Preserving & Accessing Our Memories

How can you redefine journaling or record keeping in an age of infinite, instant, and digital memories? 

YEAR

2021

ROLE

Researcher

SKILLS

Generative Design Research, Trend Analysis, Technology Review, Insights, Actionable Opportunities

Preserving Information

Recording history has always been a valuable part of human existence. There are the first records dating back 5000 years and finding ancient ruins, and we spend time searching old government and family documents. Society has always valued this recording and recalling information. 

Information Age

Now more than ever, we are dealing with information overload. The stacks of papers and print outs are now stored on tiny flash drives but just hard to find. We have so much new content being created and consumed every day, not to mention our digital photos accumulating on every smart device. 

SAVING EVERYTHING
=
SAVING NOTHING

Process of recording

Why do we even save things?

People use the act of recording to help reinforce storing their initial memory. 

Connections between information

The insights from connecting ideas is valuable between current or past information. 

Reassurance for the future

To avoid future pain, we save things out of an abundance of caution. 

Studying Memories

By understanding the way our brains create memories and knowledge, we identify the most impactful parts of the memory making process. 

By conducting open ended research with participants, I was able to gain my own first hand insights on this topic.

Primary Research

Generative Research Methods

Each question focused on expanding discussions on each of the 3 stages of how our brains process memories. 

1 Understand the motives for keeping
memories (encoding)

What are the different types of memories and methods for keeping them?

What are the reasons for each memory and method?

Understand they see the world of preserving memories (storage) 

What role does recording take place in
important memories?

What is the ideal world of memory keeping?

3 Understand how they see themselves / envision their own future (retrieval)

How do they use their past to shape their future?

What would help them in the future?

Interview Participants

Each participant was selected from different age, occupations, industries, and relationship demographics to best represent the diversity of human experiences.

Journaler

Stay at home mother

Photographer

Keeps records and photos of everything

Leadership Consultant

Recent empty nester

Family home and parent memories

Tyranny of time

PhD Student

Away from her home

Spends time researching

Known as the memory keeper

Medical Resident

New knowledge and opportunities

Talk through experiences to revisit

Relies on others to help capture

Storyboard Illustrator

Following her passion

Enjoys spending time with others

Silent observations of others

Best Practices in Industry

To better understand the range of tools and practices, I spoke to various professionals who constantly search and create information for their own work.

Author

Novels, short stories, Scrivener 

Records everything as a brain dump 

Sort between valuable to save and useful in moment 

Private thoughts to be destroyed

Freelance Designer

Constant Notetaker

Filtering physical notes in the process of documenting / preserving.

System that won’t lose invested time 

Reactive system 

Photographer

Best back up is 2 hard drives, cloud, computer

Keeps her very favorite personal photos only.

 

To see progression and growth 

Consistent records 

Graphic Designer

Commuter / In the shower ideas 

Too lazy to set up Rocketbook 

Dropmark & Bear tools 

Bridge between a desktop and phone 

Browse a sketchbook after the fact 

Expert Insights

To understand the state of the technology and its capabilities I found two experts who are active in their field, focused on human interactions, and human to digital interactions. 

Clinical Social Worker

Healthy relationships with yourself: 

Insight

Understanding

Being kind to yourself

Therapy can be:

Supportive - Basic “problems”

Insightful - Deeper level of thinking

Tracking themes, recurring topics

Will probe for deeper meaning

Personal narratives are really important

Can be wrong or outdated

Insights can come from dreams

Founder & CEO / Lumin AI

Topic Drift (pre tagging or too much tagging)

Privacy vs. Collaborative Filtering

Cultural Bias or Echo Chamber

Requires low friction to start a “thought”

Load time

Cliff in NLP: CONTEXT

Yes, Yes what?

Build you own NLP 

Google / Microsoft options

Research Postits

Research Analysis

To find the strongest themes in such a broad topic, I used design analysis methods to generate actionable insights to focus on in my design.

Themes

From all of the research and analysis, I uncovered common themes that can lead to focused opportunities in this space.

Physical VS Digital
Relationships to others
Sharing with others
Journey to where we are today
Living in the moment
Elements of self
Designated roles
Looking forward
Sharing sweetness
Sensory stores
Everyday life 
This research was used to support dexter, a digital tool to help organize your information.
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A personal information management assistant, here to help curate your knowledge.