Augmented Reality and Education Thesis: Navigating an Educational Experience through Augmenting Reality (NEEAR)

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Process & Methods

1. Observation / Analysis

2. Low-fi Wireframes

3. Low-fi Montages

4. Full Scaled Models

5. Between Subject Tests

This is my approach and process to the craft of designing human-centered experiences and interactions into software-powered systems.  We developed functionality with emphasis of the learner through each step: User needs analysis / observations, lo fidelity models - each step exploring user interaction, navigation, literary review, and user testing (between subject design) to iterate our design concepts.

more detailed methods

Observation / Analysis Details:

How do we start to define a problem-definition framework for using Augmented Reality to overlay expert opinions at Strawberry Creek?  We had 6 months to design and build a high fidelity prototype.  To focus our time, we used hand sketching to explore many initial directions.  We explored site information from seasons, geo physical, etc.  Below are several sketches during a Stanford hackathon of exploring our ideas and what human interactions and senses we wanted to research (sight, hearing, touching, etc.)

d.School Hackathon critics and exploration of contextual analysis of Navigating an Educational Experience through Augmenting our Reality.

Mindmap explorations of senses with University of California, Berkeley's departmental overlays for expert information.

Site Analysis to sketch out all invisible expert information systems that overlay Strawberry Creek.

Understanding Strawberry Creek through the sense of sound.

Understanding how is time overlaid and accessed through Strawberry Creek.

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Low-fi Wireframes

Measured Drawings, (called technical drawing in architectural drafting) is a graphic tool for using various proportional scales to understand different concepts.  At larger scales more detail can be figured out and at smaller scales more concepts can be flushed through.  Measured drawings can be done by hand, with a drafting board or on various computer programs where measuring tools like rulers can be manipulated.

Measured Drawings to reach Pixel Perfect Explorations

How do we quickly run through various options to layout content, explore interaction, and examine new experiences?  Below are some images of measured drawings using graph paper that were at a 1:1 and 1:12 scale.

Hand Sketched 1:1 Wireframes

Project: NEEAR: Understanding how the human body relates to a tablet screen was critical to understand how information can be laid out.

Sample wireframe sketches for 1:1 tablet screens

Handsketched wireframe to understand how to organize learner's information.

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Low-fi Interaction Montages 

Montages are a technique and method from filmmaking in which a series of short shots are edited into a sequence to condense space, time, and information.  In the 1960's six men from London who recently graduated from architecture and were interested in technology came together to create Archigram.  They created over 900 drawings and montages to explore rules and spatial experiences.  I find using their montaging techniques help to push me to capture, communicate and explore screen flows, visual experiences and interactions through time in the quickest manner; breaking sequences down to be able to build various components.  

Montages for User Interaction Explorations

During crunch time, my thesis partner and I had to quickly communicate the overall experience and what happens when certain user interactions occurred.  Creating several montages created an artifact we could both work from to develop our UX and UI.  We also used this tool to figure out priorities and how to build various components.

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Full Scaled Models

Designing / building full scaled models bring an understanding for the material limitations and qualities one is working with. Thinking through problems using various sized models allow me to work through ideas and to communicate design ideas as various scales. Full scaled models are different than wireframes because this is a physical model or high-­fidelity model that tests interaction ideas.

The below image shows a full scale 1:1 model of an Android Tablet. The 180° photographic representation is printed at  1:12.  This model was built to understand the interactions a learner would experience as they interacted in a vertical manner through our Mobile Augmented Reality and Education App.

more detailed methods

Between Subject Testing

We designed our user test to have four people (2 men and 2 women) in our control (static website) group and four people (2 men and 2 women) in our AR group.  From analyzing our tests we learned that people that used our AR application looked through the tablet's video feed matching up the videos of the professor to the environment.  In next iterations we will explore how more resources could be accessed that align with the background environment.