We began designing our tool in October of this year (2019). Since the beginning of our planning and designing journey, our team has grown and shrunk in numbers and we have proposed many different ideas collectively. We tried out VR and bought many tools to help with our design process but quite a lot fell through. Now our group is back to small numbers, we are more ready than ever to progress with our design. After a lot of planning and trial and error, we have decided on a tool that we all love. We are very proud of how the design is coming along.
At first, our team decided on using virtual reality as part of our tool. The plan was to acquire headsets and noise cancelling headphones online, which we did, with the aim of creating an immersive experience for people to take part in. Through the headsets and headphones we were going to show a video of selected soothing images with relaxing music. We got pretty far with this plan, we had tents and loungers for participants to relax in and had almost everything we needed to create the full tool. However, we experienced difficulty with the full design process and we decided it would be too difficult and impractical to involve VR. And so, we carried on but decided to take a simpler approach. The result, we have decided, is ultimately more soothing.
Our tool still involves an immersive experience but not quite as full on as the previous design. Here is a basic outline of our tool:
We will have a small dark room with three large tents inside, at the outer ends of the room and distanced away from each other. For our research, we will have one to three people taking part at one time, each allocated a tent. Inside the tent the participant can relax on the lounger and sit somewhat upright to face an iPad at the foot end of the lounger. We have decided on using iPads as they are simple, easy to use and very portable. On the iPad, they will watch a short video of soothing images accompanied by relaxing music which they can listen to through headphones provided. We are also considering having other things involved that the participant can interact with, engaging all five senses. For example, we could have some sand to touch, which would create a beach experience. Or we could have some leaves and plants to touch as if they had been collecting things off the floor of a forest. For taste, we are thinking about having a piece of fruit for the participant to take on the way out so they can have a heathy snack to aid their physical wellbeing. For smell, we have talked about possibly involving essential oils in some way, ones related to the themes of the images. The goal is for the participant to feel more soothed after the experience than before they took part.
Written by Shane