[ISEA2022] Paper: Bruna Sousa, Ana Rodrigues, Nuno Coelho & Penousal Machado — Made you look: crossing visual attention with computational design to create motion-based visual distractions


Full Paper. Session: Humans and NonHumans / Human Nonhuman Encounters and Distractions

Keywords: Visual attention, Computational design, Context-aware systems, Adaptive systems

To address the creation of effective visual communication in places with highly competitive environmental stimuli — urban public spaces — we crossed Cognition and Computational Design areas and developed prototypes that explore the dynamic triggering of a selected set of visual stimuli and analyse its impact as distractors of human attention.

Urban spaces are rich in environmental stimuli. This high represents a challenge when creating visual communication objects that address the public’s attention. However, the presence of digital screens turns this into an opportunity to explore new resources for the creation of visual strategies and address the contemporary context of urban spaces.
Since attention is a limited resource, each person has to be selective when deciding where to focus on. This selection envolves attend to determined stimuli while rejecting others. To address this issue, we identified the need to understand how the brain processes visual stimuli and chooses where to focus its attention as much as how to create visual stimuli that activates these brain functions.
We cross findings in Cognition and Computational Design to support our research and the development of prototypes that explore the dynamic triggering of a selected set of visual stimuli in a visual composition. The findings regarding Visual Stimuli guided the collection of promising visual stimuli to use, either individually or in combination, in the situation we are addressing — contexts where the audience is goal-oriented to other tasks. Also, the knowledge of Computational Design allows the development of dynamic and adaptive systems, which application can be particularly interesting in less predictive and evolving environments such as urban public spaces.
In the present research we demonstrate the potential of this approach in addressing the issue raised. Through preliminary results we assign levels of efficiency to a collection of visual stimuli. Additionally, we propose a set of solutions for address the less efficient approaches while identifying new needs that shall be further tested. In sum, we aim to establish a research basis for the development of dynamic systems and consequent generation of graphic stimuli in visually competitive environments.

  • Bruna Sousa is a creative technologist fuelled by curiosity. Aiming the creation of effective and affective visual communication, her work combines fields such as psychology and neurosciences with graphic and interactive design. She has a Bachelor and Master degree in Design and Multimedia from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Currently is a computational designer and researcher at the Computational Design and Visualization Lab, is enrolled in the PhD in Contemporary Arts of the University of Coimbra, and is also a teaching assistant on the Undergraduate and Master degree courses in Design and Multimedia at the University of Coimbra. Her research interests are related to computational art and design. She also explores different approaches in typography, graphic and motion design, being them interactive, participatory or adaptive. http://www.brunadesousa.com
  • Ana Rodrigues is a Computational Designer. Aside from being currently enrolled in the PhD Program of Information Science and Technology at the University of Coimbra she does research at the Computational Design and Visualization Lab., CISUC, Portugal Additionally, she teaches as an Invited Assistant at the same institution. She is particularly interested in exploring computational bridges that may emerge from crossing the domains of Visual Communication, Music, Cognitive Sciences, and Media Design. Other interests of hers include Computational Creativity and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Nuno Coelho (Univ Coimbra, CEIS20, DEI, Portugal) is an Oporto based communication designer; a professor of Department of Informatics Engineering (DEI) of the University of Coimbra, where he teaches on the undergraduate and master degree courses in Design and Multimedia; and an Integrated Researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CEIS20) of the University of Coimbra. He holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Art from the University of Coimbra, a master in Design and Graphic Production from the University of Barcelona, and a degree in Communication Design and Graphic Art from the University of Oporto. As a design researcher, he is interested in history, material culture, digital humanities, and visual semiotics and representation. He has developed self-initiated projects in the intersection between design and art, raising questions, in its vast majority, about social and political issues. He has curated and coordinated design exhibitions and talks. He has two books published. www.nunocoelho.net
  • Penousal Machado is the coordinator of the Cognitive and Media Systems group and the scientific director of the Computational Design and Visualization Lab. of the Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. His research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Evolutionary Computation, Computational Creativity, Computational Art and Design. He is also the recipient of scientific awards, including the prestigious EvoStar Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evolutionary Computation in Europe and the award for Excellence and Merit in Artificial Intelligence granted by the Portuguese Association for Artificial Intelligence. His work was featured in the Leonardo journal, Wired, and included in the “Talk to me” exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art, NY (MoMA).