Three potential directions for our project to go in. Below are rough sketches detailing the ideas.
Centrally located kiosk for group forming and meeting people
The idea behind the Activity Kiosk is to create a good central place for people to go to in the city in order to discover new activities they may enjoy. The beauty behind the kiosk is the fact that since people could gather around the kiosk, it would be feasible to combine groups of people and individuals that have the same interests, allowing others to meet new people who are similar to themselves. The way it works is simple, a user goes up to the kiosk and presses a large "start" button on the screen, tells the machine if they are looking for an activity to be done alone or in a group, as well as how many people are in their group. Next they can look through the offered activities, with the machine prioritizing local businesses and hang out spots. If the person said that they wished to be a part of a larger group, the machine could then identify other groups with similar interests and pair the two, providing a new way for people to meet new people with similar interests without the stigma of "meet new singles!"
Mobile application for choosing something to do
The idea behind the Mobile App is the fact that people often run into the problem of deciding what to do while already in the city. It could be a group of friends having trouble deciding what to do, or a single person who doesn't know what is being offered nearby. The mobile app would allow someone to pull out their phone, login to the service, and use already personalized information to help come to a decision about what stores nearby they would be interested in. This idea has the most room for expansion, since it is such a modular idea, and it is also the one which provides the user over the most control over the interaction with the service. The main thing about the Mobile App would be the fact that people could always change their motivations and interests on the fly, providing themselves with new and exciting options for places to see and experience.
Personal concierge to provide personalized aid and suggestions
The idea behind the Personal Concierge is that at a hotel, concierges are used to provide information about things that are happening in the city, good local tourist spots, and other general location information in the area you are staying. If we could expand this service to provide personalized service, finding activities would never be easier. You could call up your personal concierge, and simply provide them with location information, and since they know about your personality and interests already, they can do all the decision making and simply suggest a good activity. If the activity suggested is not one you want to do at the moment, it is much easier to clarify exceptions to a human than a computer. The Personal Concierge would allow for the most decisive interaction - simply call and receive a suggestion.
The mobile application would be a system that knows the user and what they've done and enjoyed in the past, allowing it to make reasonable suggestions for what they might enjoy doing in the present. The issue with this one is that there's a tendency to devolve into checkbox hell. We're thinking that if it suggests something right off the bat like the concierge rather than asking a bunch of questions, it might be more effective and easier to interact with. The concierge provides personal human interaction and the ability to take things into consideration that programs can't always handle. It also can provide comfort to the user and is probably the best of our ideas, but the problem is in getting a computer interface to have the same benefits that we particularly like in the human interaction. The kiosk is a centralized interface that provides suggestions for things to do and aids in meeting people as it puts its users into groups for activities. It's a cool idea on the surface, but has the potential to be rather sketchy in terms of putting strangers into groups together.