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Building a Mixed Reality app for exhibition

During Cortina Productions’ internship, we showcased how Augmented Reality can fulfill what’s missing in a museum

Building an Augmented Reality app for exhibition

During Cortina Productions’ internship, we showcased how Augmented Reality can fulfill what’s missing in a museum

At Glance

Length
1 month

Tools
Sketch, Zeplin, ProtoPie, Photoshop, Samsung Galaxy Tab

Role
Research, User Interface and Exhibition Design, and Prototyping (An Intern project)

 

Overview

During a 3-month internship at Cortina Productions, interns received a client’s proposal to create a museum of future in July. "The Future is Calling," the Augmented Reality app designed for this special exhibition, blurs the boundary between physical and virtual objects and museum interaction.

 

Challenge

What if a museum cannot supply an artwork because of limited budget or availability?

While museums spend a tremendous amount of money on bringing artwork for an exhibition, what if their budget was out of reach to bring certain pieces or there's just no way to find an actual object?

 

Solution

Use a device like iPad to see the artwork that wouldn’t be otherwise!

We developed an AR app "The Future is Calling" which, as a part of the whole exhibition, shows a virtual object at a specific anchor. Furthermore, information on a wall turns live when pointed with a tablet, Just like Harry Potter, to enrich an audience with dynamic context.

 

Wireframing

Since we were limited to work on the intern project only in the morning during July, I jumped right into wireframing as we decided our goal. I first walked around the office to find a perfect place for our exhibition because I wanted to brainstorm on how an object and content would look.

To complete this task, I walked around with my iPad, took photos of possible locations, and drew on top of these to share ideas to teammates. After deciding the site and a rough UI design, I moved to high-fidelity prototype.

 

Setting Goals

Being only one experienced in Augmented Reality, I chose to get a set of goals as a guideline. After much discussion and education, we decided to be very considerable of an audience visiting a exhibition and holding a tablet by:

  • Placing the exhibition material not too high. Our target audience age was from 14 to 40. Hence, we wanted the display to be reachable to young kids.

  • Limiting digital content length. I worried about the audience holding the tablet for too long and feeling pain from it. I also had to consider young kids and people with disabilities. Therefore, we limited the digital content length to be within two minutes so the audience can rest and place the tablet on a table in between.

  • Providing hands-on experience. While we weren't able to find key objects for the exhibition, we asked coworkers to donate old cell phones for the exhibition. We wanted the audience to immerse profoundly and to take a break from a tablet naturally as they interact with physical models.

 

Our client testing out a prototype

Research

Despite our limited time, we performed two usability test with help from the client. We used the agile process to support the sprint and made improvements on the prototype as we perform tests.

Since the client knew the main idea, I observed their behavior, asked questions based on their move, and wrote down additional feedback.

We decided to:

  • Make an anchor more visible

  • Add an artistic twist on a wall content

  • Increase the object's animation speed to hint it is rotatable quickly

 

Communication

There were design, production, and programming team with different background and being on the same page was critical. To communicate, I created visual prototypes. I also created documentation on UI and interaction flow.

One of prototypes I created to communicate with teammates

One of prototypes I created to communicate with teammates

Overview of the AR app

UI flow

 

Hi-Fidelity Prototype

After a few iterations based on usability testing and client’s feedback, here are final designs.

Demonstration of the app

 

Reflecting on Findings

During one month of our intern project, I, most importantly, learned how to communicate with coworkers with different background. To overcome our differences, I created extensive design materials to communicate with them. In addition, I learned more about exhibition design and augmented reality design principles.