Experiments during Cleaning Day (Siivouspäivä)

Cleaning Day, or Siivouspäivä in Finnish, was started for the first time in Spring 2012 in Helsinki, and was a big success. The idea, initially thought of by Pauliina Seppälä and friends, is simple: on Cleaning Day, you can set up a little flea market anywhere in the city, where you bring your old things and sell them or give them away. The Cleaning Day website provides a map interface where you can mark the spot of your own stand. During the second Cleaning Day on the 8th of September 2012, and thanks to collaboration with the City of Helsinki Public Works Department, the marking on the map is automatically considered as being pre-approved placements of sales spot, without any separate official permit needed.

Cleaning Day sewing workshops in Helsinki city center

Andrea, from our team, has been active in Siivouspäivä from the very beginning and knew the core group of people organizing it. We decided to propose to some of them to test our prototype for the CoMeUp App during this autumn’s Cleaning Day. Pauliina and Jaakko joined in and we provided them with one Samsung Galaxy and one iPhone complete with the prototype App and a working mobile internet.

Pauliina and Jaakko getting acquainted with the CoMeUp App one day before Cleaning Day

The mobile interface was still crude, but easy to use

The App work as followed: after initializing it, one could choose to take a picture, record audio, record a video, write text, or choose any of the above from existing galleries on the mobile phone (e.g. older pictures). Once the media was recorded or chosen, it could be identified by text to be inserted in a field (this text could be the title or  free form tags/keywords, or even hash tags – Pauliina and Jaakko used it mostly as a free tags/keywords and hash tag field). A list of pre-defined tags used by the Cleaning Day map interface users was also available, and tags could be picked from it.

Hash tags could also be used as signs on the stands

We also wanted to test briefly could there be any potential in using QR codes, but only staged some situations where we thought they could be used, in order to discuss the possibilities later.

A QR code for a specific location during Cleaning Dy could lead to a list of activities happening there, or to the list of objects being sold in the surroundings.

Some weeks after the Cleaning Day was over, we chatted with Pauliina, and later with Jaakko. The experiment clearly got them thinking about the potential of taking photos of the stuff that would be used during Cleaning Day, beforehand, as a way for people to browse what would be sold during the Cleaning day. Moreover, people could also document the stuff that had not been sold during Cleaning Day, so that others who might be interested in it, could later trace them. This photo documentation in a sense would extend Cleaning Day to  before and after the actual event. We will take these thoughts with us now and think of the next design steps and continue our collaboration with the Cleaning day people!

The prototype for the web interface

During October however, Joanna and Sara have to take a little break from CoMeUp to focus on their doctoral and masters thesis respectively! Aapo will continue to work on the mobile App. We are also hoping to organize a hackathon (à la Restaurant day hackathon, but for Aalto students!), probably February/March to get interested students from Aalto to develop the CoMeUp App and maybe a variation of it, which would especially address the Cleaning Day needs. We also plan to test the new iteration of the prototype with Kotikaupunkipolut (Home city paths) activists. Stay tuned!