Social Color Design Research

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Working with teammates Sue Kim and Zoe Clark, we conducted a series of design research experiments focusing on how people connect. We named our project social color. Social color strives to bring people together in order to create more meaningful interactions. Our team investigated how people can strengthen their connections with others. 


Food and Space Sharing

Our initial experiement was examing people's wilingness to share, both food and space. We asked people to split a meal both in cost and food item. We also tested the amount of space a stranger was willing to share. 


Meeting Someone New

A social experiment to see if people would approach someone if they indicated to start a conversation. We prompted people with two signs: one with an empty speech bubble and the second one said, "I'd like to meet someone new today."


Wear Green Challenge

A day event where people were invited to wear green if they were open to speak with someone new. We were hoping that both intentional "green-wearers" and non-intentional green wearers would socialize. 


Research Survey

We created a survey, focusing on asking people how they socialize and meet new people. We were able to get over 100 responses from a wide variety of people. From there, we were able to analyze the results that help point us in future directions. 



The culmination of our research led our team to create theories about how poeple interact and create new connections.


Theory 1: People are willing to share.

By asking people to share food in Boston, we witnessed how open people are to the idea of sharing with someone they didn't know before. By questioning the participants, we found that as long as food preferences and schedules aligned, they were willing to share. We successfully pushed it further by asking people to share public spaces like tables, benches, etc. 

When we were at Brown University, we found some people who were willing to share personal information and their time with us. By creating a strange situation, we were able break through people's daily routines and make a new connection. 

Conclusion: People will share if there is mutual trust between both people and they are in a secure enviornment.


Theory 2: People feel more comfortable in a community with people who have mutual interests. 

The Green Day experiement attempted to help people feel more comfortable approaching someone new. By creating a community of people wearing green, they were 'clued in' that the other person was willing to meet someone new as well. Our hope was that people would create new, memorable interactions.

While we found that many people were interested and actually wore green, participants did not make time to socialize. They were not able to find time within their established routine. 

Conclusion: People need a space they can go to focus on creating new social connections.  


Theory 3: If we provide a structured enviornment, a person will feel more comfortable socializing with someone they don't know. 

By creating the Tea Party scenario, we hoped to create an enviornment that would give people the opportunity to socialize. By entering a situation where they were expected to create a new connection, we hoped it would make it easier for people to make friends. 

We found that people were not able to stop on a whim. The opportunity to socialize at that time was not as high of a priority for them as their other plans were. 

Conclusion: When someone makes an effort to socialize, they are looking for a beneficial outcome from the situation. 


Friendship Interviews

To try to validate more of our hypotheses, we interviewed several people about their close friendships while focusing on how they communicated with people through technology. This realization led us to further product ideas. 


Interested in what you see here? My PEAR app design project is loosely based on this design research. Check it out below!