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Interactive Technology in Public

When trying to think of a piece of interactive technology in public, honestly, it is very difficult for me. From what I remember in Crawford's book, The Art of Interactive Design, in which the word "interactivity" refers to a series of repetition of three actions between two objects, including humans, which are listen, think, and speak. I found myself having a very hard time coming up with a truly high quality "interactive" technology in public.

The first thing that I thought of as an interactive technology used by multiple people besides the Alexa in our house in San Jose that drove my family of 4 people crazy last Christmas when my parents and I first "interacted" with her as our house was echoed in chaos of all sorts of commands by all of us, and my mom could not even turn off the light because Alexa could not process her Taiwanese accent. However, Alexa is not necessarily used in public. Therefore I kept on searching in my mind and memory. Then I thought of Disney and its attractions.

Toy Story Mania! in Tokyo DisneySea

I used to live in Tokyo for 6 years, and have been to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea for approximately 14 times. A lot of the attractions cannot be considered high quality interactive either as people sit on the rides, and the experience it brings would not change according to the actions of the customers. On the other hand, there is this attraction derived from Toy Story, called "Toy Story Mania!" in Tokyo DisneySea that I consider the most interactive in Tokyo Disney Resort, it is also one of the newest attractions. After waiting in line in toy size in Andy's gigantic room, Disney fans with 3D glasses get to hop on the ride and use the "guns" attached to the car that emit either darts or rings to shoot the object on the screen. The dots and rings shoot from the guns would alter the direction, range (gunshot), and frequency of the shots (how fast the darts and rings get emitted from the gun) based on the angle of the guns controlled by customers. There is also another similar ride in Tokyo Disneyland, called "Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters", where fans hold the laser guns in the dim environment. The goal is to shoot the targets on the evils. Besides being able to hold the guns freely and change the direction of the shots, the The riders can also control the direction of where the "spaceships" would face with a shaft in the middle of the front of it.

Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters in Tokyo Disneyland

The design of the tools in "Toy Story Mania!"are pretty intuitive, without much prior understanding, most of the customers get the idea of how to use the gun, and how to adjust the direction and angle to change the gunshots, and how to change the frequency of the dart and ring shots by pulling the ball attached to the back of the gun as quickly as possible. I think this is a great example of "natural mapping" stated in the book Design of Everyday Things by Norman, as the "gun" and the targets just naturally from a relationship among the control, intended goal, and prompt feedback. Same with the guns that could be freely moved without the attachment to the "spaceships" in "Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters". However, the shafts in the middle of the front of the "spaceships" are often omitted as the "spaceships" turn by themselves from time to time during the ride to face different scenes from the animation. Often than not, fans only discover it after the ride already started awhile ago. Yet, just as Norman mentioned in his article, Emotional Design,

Here, any pleasure derivable from the appearance or functioning of the tool increases positive affect, broadening the creativity and increasing the tolerance for minor difficulties and blockages. Minor problems in the design are overlooked. The changes in processing style released by positive affect aids in creative problem solving that is apt to overcome both difficulties encountered in the activity as well as those created by the interface design. In other words, when we feel good, we overlook design faults. Use a pleasing design, one that looks good and feels, well, sexy, and the behavior seems to go along more smoothly, more easily, and better. Attractive things work better.

Since the attraction was aesthetically well designed, and the positive feeling of achievement is gained through accomplishing the task of hitting the targets successfully as it creates sounds indicating that points are earned when the targets are hit, the minor frustration of not finding out earlier that where the "spaceships" face could be controlled by the shafts in order to better aim the targets was quickly forgotten and forgiven.

#ITP #PhysicalComputing #interactive #technology #interactionDesign #Disney #ToyStory