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  1. 1. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. The MeWe Project The Experience Design Model of Improving Intimacy in Couple Relationships: An Emotion Disclosure, Listening & Exploration Approach Rahul Pramanik MA Design Studies 09
  2. 2. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. What if relationships could be designed to improve?
  3. 3. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. The quest/ion... The need to establish and maintain close relationships and connections with others is a central and fundamental human motivation as well as being a source of true happiness & well being. Most individuals see intimate relationships like marriage as the most intimate relationship they experience and that serves as their primary source of affection and support. However, In light of the pervasive migration, globalization & changing values that characterize modern existence, close relationships seem to be molding & disintegrating in this ‘liquid society’. Design on the other hand with all its influencing power has been infamous for having a huge preference for all things commercial and not charting people’s well being route too often. It was this unique combination that I attempted to be address through my thesis question “What if relationships could be designed to improve?” in a bid to answer the global question: Can design truly serve our most basic and important needs (and still be profitable)? The narrowed down question post desk-research: Q. How can consciously designing the experiences of a couple enhance the core builders of intimate relationships like commitment, intimacy, communication thereby improving their relationship? Keywords: Experience design / Everday rituals / Improving key builders of relationships “Whatever the approach, I think it is important to improve our data based understanding of intimate relationships. For while many seek love and closeness, they often do not know how to find it or how to hold it once it seems in their grasp.” (Levinger, 1977b p.157)
  4. 4. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Why feelings... The first step was to conduct qualitative interviews with couples enquiring about their daily experiences to find things like “what comprised of their positive and negative experiences?”,”What made some of their experiences so special/worse?” etc. Upon making an experience map of the reasons behind their negative experiences, I observed a golden thread that was running across all these relationships i.e. most of these negative experiences were a result of unspoken & unheard feelings between the partners and vice versa. Seeming something that could be widely applicable and beneficial, the area of feelings and emotion regulation was chosen as a direction forward. Selected visual representations of the causes of negative experiences: “the zone of comfort” + = “the pressure to perform” “the elephant under the table” i.e. Unspoken/Unheard Feelings “preoccupiedness” “controlling behaviour”
  5. 5. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Evidence supporting the vision... Upon further research, the acute need for working on this domain was clearly evidenced in the following facts: * Emotional intimacy is one of the most important factors affecting happy and satisfied relationships. * Emotional intimacy is the single biggest problem bringing couples to relationship therapy / marriage counselling. * There are many couples who despite facing problems do not go for counseling in apprehension of bringing a 3rd person into their relationship. * Most of the therapy tools available presently like ‘Counselling, DVD programs, Workshops, Online Articles etc’ are either too simple and lack novelty to keep the couple’s from using it time and again or are too overwhelming for them to integrate into their daily life experiences. Some examples of the insipid, redundant & overwhelming methods used in couple’s therapy: or “DVD programs” “Workshops” “Quizzes” “Articles”
  6. 6. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Prototype testing (phase 1)... With the previous research and evidence gathered, I envisaged designing an everyday based experiential tool that would improve the experience of expressing and listening to feelings between couples. The idea was to create a stream of feeling expressions of both partners by getting them to express their feelings in the tool periodically (tacking unspoken feelings) and archiving it for them to revisit it later for a meaningful exploration ritual (tackling unheard feelings) of these feelings. Together done, this experience would enhance and foster self disclosure (i.e. intimate expressions of the self) and partner responsiveness (i.e partner listening and validation), the two key components that improve Emotional Intimacy. To test if this model would work or not, I did the first round of qualitative field testing by creating three prototypes that constituted a crude version of the abovementioned experience. The tools were in three different mediums i.e. the MeWe Diary, MeWe T-shirt & MeWe twitter covering a broad range of relationships types and was tested on a diverse mix of couples (read below for more about how each tool worked). The primary objectives were to find i. If my proposed hypothesis was valid or not ii. How the different mediums would impact the same experience? & iii. If true, how could it be even better designed? “MeWe Diary” Both the diary and twitter were 7 day experiments. Each member or “MeWe T-Shirt” The T-shirt was a 1 day experiment for couples who didn’t live together/who couldn’t commit to the 7 day experiment. Each partner was given to wear a white t-shirt and asked to express of the couple was given one private diary/twitter account each themselves on each other’s tshirt backs every 2 hours by and asked to express themselves in it every 3 hours (text answering the same questions. At the end of the day, the couple reminders sent by researcher) by answering three questions: would exchange their t-shirts to go through each other’s feelings What are you doing? How are you feeling? & What makes you feel and have a small discussion about it. this way? At the end of the day, the couple would engage in an exploratory ritual where they would exchange their tools and go through each other’s feelings and have a small discussion about “MeWe Twitter”
  7. 7. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. What they said... Several expert professionals from the fields of psychology, couples therapy and experience design were consulted to leverage their experience in making the experience ethical and sustainable before testing. Following are some feedback: “ RELATE UK (Over 20 years exp) “I am blown away by your ideas. I think they are brilliant. I also think they will be fun and helpful for couples. Keep me in the know as your project progresses.” Judith Verity, couples therapist “I think you've got some really interesting ideas and they're definitely worth trying out with several couples to see how they respond to them. I like your notion of periodically sharing feelings through a diary or Twitter, and I think you should try it out. I'm dubious about the T-shirt version because it would be so public that people might easily be embarrassed. Your designs look Dr. George Levinger, good but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Professor of psychology, Univ. of Massachusetts “You've taken-on a deep, complex subject for your exploration. There are so many elements at work in such an investigation. However, no matter the complexities, this is a critically important area.” Nathan Shedroff Experience Strategist Author, Experience Design
  8. 8. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. What really happened... The results were very optimistic and constructive. It confirmed that the basis of my hypothesis was valid. In addition it helped narrow down my target group, highlighted the crucial factors which had made the experience enjoyable and doable for them & most importantly, it pointed to the need for redesigning the explore experience as the + couple’s didn’t seem to quite know how to explore apart from the obvious going through each other bit. 75% of the couples acknowledged that ve there was a noticeable improvement in “I was really happy with the experience because it involved both of us. I have always been good at expressing my feelings to him their self disclosure/ listening levels of but he isn't as open and I always dug out stuff from him. It was their own and each others feelings. great to see him put in a similar effort.” “We came to know things that our partner thought we were taking for granted “It taught me to be more listening and and we intend to work upon them to improve it. We should do this much more considerate of how my partners feeling as he often as it has helped us listen to each other intimately.” sometimes doesn't express how he is truly feeling.” “Unexpectedly interesting! I feel freer to express my love!” - Shots of the MeWe Diary and MeWe T-Shirts showing random positive (left) and negative feelings (right) entered by the participants. ve “ We did try and do the end of day interaction but did not know what to do much about it.” “ I felt like expressing at certain times of the day and wish there was a “ I would have liked to draw or record my voice. A reminder at that time.” picture lasts much longer than words.” “We have been together for over 10 years. We were already in touch with each others feelings and didnt come to know anything new.”
  9. 9. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. What they say now... The professionals too validated the idea of the tool & asked to explore further by : i. redesigning the exploration ritual by providing some kind of framework, making it simple and reworking some core methods of the experience. Dr. George Levinger, Professor of psychology, Univ. of Massachusetts “ “I think you are doing a very creative and responsible job, specially for someone with little previous experience. One one hand I am impressed with your cleverness and dilligence, one the other your results still have some ambiguity. As you pointed out, the key issue for me is if you can encourage feeling disclosure and will it bring about understanding and validation, and thus lead to more feeling disclosure (which is MUTUAL, not just one=directional)??” “The couples tool(s) - express & explore - sound very interesting, and it's nice to see that you're already getting good results in the field from it. To generalize the tool to be something someone could take part in very easily - i.e make it easy to get started, make it extra-simple & make it easy to participate in.” Mark Hurst Experience consultant “Is there a suggested framework that the couples get given for the exploration part? this could give discussion prompts and a general outline of how this part might go. or perhaps you could do one session with them so they know how to continue for the rest of the week.more mediums for expression to allow greater creativity and 'fun'.” Emma IP, Psychology student, Emotion regulation
  10. 10. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. The redesigned experience (Prototype testing phase 2)... The prototype was redesigned with the gained insights from the first round of field testing. With a new user interface, portability & a better framework for the explore ritual, the new MeWe experience was aimed to be a more easy, interactive, guided and meaningful experience. It was tested on a diverse mix of couples and included some couples from the previous experiment to get their take on the difference they felt with the redesigned experience. The express board is where the couples would post their feeling post-its together during the end of day ritual. The board provided a visual framework in that it had been categorized into days of the week and type of feeling which would provide the couple a good way of looking at all their feelings more objectively and observe exploratory things about their feelings. “Express board” 2 1 The explore board provided them a set of questions to hint at the possibilities of discovering new things about each other from exploring their feelings. It also acted as a catalyst for the couples to make their own questions & explore their own emotional territories. 3 “express pad” The express pads (custom designed post its) were brought in to encourage portability & ease of use. The couples could carry it along and enter their feelings periodically without worrying about connectivity, weight of diary, embarrassment of t-shirt etc. The format was kept open i.e. even though the questions are written at the top left, the dialog box would “exlplore board” make the person feel free to express whatever they wish to.
  11. 11. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. What happened this time... The results were extremely positive this time around. Couples from the previous experiment felt that the experience was much more integrated and useful but yet kept the required interactiveness and novelty. Couples doing it the first time experienced a rise in most of the factors of the intimacy process i.e. increased self disclosure and increased partner responsiveness making them feel more connected and intimate to each other. As most of these couples didn’t have any problems prior to testing, it can be said that the tool benefits most couples and there is scope of improvement in most relationships. These results were measured using two scientific scales (Dr. Dennis + Bagarozzi’s - Intimacy Needs Survey & Dr.John Gottman’s - Love Map questionnaire). “I found this experience much more fun and comfortable as it ve 95% of the couples recorded a rise in the gave me both the privacy and togetherness in the amounts core components of their emotional that I required. Even though we are open books to each other, intimacy like higher self disclosure, higher I still came to know many little things that matter to him a lot listening, responsiveness etc.. and have an influence on him. Very useful.” “I’ve got a better understanding of my own feelings and a couple of things have been ironed out and cleared up. Was interesting going through the feelings at the end of the day and discovering fun things. Should make more time for this. 100% of the couples would like to do this “This has definitely been good for us and very good for me, I have learnt experience daily. a lot about myself and others, the way he thinks about me. Has given us a reason to talk about each other without having a reason to...” “ Some of the things my partner said she liked about me were not “I enjoyed and found it very interesting what he wrote in - obvious and forgotten. This was special to hear about.” some sections as he opened up and I got to hear things I usually don’t.” ve “Would have been better if I could express Shots of some happy couples when I felt like rather than the 3 hour timeline.” shown along with their express and explore boards. “More mediums of expression would be great and even more fun while exploring”
  12. 12. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. The big picture (MeWe 2.0)... All these prototype field testings were to help get an idea of the shape and structure of the final tool. What should it look and function like? what medium works best for couples? What kind of environment & factors make the experience work best and many more such important questions were answered. On the basis of the evidence, I have designed the final tool that takes all the necessary factors into consideration and iron’s out negative ones encountered previously. MeWe 2.0 - An online communication tool for couples to stay intimately in touch with each other. Integrated as a part of their daily life experience, the tool when being used by the partners on a day to day basis would provide the required experience to enhance/improve their emotional intimacy. The online medium has been chosen for its accessability, ease of use and integration with people’s lifestyle, all of which had been rated as very important factors to make the experience enjoyable & beneficial in the field testing. As well, this is an era where we take the internet as an integral part of our daily life which makes it well suited to be the preferred medium of the tool. The MeWe tool would comprise of two modules namely: Express and Explore serving a joined up experience yet offering its own unique benefits. Express - This module encourages partners to periodically express & share their feelings with each other (mundane or intimate all the same) into the tool via a range of mediums provided. Once they start expressing in the tool, MeWe keeps archiving them based on various parameters (Full details on next pages). Explore - This is where the exciting 2nd part begins. This module provides the couple with an interactive platform and several different criterions (designed using couple therapy & psychology principals) based on which they can explore their feelings in a bid to learn things about themselves and each other (Full details & working model on next pages). The many ways in which the tool may benefit couples are as following: Express_ i. Encourages more insightful and intimate self disclosures from the partners due to periodic expressions and freedom of expression mediums. ii.Increases the level of being in touch and aware of one's own feelings through the therapeutic effects of expression. iii.Increases understanding of one's emotional terrain and how it is affected by things around them. Explore_ i. Encourages more partner responsiveness & communication by keeping them in touch of their partner’s emotional state in real time. ii.Increases understanding of partner’s emotional terrain and how it is affected by things around them. iii.Provides a sense of the character of their relationship and how has it evolved over time via exploring each other’s feelings. iv.Preserves the relationship in space and time by storing the life streams of their individual and shared experiences. But most Importantly, it gives the couple a fun and useful way to analyse and work on their relationship by being their own “counsellors" as the philosophy of this experience is quite similar to couple's therapy where frequent "revealing self disclosures” by the speakers (partners) in presence of a listener(counsellor) who provides listening & validation is used as a common method of understanding & solving relationship problems, with the unique difference being that in this case both the speaker and listener are real life partners giving them the much required privacy and comfort.
  13. 13. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Express (approximate visualization)... How do you feel and why do you feel so? is answered by each partner as they use the tool to express not just stating what they are doing but rather how that affects how they are feeling making it an intimate disclosure. The tool offers the option of expressing these feelings via several different mediums (Text, Image & text, Audio, video etc). Although the feelings are only viewable by both partners on a shared personal space but if a partners wishes, they could share a feeler (any particular feeling) with their friends/family (some memories are inherently associated with others making it worth sharing). Additionally, when they express, they chose it either as a positive/negative feeling by selecting the + or - buttons which then acts as a key parameter for MeWe to archive these feelings. Moodometer (TM) - The moodometer at the top is for giving the partners a quick glance into their partner’s overall mood without having to look at any of the feelings. It comprises of I. The profile pic that shows a happy face pic if the person is feeling happy or sad pic if they are feeling negative & ii. The intensity bar which shows the intensity of the feeling. The darker it is, the stronger the emotion & A snapshot of how an actual vice versa. The overall mood is found out feeling would look like. The pic by calculating the total number of positive besides the actual feeling would and negative feelings expressed and their indicate the mood of the respective intensities. particular feeling. Not to be confused with the moodometer profile pic which reflects the Sort buttons - The sort buttons are used to overall mood. The feeling would categorize the feeling into either a positive also contain the date & time that or negative & whether it is an individual it was expressed. feeling or a shared feeling. The joint feeling expression gives them the chance to express common feelings together (for ex, when they are together doing something). Express bar - The express bar is where the partner ’s express themselves by answering how they are feeling. They could express by using any medium they feel like (Text, Image, Audio or Video). Replies - The partners can view and reply to each other’s feelings in real time encouraging better & timely partner listening & responsiveness.
  14. 14. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... As the feelings keep getting collected in the tool with regular usage, it would act as an archive of their feelings and thus a general state of their relationship. The couple would then be able to explore these feelings in a fun interactive platform based on several different useful criterions making them counsellors of their own relationships. The aim of this part of the tool is to act as a reflection of what's on their hearts and minds and keep changing as they grow and change. 1 timeline This criterion would allow the couple to view all the feelings relayed on a time- Monthview - This view of the timeline line showing exactly what and when shows all the feelings of both the each feeling was felt through time by partners in any particular month. As it is both partners in the exact sequence a zoomed out view, the contents of the they happened. The purpose of this feeling are not viewable at once but the criterion would be to let the partners go boxes are color coded to differentiate back in time to see how they felt at between the type of feeling different points of time. Quite useful to (positive/negative) and the media used keep the memories fresh in their minds. to express the feeling (text, image, This particular way of exploring may be video) which can tell the partners a lot of fancied by couples who like a certain things at a glance like “How has the order in their lives. month been for them?” or “How does a weekend impact them?” or “What moments cause different feelings in both of them? and many more. For ex. the illustration indicates that October has been essentially very positive for the guy but only the later half has been good for the girl. Once clicked on any box, it expands and shows the particular feeling in full length with image/video/audio if available. The timeline can also be viewed in week and day views. Color code - The green, orange and yellow signify text, image and video feelings. The intensity of the color indicates whether it is a positive or negative feeling. Brighter tones indicate high intensity positive feelings and dull tones indicate high intensity Flip over - A book like flipover interface negative feelings. makes it easy to navigate between different months, weeks or days.
  15. 15. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 2 Me & We The Me & We criterion compares the feelings of both the partners to give an insight into their differences and commonness. It would show a range of things that the partners feel about in the same way as well as things & moments that cause different feelings in them in order to help partners understand each other better. So if both the partners enter certain feelings that they felt positive about doing a certain activity or both felt differently about meeting a certain relative, the tool would show these activities under the appropriate category. It would do this by analysing the context of the feelings being written about & the proximity of the timings at which both the feelings were expressed by the partners. This would be a very vital criterion for most couples to be aware off and respect each others individuality and commonness. Illustration showing a sample set of feelings matched by the mewe tool. Here both the guy and the girl had expressed positive feelings they had experienced about the same activity (long walk). The tool picked out these feelings through matching the common words in it (long walk) as well as the type of feeling felt & the timings. Me & We Me & We : Match Overview - Upon clicking on this criterion, the partners will be shown the As soon as the partner clicks on the match button, one common feeling first screen with a football screen backdrop with each of their feelings lined from both the guy and girls side come together from each side to the up on either side of the line. There would be two options in the centre center, jiggle a bit and then disappear into the top and the next set of point “match” or “fight” that would either show matching or different common feelings come into the center. The screen turns into a big footbal feelings respectively. This would be calculated by the MeWe tool using match type setting where each feeling is like a player with its own unique advance data mining technology to analyse the context of the feelings identity and yet forms a part of the team which has been used as a being written about & the proximity of the timings at which both the metaphor for showing the theme of uniqueness and commonness in feelings were expressed by the partners. Suppose the partner clicks on couples. The Color code and intensity of the boxes shows the type of match, they would be taken to the next screen where they would be feeling and the media used to express. shown their common feelings (view next paragraph for details).
  16. 16. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 3 Mirror Just knowing how we or our partner feels is not enough sometimes. Knowing the source of these feelings is of high importance in either enhancing or avoiding the type of feeling being experienced. The mirror analogy has been used for this criterion as it would be used to reflect the source of different feelings of the couple in a way they want. Essentially it would reflect two main things: i.What are their most common & the most salient feelings? ii.What do those feelings look like? for ex.What does a happy moment look like? or What does feeling insecure look like? etc. This would be useful in giving a objective and more deeper view of the source of various feelings to the couple as they come to know themselves and their partners better. Mirror Mirror : Happiness Overview - Upon clicking on this criterion, the partners will be shown the As soon as the partner clicks on any of the feelings on the previous screen first screen of 6 x 6 boxes (or more) giving them a glimpse of their most (for ex happy), the various adjectives disappear to make way for all the common to the most salient feelings. This would be calculated happy feelings expressed by both partners. The screen turns into a big automatically by the MeWe tool by counting the number of times a mirror showing all the texts, images & video feelings which have happy particular feeling is expressed and its intensity. So the top left box denotes feelings associated with it showing the partners what does happiness look the most common feeling and the bottom right the most salient one. But like for them specifically giving it a very intimate feel. The tool calculates the exploration doesn’t end their. So if the partner feels like exploring this by searching and filtering feelings which had happy adjectives in it “What does happiness look like?” he/she clicks on the happy box and is while expressing. Color code and intensity shows the type of feeling and taken on to the next screen (view next paragraph). the media used to express.
  17. 17. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 4 WWW (where were we) Location plays a very important role in how we feel. Sometimes a job change, house shifting, oversees trip etc can play havoc with our feelings and this criterion aims to help couples explore this affect of location . The criterion would let the couples see where each partner was when they expressed any particular feeling. The feelings are not relayed altogether like in the timeline criterion but rather show up one at a time emulating a journey with a mapped backdrop of the city they belong from & at a speed at which the partners would like to travel metaphorically. Overview - Upon clicking this criterion the partners will be taken to this This screen shows how the cross fading happens and one feeling makes screen where the backdrop would be a map of the city in which the way for the other emulating and reenacting the journey of the couple partner’s live and after they chose the time period they want to explore, metaphorically. the feelings start appearing one by one at the places from where they had originated. So for ex. in the first page, we see the guy having expressed a particular feeling while returning home from office in Stamford (view next screen and paragraph for seeing the next step of the journey).
  18. 18. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 5 Love Maps Dr. John Gottman describes love maps as a section of our brains which contain and store every piece of information (intimate and otherwise) about our partners. The most enriching phase for building love maps happens during the honeymoon period or getting-to-know-each other phase where we try and find out as much as we can about each other and make broad and deep love maps of our partners. However many life events can cause couples to lose their way from keeping their love maps updated. Any major change from having a baby, to a job shift to a move to retirement – can have the same effect. Just the passage of time can do that as well. The more you know and understand about each other, the easier it is to keep connected as life swirls around you. This criterion is aimed at enhancing these invisible “love maps” of each partner by dimensionalizing them to keep them updated in each others emotional world and otherwise. Apart from expressing their general feelings on a periodic basis, the partners can also chose to ask love map questions to their partners as and when they like. These questions can be either chosen from the inbuilt list or custom designed. This criterion would come alive only when the couple start answering the love map questions about themselves as they would keep getting sorted into the appropriate category for ex. if a partner answered a question “what was your favourite holiday before we met?, it would be found under the Who Am I - Favourites section. The partner who had asked the question can later view the answer in by interacting with the love map criterion. This is useful as things like these are always only in the head and bringing them into visual form can help aid the process of remembering & updating. Love Maps : Peter Love Maps : Peter : Who am I Love Maps : Peter : Who am I : Favourites Overview - A metaphor of solar system is used to present the concept of When the ‘Favourites’ sub planet is clicked, as there aren’t any sub planets each partner’s worlds. As the partners click on the love maps criterion, for this planet, it simply zooms into the screen in full size and all the they are brought to this screen with two similar solar systems (the guy and answers that fall under his favourite category like favourite books, food, the girls; only one is shown here for convenience). The three sub planets holidays, movies, songs etc are shown on the big globe making a big As the Who Am I sub planet is clicked, it comes into the forefront and revolving around the guy are called i.“Who Am I” which consists of all personal world map of favourites. As like the other criterions, this is a good becomes the central planet and the sub planets of this planet start things that define him like interests, favourites, friends/family etc, ii. one to keep coming back once in a while to have a look at each others love revolving around it. for ex. in this case (likes, favourites & friends). So upon “What I Want” which consists of all things that he aspires for like hopes, maps and see if there is anything to update. clicking on the ‘Favourites’ sub planet the partner is taken to the next dreams, ambitions etc and iii.“My Emotional World” which show his screen (continued in next paragraph). emotional world like triumphs, injuries, legacy etc. As he keeps answering questions about himself, they keep getting sorted into the right category for ex. favourite holiday as mentioned above would go under Who Am I -> Favourites. So upon clicking on the ‘Who Am I’ sub planet in the first screen, the partner is taken to the next screen (continued in next paragraph).
  19. 19. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 6 Highlights Highlights is based on the psychology principal of revisiting happy and nostalgic moments of a couples life and keeping them intact in their memory as it is known to strengthen the bond and help the couple during times of crisis where the first tendency is to distort these memories. This criterion is where the partners sit backs and let MeWe show them some collages of their good times either individual or together. It does it by analysing several factors like repetition of a positive feeling, longevity of the feeling & the intensity of the feeling in both the partners feelings to finally show them as a slide show collage. Story set - This function divides all the positive feeling expressions into Overview - As the partners click on this different story sets by categorizing them criterion, they are taken to this screen into timezones. It does this by where a slide show is played in the calculating the time frame in which they middle of the screen where each image, feelings were expressed and the type of text, audio or video representing a good feelings that were expressed. So each phase in the life of the couple keep time the couples click on this criterion, scrolling through the page. As a they would be shown a different story particular feeling comes to the center, it set containing different positive feelings increases in size to give it focus and to be from different timezones. They also able to view it properly. As there could have the option to manually select be many happy moments in the couple’s another random timezone by clicking life, the tool categorizes them into time the ‘next story’ button. zones to help the couples identify with it quickly. Slide show - Illustration showing how a set of happy feelings would look like. The center feeling is a picture feeling of the couple when they attended a party and had a great time. The ones on both sides are individual happy feeling expressions. Slider bar - The slider bar allows the user to control the slideshow speed or content. The sort buttons below the slider bar allow further sorting of the slideshow content. The partners can either sort the slideshow based on the media used in the feeling or individual/shared highlights.
  20. 20. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. Explore (criterions)... 7 i Seek This in its most simple form is a feeling Google. Looking at peoples natural curiosity and ability to search for anything and everything these days, this criterion lets them search their own feelings in any way they would like thereby putting the total user experience & exploration in the hands of the partners. This is used to give the user the freedom to chart his own explorations and not be restricted by the preset criterions. They can search based on date, time, friends and family, male partner, female partner, media used etc. Search Bar - Upon clicking this criterion the partners will be taken to this search screen Suggestion bar - This bar has been designed to keep the flow of the search the backdrop of which would be a picture of the couple together. They can search their experience continuous in that, it would show other suggested searches feelings based on any search string they would like to see just like any other search based on the search string the partners entered originally. The partners engine. In addition, a couple of sort options have been provided like media used (text, can thus keep continuing the search by clicking on any of these boxes. image, audio, video), friends and family & individual or together(me or we) to optimise the search results (view next screen for search results). Hint clouds - To aid in the process of searching, a couple of hint clouds would This screen shows a sample illustration of how a search screen would look like. Instead of float around the screen hinting at random strings they can use to search. If they the traditional text based search results that most search engine shows, iseek adopts a wish, they can click on these clouds and the tool would show the search results. more visual and interactive interface in keeping with the other criterions. It shows a But the main purpose is to give the partners a hint of the possibilities and to fire whole web of interlinked results based on the search string used, with the color codes their imagination to create their their own searches. differentiating the media and the type of feeling again making it easier for the partners to explore. The web keeps expanding till there are no more interconnected sub links.
  21. 21. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. MeWe Vs Others... The MeWe tool is a unique proposition and is different than most other current traditional methods being used in couple therapy for improving intimacy. Following are some of the USP’s of MeWe: * One of its kind experiential tool which blends into the daily life of couples and seamlessly works on enhancing their emotional intimacy & communication without making them realize that they are working on their relationship. * Avoids the apprehension couples face in reaching for a counsellor in fear of privacy by making them counsellors of their own relationships. * Is not a one off effort like couple workshops the effects of which vanish very quickly but an everyday based tool working on improving things for the long run. * Avoids boring and preachy exercises as found in DVD self-help tools by instead providing a novel & often fun way of working on their relationship. *Is far from the phoney and often reckless advices found online by self proclaimed relationship gurus. MeWe as a business... Following are the proposed steps in making MeWe a good profitable business: *Collaborating with various relationship counselling organizations like Relate to endorse this experiential tool to their patients. *Using the Facebook & Google business model of targeted ads through data mining as the central revenue source. *Collaborating with social networking sites like Facebook & Twitter to form a merger & use their platform to market MeWe (for ex. Facebook for lovers).
  22. 22. © 2009 The MeWe Project. All Rights Reserved. The MeWe Project The Experience Design Model of Improving Intimacy in Couple Relationships: An Emotion Disclosure, Listening & Exploration Approach Rahul Pramanik MA Design Studies 09