:
Oct 15 (Wed.): 2pm - 8pm
Oct 17 (Fri.): 10am - 4pm
Oct 18 (Sat.): 10am - 5pm
Oct 19 (Sun.): 10am - 4pm

It was very cold and windy on Saturday and Sunday... cold but sunny. I went there on Friday morning and on Sunday afternoon. Most of the people appear on Friday morning were mostly old people, elderly couples,college students, and the ones who's schedules are flexible so they would be able to go to the pier during office hours.

The main activities on the pier include walking, running, biking, dog walking. People go to the pier to get away from home, do some outdoor activities, relax. The weather will be the key factor that determines the flow of people appear in our chosen space.

Main Groups identified:
- The ones that hurry:
runners, cyclists
- The ones that take their time:
dog walkers, couples, elderlies, families
- The ones that chill:
people who hang around in that space (visitors, people who take break, people who wait for others...)

click HERE to view the presentation

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moonlight Dolphin

animated dolphin under moonlight + music of Yo-Yo Ma
took me a whole day...

Moonlight Dolphin from wei-ju Chen on Vimeo.

Sunday night on subway...

it was around 10 pm
i was on my way home, on 7 train
two stops to my station... and... suddenly....
all the other passengers were gone!
there were no people in the cart except me!!
i was happy! very very happy!
why was i happy about that?

have been in the city for 3 months
i was surrounded by pure air in a public space for the first time!
that's what made me happy!

why was i happy about no people?
i guess i'm already tired of being in the crowded New York city...
after 3 months living here... only 3 months... damn..

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Interface Studio: Project I

a group project -- team of two -- with Justin Jordan -- parsons

Pick one reality from Einstein's Dream or Invisible Cities. Design an object that help the people in the story express their personality. Incorporate the form of (a) cube(s) in the object. Be aware of the needs of the people in the story.

In this world, people have no memory. Everyone fills out his/her Book of Life at the end of each day when memory is still in the head. The next day, people forget their past. The only way for them to know themselves is by consulting their Book of Life.


We thought about using different media to create self-portraits for the people in the story, including mirrors, kiosk, memory cubes, etc. Then we thought about what are the NEEDS of the people in the story.

How-Why Chart

Here is a list of needs we identified:
- portable (so people can record anytime, anywhere)
- easy access (to solve the problem of flipping through the book)
- intuitive (user friendly interface b/c people have short memory)
- large storage (to solve the problem of thickening book over time)

First Iteration:

A digital memory cube was our first choice, but it is not easy to carry. Then we got the idea of having the cube sitting virtually in a flat screen.

Here are the initial sketches of the design:

Here are the mock-ups in computer:

The design is a virtual cube with 6 sides. The users turn from side to side by sliding their fingers on the screen, just like what an iPhone user does. Except one side being the setting menu side, the rest 5 sides are all configurable by the users. This is to allow maximum flexibility.

Second Iteration:

The 6 side design was kinda complicated. As the designers, we knew how the thing worked as a virtual cube sitting in the screen. However, when we try to imagine using it as an end user who knows nothing about the design, the interface was a little confusing and we got disoriented after sliding from side to side both vertically and horizontally. In the second iteration, we tried to simplify the interface and put in more efforts on the mechanism design of the device as a whole.

After rethinking about the fact that the users have no memory and their need to have intuitive interface, we decided to set up the sides by default, not letting the users configure everything. In addition, to solve the problem of getting disoriented by having 6 virtual sides, we decided to have 2 sides fixed and the cube only rotates horizontally.

Here are the sketches of the improved design:

Computer mock-up of the 4 main interface:

details on the Notes side:

details on the Record side:
details on the Archive side:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Viola Recital

Poster for my friend's recital.
A violinist from China. wants Chinese painting as the background.

Process of creation:
- washable markers on paper / water
- photoshop