Assignment 3: Campus AR

Form your own groups of 3~4, and choose one of the campus sites below.

You’re also welcome to pitch a location not on this list as long as it is easily (and safely) accessible, and you can identify it as a usage of public space that will still be needed in the future.

Assignment outline:

Week 1: Needfinding

Choose a current site which you think embodies a usage of public space that will still be needed in the future.

Identify an interesting problem or an intervention you want to bring to life in this space. What are the goals or changes you want to facilitate? e.g. do you want to help people pass through more quickly (and perhaps leave as fast as possible), or help them learn to identify this “space” as a “place” (via Yi-Fu Tuan) that they might want to return to? Why might your goal be best addressed through a mixed reality experience? What types of information (Identification, Directional, Orientation, Regulatory, etc., via David Gibson) will your emerging technology experience provide? Make sure to focus on designing an experience that does one thing (or adheres to one theme) very well, rather than an app that does many things.

Next, identify a segment of users whom you’d be addressing and define their roles and needs. For example, are there buyers vs. sellers, or students vs. teachers, or first arrivers vs. latecomers, in your space? Choose some subset of these as your target audience whom you want to help. List your guesses and assumptions about what your users need and what their motivations might be. How do they solve their needs today? Are they aware it is a problem? Read How to Understand Problems by Prof. Amy Ko at University of Washington, it will help you with this exercise.

Next, observe. Spend some time in the space you chose, capturing a mix of sketches, notes, photos, and video.

Recruit four people that fit your target user group and send them a quick survey about their needs and current habits. Also make sure they are available to meet for 30min. with you next week. Put together a discussion guide of questions and topics you plan to cover when you do interviews next week.

By 6pm before class, submit 3 slides covering:

  1. your chosen location
  2. what user problem are you hoping to solve?
  3. how are you “turning the problem” on its head and solving it differently with emerging tech?
  4. four observation photos or videos and one insight/learning for each

Be prepared to present for 3 min. and answer questions.

Week 2: Synthesis

Based on your survey results and observations, design 6 provocations (c.f. NYT Cooking dummy provocations from Week 4.) each illustrating a mixed reality experience or one aspect thereof. Your provocations should evoke a response from your interviewees that will tell you something (whether positive or negative) about your assumptions.

Interview your recruits, first without any bias or expectation, and then show them your provocations and listen to what they have to say. You may not need to show all 6 provocations to a person: use your judgement on what you want to hear most from your interviewee in the time you have. Otherwise make sure you have an adequate system of notetaking for the interview: either one person should be dedicated to typing, or you should ask permission to record (video or voice.) This also allows you to have quotes / visuals which you can present later to communicate what you found.

Organize your findings. What surprised you? What do your users need? What are their pain points? Don’t restrict your focus to just what people say and do, reflect also on what they think and feel. Create a 2~3 personas that capture the main users groups you’ve identified; they should have identical problems which you can address, but require slightly different versions (or aspects) of how you address it.

Next, synthesize everything you’ve learned so far. Read How to Define Problems, it will help you with this section.

Is there an overall framework you can use to guide decision-making for the rest of your product design process? (c.f. NYT Homepage framework from Week 3.) Draw this as a conceptual chart/diagram/table: what are the most important axes for your users? Where do the different personas lie on these axes?

Finally, translate your needs into How Might We…? questions. Aim for four questions.

Present your goal, personas, user framework, and “How Might We” questions for a 4 min. presentation in class. Submit your slides by 6pm.

Week 3: Storyboard

Brainstorm and design three divergent mixed reality experiences to address the users in your space. Illustrate and narrate the user experience through storyboards. Read this article about The Role of Storyboarding in UX Design by Smashing Magazine for useful tips on how to make them as well as why storyboards are so common in software design.

Make sure each storyboard communicates:

Compile your three storyboards in 3 slides for email feedback; you will not present this week. Submit your slides by 6pm.

Week 4: Prototyping

Choose one of your concepts to refine, decide on an appropriate prototyping method, and build it!

Focus on just one specific AR concept from your storyboard to prototype. Rather than go broad as you did for user research and mapping entire user journeys, now you should go deep on one interaction. Think through all the visual decisions, e.g. should the information be anchored to your phone or the space? Should it be floating in space or should it feel like part of the walls or floor? In what order should the data be revealed to the user?

Week 5: Evaluating

Test your prototype with at least four people: you can either return to the same recruits you interviewed earlier, or test with users who have never seen your provocations to capture fresh impressions. As during the earlier interviews, document their reactions and responses.

Compile everything about your campus project for midterm crits and be prepared to present for 10 min. Submit your slides by 6pm.

Your presentation should cover these topics (though you need not label or divide your sections exactly thus):