“Language Identity” project is an experience designed with the aim of making individuals more aware of their emotional states when they speak in different languages through a series of questions

My role

Researcher, Interaction Designer (Individual MA Thesis Project)

Duration

spring - summer 2021

Overview

Project’s goal

  • The goal is to help gain a better understanding of ourselves and our emotions through the languages we speak.

Process

  • Language Identity collects the data of spoken language of bilinguals.

  • It analyses levels of their emotional reactions to different emotional phrases.

  • And it creates customized data visualization of languages in form of accessories.

Technologies

  • The product is used on iPod in an isolated booth.

  • The user’s levels of emotions are measured through E4 wristband technology.

  • The collected data is visualised in the form of a pendant and can be printed and used as a pendant.

Research

Bilingual people

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Languages & emotions

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(Self)-identity

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PROBLEM & Solution

The concept of “Language identity” project follows from the fact that previously executed studies that intended to understand emotions in different languages were not effective. Hence, there is a requirement for a more effective and accurate method of data collection accompanied with visualization of this data.

The main part of the “Language Identity” experience was a questionnaire, that is created to collect data of bilinguals and to focus on the differences of spoken languages. During the research we figured out what bilinguals have different perception of emotional phrases in different languages.

Design Process

Considering diversity of bilingual people and the fact that people’s experience in languages played a key part in visualising their data in form of pendant, there were developed set of personas.

The next step was brainshtorming and sketching wireframes and pendant. The goal was to create a pendant, that incluedes all data of personas collected during the questioneer, so the user could make a sense of the visualisation and remember the results of the experience.

Sketches of Language identity project

The user flow was created based on personas. The flow is mostly linear, because the experience needs to follow same phases for any user. However, the user’s experience in languages is different and answers to questions effect on the visualisation of the pendant.

The Project

Visualizing language family

The user needs to choose their spoken languages. The circles represent different language families, which size depends on the number of speakers. It leads to choosing branches of languages till the user reaches the spoken language.

Listening-speaking system

The “speaking star” changes from static to animated when audio-questions are asked - two circles disconnect and make patters. The “voice recording” makes lines and little dots appear arround it when the user speaks. While listening and speaking, also text appears in order to make the experience accessible.

Break the ice

After choosing a language the user has to answer simple questions in the chosen language, which tests the user’s ability to understand that language and immerses the user with interaction. It’s important to “break the ice” and let the user get used to answering the questions by voice for further questions.

Language timeline

The user has to choose a year they started speaking a language. It’s possible by scrolling the timeline down, then it transforms into a circle. The circumference represents length of the timeline.

Changing background

The following questions figure out who the user speaks different languages with (i.e., parents, romantic partner, friends, colleagues). The colour of the background changes depending on the chosen answer. The colour combination is used in the final visualization.

Collecting emotional responce

To understand how user’s feel themselved speaking different languages, we need technology that would collect emotional feedback to audio-visual questions. The E4 wristband transfers data in real-time, doesn’t require the assistance of a specialist, it measures pulse, which helps to effectively analyze emotions.

Emotional palette

The “speaking star” changes from static to animated when audio-questions are asked - two circles disconnect and make patters. The “voice recording” makes lines and little dots appear arround it when the user speaks. While listening and speaking, also text appears in order to make the experience accessible.

Collecting emotional responce

To understand how user’s feel themselved speaking different languages, we need technology that would collect emotional feedback to audio-visual questions. The E4 wristband transfers data in real-time, doesn’t require the assistance of a specialist, it measures pulse, which helps to effectively analyze emotions.

Emotional response by lines

After audio-visual question, the user has to draw a line. Emotional levels are collected by the E4 wristband and change a line to a wave depending on how emotinal the user feels while listening or answering the questions.

Emotional spectrum

The recorded lines of emotional response  are combined to a visual representation of an individual emotional spectrum of a language. The wavy lines combine and form boarder of the circle that represent 4 types of emotional feedback in each language - love, fear, anger, lie.

Wear your data

The collected data is visualised as language circles so the users can identify what answers they gave in each section of the experience. This visualisation can be a 3D printed jewellery that users create utilizing the language circles. The jewellery can be personalised by customising parameters such as colours and positioning of language circles.

Conclusion

“Language identity” is designed to better communicate how different languages effect different levels of emotions amongst bilingual people and encourages individuals to have a better undertesting of themselves in terms of languages they speak.

Project limitations

Diversity of identity of bilingual people is complex in nature and to create more accurate and experiential knowledge about self-identity in different languages, could be by taking into account following factors. Firstly, the lack of knowledge in the sphere of cognition and language that requires more comprehensive understanding of psychology and linguistics. Secondly, there is a requirement for more accurate technology, that can not only identify emotions, but also create authentic categories of emotions. Thirdly, due to the complex diversity of individual perception, the project requires a deeper research and testing to create a better understanding of self-identity of bilingual people.

Future implementations

There are future implementations of this project in terms of creating a possibility for bilingual people to connect based on similarities of language identity and this may motivate people to explore other languages and cultures more.