IFTTT currency

Another probe we designed aimed to introduce concepts of algorithms or simplified programming logic to participants within their daily life practices of monetary transactions. Basing this design on fridge poetry, we intended to create a playful interaction which would allow participants to explore equations of values in different ways, thus allowing for imaginative engagement as well as prompted interactions. From initial sketches and ideas of the concept we tried out different selections of words, action and trigger constellations and categories. The complexities and amount of possible words and combinations led us to consider more abstract pictorial icons which we hoped would allow for more personal interpretation. Grouped into a set of categories and paired with a set of verbs, we arrived at the final probe design aiming to both prompt participant imagination while giving them a semi-structured approach to consider their current practices as IFTTT algorithms.

The final probe kit included a set of fridge magnets consisting of one sheet of IF, THEN, WHEN, FOR, AND, OR magnets for participants to create different forms of If This Then That recipes or statements. Additionally icons and words representing common actions and/or triggers were printed on magnetic sheets and divided into five categories:

  • Resources , referring to money, time, data, gifts, people
  • Methods , relating to transactions, e.g. cash, card, cashless, online payments
  • Values , more abstract representions of social, global, environmental, family, economic, health or emotional values
  •  Goods , covering food, clothing and more specific goods relevant for each household (from previous interview)
  • Activities , equally more personalized actions including bus or cars, childcare, photos, social media, entertainment, sports

These sets of magnets were given to participants as six separate sheets which they could easily cut apart with scissors. Rather than providing a large amount of individual and potentially confusing fridge magnets, we intended the process of cutting magnets apart to be part of the engagement. So that the act of cutting the different magnets apart and possibly discussing the sheets with their families prior to placing them on the fridge formed part of the activity. Alongside the sheets of magnets (and additional blanks to fill in as required) we also provided a magnetic holder with prompt, and/or documentation cards. This holder could be placed on the fridge alongside the magnets and included incomplete sentences for participants to ‘finish’ or ‘fill in’ using the magnets, these were to some degree personalized to each household. For example one prompt card would have said “IF we go on holiday THEN…” or “IF I have time to myself THEN…“. With these two main components of the probe (the magnets and prompt cards) we hoped to provide enough guidance to participants while leaving space for playful interaction. The aim of this probe was for participants to be encouraged to both describe their current value practices while also reconsidering and imagining novel practices or combinations for new transactions.