This project is a 3-part experience to make GenZ  conscious of their use of online services and social media. The experience is set up in virtual reality (VR) environment in which the user travels among these parts to understand the broader context of privacy in the age of digital technology. Due to the interactive elements in the piece and the space requirements for VR, the project would be suitably placed in a museum that has a focus on technology and social issues.
Part 1: Data collection sources
A dark room with multiple people standing, each holding their mobile phones. The only light in the environment is coming from the phone. What they do on the phone corresponds to the data that gets collected about them.
Part 2: Behavioral monitoring through the collected data
“A Day in Life” vlog of a person shown from the perspective of the camera, correlating it with surveillance (someone’s watching). The video is overlaid with data as it gets collected from the person.
Part 3: Data safety practices
A bright room filled with people on their laptops and phones. The look and feel of the environment are opposite to that of Part 1, showing positivity and rigorousness. Every screen shows the tips and methods of controlling data sharing on the web.
The 3-part experience shown in this sequence informs the user about the state of data capture on the internet and the urgent need to act, either in defense or offense.
Joey is checking the directions on his phone when Google updates him on his arrival to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City. The museum has recently updated its art collection, and he is interested in checking out some interactive pieces. As he walks up to the second floor, he sees an open room with three large canvas paintings on a white wall. There is a table in front of the wall with VR headsets sitting on top. Joey looks at the wall of paintings, marveled by its color contrast and hidden complexity juxtaposed with simplicity. The painting on his left has a directional quality to it, as Joey sees a bird’s eye view of morphed humans gazing over their phones. The one in the middle is vibrant with colors and an influx of information overlaid on top of a person who is in her 20s. And the last one contrasts the painting on the left as it is brighter and more dynamic.
The presence of multiple VR headsets on the table signals him to wear one. As Joey wears the VR headset, a screen lights up, welcoming him to the experience and guiding him to select the first part.
As Joey enters the experience, he sees a dimly lit environment with several people looking at their screens. The view is similar to what he saw in the painting, only this time he is standing next to these people. Since the only light in the room is that coming from the screen, it creates an affordance to go closer and look at the screen. As he walks using the VR controller, he notices changes in audio levels, giving him a sense of spatial interaction. As he comes closer to these people, he observes that some are on their social profiles, others are looking for directions, and some are doing other actions which are commonly performed by him.
In a few minutes, the environment switches to the second part. Here, Joey sees a YouTube vlogger, Hannah Elise, going through her day. As Hannah records her day, the screen is overlaid with sources of data collection – as she goes through her day, the overlay stores location history, biometric data, facial expressions, product interactions, product journey maps, and other marketing suggestions. This goes on for about 10 minutes (the duration of the video), making Joey realize the vulnerability in data aggregation, as seen from the perspective of the camera. The camera view symbolizes the view of the data aggregators.
Next, the scene switches to the final part. Inside this environment, Joey observes that the room is brightly lit with people. Some of them are standing with their phones, and others are working on their laptops . The dynamism generated through keyboard clicks and facial movements creates an energy in the view, inciting Joey to explore and look around. As he gets closer to the people, he sees everyone taking precautions on their digital devices. Some are checking their email for vulnerability; others are turning off ad personalization and tracking.
This completes the experience for Joey. As he is engaged in the environment, the scene switches to black with a voice thanking them for participating in the experience.
As he removes the headset, he is greeted with the same three pictures on the wall, which are much more alive than they were moments ago.  He thinks about the impact the experience has had on him, and about the ways, he can change his behavior on the internet. He finds a link to the project resources and scans the QR code from his phone. He takes a few pictures of his project and leaves the room.
The priority design questions for this project revolve around creating a relatable interaction for the user and generating a post-experience action sequence. The intention is to create an experience that is simple to understand and promotes critical thinking about the use of technology. Doing that in a self-guided manner would be challenging. On the functional side of the project, it would also be essential to evaluate the duration of each part of the experience – is 10 minutes too long or too little for each? What is the attention span in a museum setting?
A potential way to tackle some of these challenges is through minimalism. By limiting the distractions for the user, the enclosed space should generate curiosity to know more about the process and actions. Another approach would be to test the change in user engagement based on the choice and controls given for the interaction – automating the transfer from one part to the next vs. giving options to select the part to go to next.
 GenZ or Generation Z refers to the age group of people born between the mid-1990s to early-2000s. In the context of this project, GenZ are not only defined by their age, but also by their emotional characteristics. These include being thoughtful, online, unsure, identity conscious, and unique.
 To make the interaction more relatable to the present, I have shown data collection and education through phones and laptops instead of using immersive technologies. Part 2 presents an expansion from these into the immersive domain.
 This user scenario is a part of my thesis for Parsons School of Design. The concept is at its infancy and is subject to change based on the primary and secondary research findings.