The city is my playground

Some updates since my last blog post…

Here’s my midterm presentation.

After my first prototype with Audrey the Fist, I began brainstorming how I could present my stories. I immediately thought of using the city itself as a home to these oral stories that are usually invisible yet relatable to many. Meanwhile, I was also drawn to the idea of creating a comedy style performance between Google Home (Audrey the Fist) and me because that fits more into my style (funny and sarcastic). I spoke to my BFF Roland about my concerns that the first idea made more sense to me yet the second one was more exciting and he responded “Why do you always have to be so sarcastic? I like the geolocation idea. It’s poetic and unlike what you have done before”. Thanks to Roland. It’s true that I don’t always have to be so sarcastic. I then decided to create a location based audio storytelling app that allows you to listen to a dating story that took place right where you are at. I came up with two different approaches.

One is mission driven where you 1) open the app, 2) greeted by a chatbot, “If you want to learn about how straight millennials approach romance, you can say: I want to listen to a mildly frustrated story, a medium frustrated story, a super frustrated story or an unbearably frustrated story”, 3) select a category, 4) chatbot told you to go to a designated location 5) once you are at the destination, a play button will appear and you can listen to the story.

The other is chance discovery where you are at a place (perhaps a cafe) and you receive a notification from the app, “There is a super frustrated modern love story that took place right where you are at”. You can then listen to the story.

I first started prototyping with the mission driven method through Dialogflow.

I initially had my chatbot read aloud the dating stories but quickly realized that it flattened the stories a little too much so I decided to use the actual voice of those who shared their dating experience. After user testing this prototype, I learned that the stories need to be longer (they were under 1 minute) with descriptions of the environment itself in the beginning to enhance the immersive experience. The other question I had was: how do I get people interested enough to travel across the boroughs or even just walk a few blocks?

Contemplating on the feedback I got from midterm reviewers, it was confirmed that chance encounter is a better method. So this is where I am at now with my project. There are two tasks I am working on simultaneously: stories and tech.

Stories:

  1. Outreach. I need more data. I reached out to people who I have spoken with earlier the semester, friends, friends of friends, aqquantances, professor (thank you Kat), asking for their stories in specific format regarding duration (3-5 minute minimum) and context (an intro of a description of the ambience). I have received about 10 so far and am waiting for more to come later the week. It is a big favor to ask from others and I am so happy with all the supportive responses.
  2. Editing. I went through the files I received and did some minor editing. Mostly removing words such as “hmm” and “like”. The one that needs the most editing is actually. I gag so much, re-recorded multiple times and still required a lot of editing. I finished editing a 5 week “relationship” I experienced last spring yet had a hard time writing about my recent past “relationship” that lasted for 5 months which am still working on the script at the moment.

Tech:

  1. MapBox. I realized the limitations of Google Voice assistant and that what I wanted to make can be built in another platform so I decided to move on to round two of prototyping through Javascript and MapBox API. I was able to get the map kind of working (not sure why the actual map was not visible when I set the longitude and latitude to NYU ITP) but there were no error messages in console so that’s some progress.

2. Geolocation. Many thanks to Shawn, I was able to get my audio file attached to my current location. My next step for the week is to migrate my code to a server so that I can test it on my phone at different locations.

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