Research • Product Development • UX
A Technology Solution for Shakespeare's Hamlet
Graduate Student project for Storytelling & Narrative
Timeframe: 3 weeksAssignment: Use a well-know story and choose a character, and develop a technological solution to solve their main problem.
Project Description: Hamlet's problem, beyond the fact his uncle killed his father, is he is isolated, unable to confide in anyone. Without a trusted, wise confidante, his actions play out to a tragic end. In the play, Hamlet speaks to the skull of Yorick, court jester when he was young. It reminds him of happier and simpler times. Employing humor and cognitive behavioral exercises, this voice-navigated objet d'art, hopes to be the voice of reason, curbing Hamlet's understandable, but destructive behavior.
To get a more in-depth understanding of the character, I re-read the play and watched several productions. Looking for differences in portrayals of his character to get a more nuanced understanding of the character. I also read essays and analysis of Hamlet's mental state throughout the play.
Identifying the Problem
Taking my preliminary research, I chose empathy mapping to find a more exact reason for Hamlet's troubles. This helped me to identify his complete isolation, all of his relationships were some state of betrayal and lacked trust. Using the analysis reviewed in my research and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), I outlined what possible mental disorders he may have been facing, and what were effect non-medicinal therapies to treat them.
Presenting a Solution
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common treatment used many of the possible disorders Hamlet displayed. Since Hamlet is unable to talk with a therapist, this lead me to look for techniques and exercises individuals could practice on their own. These techniques could be developed into voice-guided apps, and housed within an object. A representation of Yorick's skull, provided a good solution. Yorick within the play represents not only happier times, but also a voice of reason. He is one of the only people, Hamlet speaks fondly of throughout the play.
What I Learned
This was an opportunity to develop not only a novel research solution but a informative and entertaining story as well.
• Empathy mapping is an effective tool to use with personas to better identify mental barriers and motivations.
• A better understanding voice-guided applications and their architecture
• Going back and re-reading the research always presents useful, previously unseen insights