Journey and its outcome

The Serendipity called OzCHI Student Design Challenge…

The challenge given was to identify an activity that is currently a mostly isolated experience, and to augment/rethink/design this activity to allow for serendipitous encounters.

Our understanding of the brief gave us the aforementioned insights and opportunity areas where we could work on. In this journey, we encountered many serendipitous moments which helped us in deeper understanding of this experience.

  • The word serendipity becomes suddenly so important in a day of our life!
  • Accidental discovery of the unnoticed functionality of the AC remote.
  • Sudden humor during a serious discussion reminds of serendipity.
  • Our friend falling, gives a sudden idea.
  • The Eureka moment wherein we accidentally discovered our final concept!

In our final concept we have incorporated the following insights:

1. Fortunate accident: Suddenly finding some information of a domain outside of your usual interests.

2. Randomness: Information would be displayed on the basis of an incompressible algorithm.

3. Spontaneous: Unpredictability of the next information that a user would receive.

Our idea tries to have ‘random links‘ rather than ‘tailored links’ for user when the user opens a new tab of the browser.
And thus encountering the unknown information that he never knew existed could turn out to be a Serendipity each time!

In Eli Pariser’s book on Filter Bubbles, he discusses the possibility of the internet even hiding information from us. According to him, “Filter bubble is this unique, personal universe of information created just for you by this array of personalizing filters. It’s invisible and it’s becoming more and more difficult to escape.” Hence, we are proposing an idea to make possible for the internet to give information outside the narrow realm of individualistic interests’ suggestions.

Because the results of the random output algorithm would be vastly distributed over a wide range of domains, the information given might not be as useful each time. Hence this in yet another way, keeps the idea of serendipity intact!

Also according to the Zen philosophy, it was followed that if a person wants to pursue painting and art, then he must do it for twelve years after which he must change to another entirely different field example of mathematics for twelve years, and then revert back to painting with a new energy and ideas. Hence our idea encourages the users to deviate in their information collection patterns, accidentally, away from their usual interests and explore other fields as well.

Our Final outcome can be an add-on for firefox browser and as an extension for google chrome or for similar extensions for other browsers to provide the aforementioned features.This will need further technological developments to go to the next step from prototyping.




References used throughout the challenge:
Book: The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser
(published by penguin group)
Paper articles visited:
1.Designing for Serendipity: Supporting End-User Configuration of Ubiquitous
Computing Environments(Newman M,Sedivy J, Neuworth C, Edwards W, Hong J),[2002]
2.Explaining Serendipitous Recognition in Design(Kolodner J, College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology)[1994]



Omna Toshniwal
Rhythm Agarwal
Niyati Gupta
Astha Dhawan
Arnita Saini

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