Verso was conceptual project aimed at garnering social interaction through daily rituals with a focus on elderly users. Verso targeted a generally solitary activity – reading – and introduced a social aspect through the use of a passive gestural interaction.
The first thing we do, when we discover a new writer, is share the joy with somebody else
– Levi Asher
Author Levi Asher said that “when we read, we are keenly aware of others who have read, are reading, or will read the book. These ghosts peer over our shoulders as we turn every page. The first thing we do, when we discover a new writer, is share the joy with somebody else. How many friendships and love affairs have begun over a common literary taste? It’s a powerful glue”. I wanted to capture this social connection, this “glue” and synthesize it into a usable product and that’s how Verso was born.
Verso attaches to the front or rear cover of a book and regularly alerts users when other connected Verso users are reading – the premise is simple, if users are aware that others in their circle are reading it sparks interest and conversation about the activity: “I wonder what they’re reading. Is it something I bought them? Is it a story I might enjoy?” – For elderly user in particular this simple social leaning can be incredibly beneficial in a world were age is increasingly seen as a barrier and something to hide away.
Verso provides alerts through light vibrations which can be felt through the book into your hands, and gentle glowing light underneath nameplates on Verso’s surface, the nameplates can be erased and written on by hand depending on who you are connected to. The outputs and interactions we’re intended to be as unobtrusive as possible so as to know draw away from the activity of reading if a user doesn’t wish to be disturbed.