Inquiry towards an intriguing state of mind - boredom, as a pilot for deeper themes - mindlessness, anxiety, social disconnection, etc. This project takes research back to its roots and so does the medium of its outcome.
A zine that channels the boredom out of you, embarking on a bite-sized journey into your mindscape and of other creatives around through collective memories and perspectives of what 'being bored' means to them.
This project puts all the takeaways from dialogues on design and research methods into practice and gives birth to a recreational yet resolving piece of paper.
It’s where you transport yourself to, when you’re in a torturous lecture, or when you’re facing a creative block. But it was time to identify, when, what, why, and how.
Creative minds who are more likely to experience this state of mind:
For this pilot, the target audience was confined to students and professors of ECUAD.
With Sara Hendren and Craig Martin still inspiring my process with their "newly visible" and "deviant" design outlooks, I powered my research through a combination of ethnographic and phenomenological methods to inquire about the scenario.
Given the mental model of the target audience, a clinical/analytical research procedure indicated counterproductive outcomes since the process of participatory inquiry would have turned out to be boring for them to go through. Hence, the methods of inquiry were given a casual/comfortable twist that didn't necessarily feel/sound like research.
Unstructured discussions - Planting the seed seamlessly during casual coffee table conversations that lead to digressing over boredom in their lives and how they've experienced it.
Structured pulse surveys - Building on the discussions, streamlining the data toward specific areas of the topic.
Prompt posters - As a passive data collection mode using post-its and prompts on the poster initiated the thought process before the survey was sent out to the target audience.
While patterns were more prominent in the pulse survey responses to form a kind of categorization for boredom, informal discussions really fueled the realization of the state by sharing stories about what the users actually went through, when feeling bored. This also informed the research on the current remedies in place.
The patterns that emerged in the activities performed by the creatives often had a disruptive tendency while experiencing a state of boredom. This is reflected in simple tasks like cooking something different, getting out of the house for a walk as a break between work, and basically doing anything that doesn't take up a lot of cognitive space and is unexpected in one's routine to throw the users out of whatever they're onto.
Apart from various activities and patterns, what stood out in every mode of inquiry/research was the fact that "acceptance and awareness" of the state were vital to being able to process it. This led to a change in course from trying to pursue a solutionist approach to more of an exposure, normalization, and awareness one.
Designing something analogous in the digital era poses its own risk, but in this case, fits perfectly as a disruptive element in our daily lives as creatives. The medium was decided as I took a phenomenological approach to rethink the possibilities. Going back to the roots where magazines were not just a source of information but also entertainment. They came with their own personality, evoking a sense of curiosity among the readers, deviant in their own manner. However, reframing boredom was not a problem but just a flip of perspective that was required. Several factors listed below shed light on an effective medium fit to bring about a micro-hiccup in our busy lives, a 'zine':
As a result of the research and concept exploration, it made sense to include the community in the mix. Thus, the structure of the zine contains the following to make it feel like a roller-coaster ride aka a smooth curve in the user's journey through the content: