Interaction design is concerned primarily with interactions between computers and users, this is often referred to as human-computer interaction (or HCI). Interaction design helps to determine the initial user experience such as navigation or how to use something. Good interaction design means that it is intuitive for the user, there isn’t a steep learning curve to work out how the technology and they can pick it up in seconds. For my face swapping I am designing a human-computer interaction for people walking through the Weymouth Hose foyer space.
From the user’s perspective, the experience is continuous as the environment, the user, the screen and whats on the screen all feedback to one another (Kuniavsky, 2003, p.43). With my real-time face swapping the feedback needs to be instantaneous, seeing their faces swapped as soon as they notice whats on screen, and having the swapping keep up with their movements and actions as they pass through the space.
There are four main pieces of information an interaction designer (myself in this case) needs to know during the development process either about whether the designs are on the right track or whether people can actually do what they’re supposed to be able to.
- Task flows
- Task flows are the actions which are needed for something interesting to happen. For my face swapping the users need to be facing the camera and screen with their heads relatively straight for it to be able to detect them. It then needs at least 2 visible faces for any interaction to happen so that is a part of the task flow too.
- Predictability and consistency
- The predictability determines how comfortable users will feel with the task flows; does the face swapping work intuitively or is there a really complex method to go around it. For my work, I feel the only thing that might not be obvious initially is that it is supposed to be swapping faces, especially if there is only one person present at a time, they wouldn’t be able to understand what its supposed to do and why it isn’t working.
- The relationship between features and emphasis on specific elements
- This regards the relationship between the normal video feed, and the swapped faces. The face swapping needs to be obvious enough that it gets noticed, but subtle enough that it blends back into the video to look relatively seamless. While this seems quite paradoxical, I feel the key to creating a good user experience is making the swapped faces look as real as possible, so that possibly it isn’t noticed initially until they go in for closer inspection and see their their on-screen representation is different.
- Different audiences
- My face swapping has to work for all the different types of people which would be passing through the foyer space. This means the camera needs to be in a place where it can detect tall people and short people, while still capturing, masking and swapping their faces. It’s important for all ages to understand how it works and what is happening on screen too. One thing that has become apparent in my testing is that it doesn’t always recognise people wearing glasses as haar-cascade for the face tracking is made for people without.
Kuniavsky, M., 2003. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research. Morgan Kaufmann.