NARRATING ENVIRONMENTAL DATA:

Connecting Environmental Measurements with Embodied Experiences 

Overview: 

In collaboration with Microsoft Research, this project explores alternative forms of data representation to help connect device-centered environmental measurements with the user-centered embodied experiences people have with the air to increase environmental awareness, support reflection, and inform practices. We conducted a two-phase design fieldwork to obtain an empirical understanding of the rich contours of experiences people have with the air and outline design strategies in turning environmental data into actionable knowledge. 

Methods: 

  • Experimental design

  • Screening survey

  • Semi-structured interview

  • Cognitive mapping

  • Co-design workshops

Impacts:

  • Collaborated closely with local governments, community members, and in-house R&D teams to deploy a low cost, low powered air pollution sensing platform that drastically increases the granularity of urban air quality sensing by 10-100 times.

  • Aid public understanding of the ecosystem to help promote community health, global sustainability, and ecosystem resilience.

  • Inspire the exploration of multisensory data representation models to help increase stakeholder inputs and improve data transparency/accountability.

  • Directly lead to the development of air quality windchime where one can "listen to the air" to perceive its quality. The design improves involvement in citizen science initiatives, cultivates sensibilities to the environment, and encourages sustainable behaviors. Listen to the air now on the interactive site of Project Eclipse or watch the video below from 1:58 - 2:45.

 

Collaborators:

Justin Cranshaw (researcher), Asta Roseway (research designer), Ani Babaian (program manager), Paul Johns (research engineer), Gavin Jancke (engineering manager), Scott Counts (researcher), Vaishnavi Ranganathan (researcher), Bichlien Nguyen (researcher), Kristin Lauter (research manager).

 

Publications: 

Szu-Yu (Cyn) Liu, Justin Cranshaw, and Asta Roseway. Making Air Quality Data Meaningful: Coupling Objective Measurement with Subjective Experience through Narration. In Proceedings of the 2020 Designing Interactive Systems Conference: DIS ‘20. ACM: New York. (Acceptance rate: 24%).

*This project was funded by Microsoft Research. My work is featured on the Urban Innovation Initiative webpage as the banner! 🔮

 

© 2020 Szu-Yu (Cyn) Liu