Get out of the Dark

Jiaxin Li
Jiaxin Li
I find problems from life and find their solutions by doing design. In my mind, Interactive Design is based on three areas: psychology area, machine area (computer science/engineering), and design area. The
emerging technology developed rapidly and there is a gap between it and people. Interaction Design is something to minimize the gap. How to make the communication process between the machine and people
becomes more natural is the key. As a designer in this field, I've put myself into observing problems caused by unnatural interaction processes and develop them into smooth experiences.

A certain amount of knowledge is never enough for interactive designers. I have to learn new skills and professional knowledge from in every project. Because doing design for objects in a specific area requires a
designer to know that area in depth in order to learn about that object as a whole. Object learning is the key part to design appropriate interaction processes for a relative product, the learning process is like a “locating” action.

Without digging in process, the designer will lose the object’s exact “location”, and then there is no way to minimize gaps.

However, that is an enjoyable process for me, I am happy to learn, whatever that’s about medical actions of taking care of senior diabetics or the composition and working principle of a wheel. I always looking for new knowledge and that can always let me get into a new world, then let me become a more complete and complicated designer.

Nowadays, when talking about Interactive Designers, people always think about Interface designers.
However, in my mind, I don't think they are equivalent. An Interface designer is limited to websites or phone
application flow and visual designing. My understanding of Interactive Design is broader than that; I think
any interactions could be designed.

My goal is to make everything in the world to be more “human-like”, so everyone, whatever their
educational background, age, ability to play digital stuff, could interact with the environment with less or even no cost. No matter the interaction object is as big as a transformer or as small as an ant, they all could be more human-like. I believe the work of interactive design is similar to a translator to some extent, but
translators are bridge gaps between languages and interactive designers are minimizing the gaps directly by doing good design.
Thesis Faculty
John Roach &Barbara Morris

this is the link to start your reading experience

2020 was a year that profoundly impacted every human being; lots of people lost their lives during the pandemic, and my grandma was one of them. I was already in a difficult psychological situation, so the loss of grandma was something that hit me hard.

I was brought up by my grandma (before primary school), and, at the time of her death, I hadn't seen her for almost two years. I thought our relationship was not so deep, but I soon realized that even though I was estranged from her after growing up, she was still someone who lives in my heart. Her death still brings me heavy pain.

The feeling that her death brought was not simply about sadness, it was a mix of various dissatisfactions about my life as well as self-accusations. At that time, I was questioning myself, disdaining myself and I even tried to commit suicide. That feeling almost broke me. I recovered because of lots of peoples’ support and love. there were also a few rituals I practiced that helped me to get out of that sorrow mud.

My thesis stems from a personal journey of losing a loved one, a journey that can be found in many portraits of our contemporary society. It is a multimedia, interactive reading experience that shares what I have done since my grandma passed away. I have gradually gone through the five stages of grief, from refusing to accept reality to looking forward to the future. Because I know that only when you accept this kind of pain and the reality of death, can you walk out of their shadows and transcend them. I do hope that people will cry or be moved by my thesis, and inspire themselves to come back to the light from now on.

I hope that my works will not convey any value orientation. I respect that everyone has different views and opinions on death. I will not assign any judgment to death itself in my projects. I hope that people will just experience my path, make their own choices in some key moments, Perhaps as they see my story develop they will find a connection to what they want in their hearts.

For the design, I have used a simple layout for the web-based first-person interactive narration of the story because I don’t want the appearance to be more important than the content. The story is based on the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), about how I and other people who have a close relationship with grandma got through each of them. At each stage, I made choices to soothe my/ their grief (such as writing a letter to grandma, going to the grave, crying, etc.), and I hope to provide readers with some different options here. Since I have only experienced my own choices, I use my knowledge and what I have learned from my research to speculate several other possibilities.

The reading experience in Get Out of the Dark is a fusion of media elements, including pictures, background sounds and animations. These elements will not limit my readers’ imaginary space, instead they provide atmosphere and traceable clues that can them imagine their own version of the story.

By juxtaposing the multimedia elements and my personal story with reader’s personal interactions, I aim to show the process of how I and my loved ones went through the stages of grief and how rituals might have helped me through the stages in some way.

One of the many questions that arose since the inception of the idea of creating a personal
reading experience is the question of the visual aspect. I realized that to evoke readers’ honest
experience is the key to visual design. Once readers could get the idea of what the reading
experience would like by just viewing the design, the design could be counted to succeed at
passing the emotions to viewers.
At the beginning of the design phase, combining sky, land, ocean and lots of other abstract
elements, the page seems too crowded. I remembered the phrase “less is more”, so the last
version only mixes the concept of sky and a gradient from darkness to brightness in order to
point out the title.
Little spots have been added even in the darkest areas, because even in my most pathetic period,
there is always love and supports coming to me from all over the world. People who gave me
supports not only people I used to know, but also strangers. Those strangers’ goodwill is
something that brings me warmth. Like teachers from the Student Support who keeps talking to me during
midnight for preventing me making suicide, like counselors who are willing to hear all my
awkward feelings and cryings. I really appreciate their help, their kindness has restored my faith in
human nature and brought me back to normal life.

In order to make the experience more immersive, two rules are listed before the story begins.

In this mourning story, several choices need to be made, different choices will lead to distinct content.

In order to not limiting reader's imagination space, images are tiny and listed in-line, not affecting reading experience at all. Only when readers’ mouses hover over it, it will be enlarged to show details.