APPLYING ACTIVITY THEORY
TO GROCERY SHOPPING
Activity theory provides a framework for exploring how a shift an a person’s experiences, perceptions, motives, emotions or reasoning might influence the design and/or use of an object. Grocery coupons have physical and monetary qualities that drive their use or disuse among customers. This exploratory project applies concepts of activity theory to a loyalty card generated grocery coupon to investigate how experiential shifts might lead to changes in the coupon and our relationship with it.
I researched and concept mapped grocery coupons using their formal qualities and activity theory, and then developed a persona and scenario for investigation. I pursued a happenstance interaction with a coupon which led to exploring changes in mindsets which in turn led to changes in interaction. I created transferrable printout prototypes of some exploratory designs to gauge response with the class. A diagram summarizes the exploration.
In the first stages of evolution, the values of the consumer shape the interaction with the coupon. The ephemeral nature of the materials allows the coupon to be used in a non-traditional way that shifts its value to supporting the consumer’s personal relationships.
Over time, the form and content changes to reflect speculative interactions with social media and marketing, influencing change adoption and culture. Ultimately the exploration ends in a new system of coupons which incorporates aspects of personalization and sustainability.
|| PHASE PROGRESSION – A STORY
|| ACTIVITY THEORY EXPLORATION DIAGRAM
|| EVOLVED FORMS
Graduate Graphic Design Studio | Fall 2016
Design as Cognitive Artifact
Professor Denise Gonzales Crisp
NCSU College of Design