Tuning Conversations is a design provocation to let people tune in and out of digital communications like they would tune in and out of a radio feed. It asks people to think about what information they want reaching them and when, and puts them in control of that reality by turning written messages into an ambient audio stream.
The radio is the result of a design research investigation into how people find digital communication relates to their daily lives. Most people feel an inherent tension with messaging — we desire, generally speaking, to block out the noise from our phones and focus on our physical realities, but we are afraid, rationally or not, to put down the phone and risk missing something we want or need to see.
I explored these tensions through a series of experiments, prototypes, and research probes to learn everything from ‘texting personas’ to what happens if we only communicate via walkie-talkie for a day. From these explorations, I was able to deconstruct and define the social situations that change the norms we want our phones to follow and look at new ways the design of the device and the medium of messaging could impact the way we connect.