User:Lucia Dossin/Reading Writing Research Methodologies/Assignment 7/Draft
Two projects that 'happen' in a browser window: the Free Association Index and the plugin Let me think.
The Free Association Index. The index in this case is a set of subjective relationships among words, accessible through a Google-like interface. Let me think is a browser plugin that interferes in the online shopping experience at Amazon by canceling the 'buy in one click' feature ('conforto'?).
The Free Association Index works just like Google. The difference is, of course, that you get another sort of results. You search for a word and you get a list of other words. These words were connected to the search term by using a subjective criteria.
When you click on a word in the results, you get another set of corresponding words. Besides that, each word you click is recorded within the sequence started in your search. If you want, you can print the whole word sequence of your search and see your free association path.
Also, by clicking on a word (and thus excluding all other displayed results for the searched term), it will be given a rate that could be used to modify the results in future searches. The criteria for this is not defined yet.
There are multiple parallel indexes, each one being made using different input material. This way, the same search term would show different results, depending on the index you're using.
It will be possible for users to add entries to the index by suggesting connections to words. These suggestions, when accepted, will be displayed differently in the page. It is important to emphasize the origin of the entry.
Let me think is a browser plugin, so that means it has to be downloaded and installed. It requires that the user performs some action to make it happen.
Once it is installed, when user visits the Amazon.com website, the 'Add to Cart' button is removed from the page. In its place, my own button is used. This personalized, truly customized button does not behave as the original one: instead of putting the products in the shopping cart immediately, a popup screen is displayed, with a question such as 'Do you really need to buy a [name of product]?Take your time and think about it.' User can then Cancel the plugin and go back to Amazon's regular website or keep thinking about the purchase. The popup screen will be withdrawn in any case, but if user chose to keep thinking, by clicking on the modified button again, a new question will be displayed and the purchase is postponed one more time.
Both projects share a common wish for bringing awareness to our online experience. By rejecting a position in which the user reacts automatically and/or unconsciously to the system or by playing with the idea of a subjective index which mimics the way Google works, I believe I am questioning structures which are taken for granted most of the time. By being aware of how a structure works it gets easier for us to see which values are underneath it, allowing us to act more critically towards it.