Interview with Mei Chun Lin at Thursday 5th of May 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
ML : Impulse is a mobile app that helps you explore places to go and activities to do spontaneously based on your emotions. While you are on the road, input your emotions and what you feel like doing, Impulse will suggest various experiences that are happening now close to your location, using speech recognition and artificial intelligence. Figure out what you are going to do next on the go. The most rewarding part of traveling comes from the unexpected experiences and being spontaneous. Live in the moment and find your serendipity with Impulse.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
ML : My main goal and challenge at the same time is to find the balance between human and technology. People nowadays use so many digital products, but often times it’s easy to get distracted and lose quality in life. Creating Impulse is not just using technology, but it’s always making suggestions catering to user needs, and encourage people to try living life a little differently once in a while. I want to establish the fact that we could utilize technology as a tool and create value as humans.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
ML : Traveling has become more and more popular nowadays. People take trips around the world not only to get away, but to explore, meet new people, and experience different cultures. One of the most rewarding traveling experience comes from the unexpected. There are a lot of travel guides and websites available, but none of them is focus on the spontaneity of traveling. My mission for Impulse is crafting an experience for this type of serendipity, for travelers to create stories of their own.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
ML : It’s not a particular design that inspired me to create Impulse, but this trend of people started to embrace different ways of living by utilizing new technologies. Services like AirBnb allows you to travel and live like a local, Siri helps you set up calendar reminders, set up meetings or even look up a song playing in the club you’re at, and virtual reality transports you to an incredible place and time where you couldn’t be years ago. I was motivated by these new lifestyles to create new sets of values for people to live a happier life.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
ML : Impulse is designed for people who don’t live life by a rule book, embrace serendipity and like being adventurous and trying different lifestyles. No matter where you are, what you’re feeling, there’s always activities and events to get involved in. Impulse is perfect for those who enjoy being spontaneous and living in the moment.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
ML : I think I came up with the name Impulse on impulse! It represents the desire and urge you have to either go jogging, reading at a bookstore or even deciding to go for a quick weekend getaway in Boston. As humans, we often have feelings that drives us to do certain things, and Impulse is helping you capture those feelings and give you suggestions on what to do based on those emotions.
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
ML : Human. There are so many products and services out there that are using great technologies, but it’s very easy to get lost in building endless features. Impulse takes input from users to suggest a list of activities, but allows people to still be the champion of making decisions. Each person value and live life differently, and Impulse allows everyone to take on life based on different emotions and preferences.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
ML : It was a fun but also difficult process researching for Impulse. There are already a lot of competitors in the market who are trying to better the traveling experience, but what other pain points or needs of the travelers have not been solved or taken into consideration? After discovering surprises are one of the biggest rewards in traveling, it’s interesting to look into the different possibilities of spontaneous moments that can happen during a trip.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
ML : I’ve always been a fan of art and design since I was a kid. Never would I thought I would go to an art school and pursue a career of being a designer. It’s been an incredible journey learning about every aspects of interaction design and turning my passion into a career. Submitting to a competition is a big step for me in terms of putting my work in front of a panel of international judges. It’s daunting because showing work and get critiques is often really hard, and I know I have to step of my comfort zone and do it in order to become a better designer.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
ML : Learn to listen. One of the most important thing while designing a product is to listen to the people you’re solving the problem for. The last thing you want to make happen is designing for something no one would use. There are so much to learn from doing research, brainstorming ideas, making sketches and showing it in front of people to get as many feedbacks as possible. Designers solve problems by not only their craft, but their creative mind and their ability to come up with solutions with user feedback, testing and validation.