Master Design

Designing Personalities for Interactive Objects

Yuri Westplat
The aim in his design research is to come up with a blueprint for designing conversations with objects.
Major Master Design
Year First Year

The belief that the graphic user interface of the web is at a creative dead end is the starting point of the design research Yuri is currently conducting. By now any form of creative deviation from the norm is stifled by self-imposed industry demands and technical restraints. New and emerging technologies offer many promising and exciting possibilities for interaction though. He feels that designers need to investigate the possible interactions with these technologies without restraining ourselves.

I will design souls instead of interfaces

Users often “feel” sentience in objects and machines. Anthropomorphism, the broad human tendency to see human-like shapes in the environment has considerable consequences for people’s choices and beliefs. I argue that this human belief in object sentience can be leveraged into a better interaction with human-like machines in the real world. It means we can use some of humankind oldest behavioural triggers to interact with the new.

I will start a broad investigation in the underlying science of the human belief in object sentience and experience how modern animists interact with the 21st-century world. In this instance of my living atlas, I will map interesting findings and possible design approaches to designing conversations with invisible entities. I hope to discover what I call the belief triggers: reasons why people believe in object sentience. I will document the results in a living catalogue, and this atlas is a static iteration.

What If - direct application in my design practice. Designing the soul I am particularly interested in the design of intelligent agents: little pieces of software that users actually interact with, and that drives various parts of the machines. With some imagination, an agent can be seen as the soul of a machine. So, what if this software agent actually have a personality? And what if, and how can these be designed?