InWorks is an application for students and professionals to share their work and engage in live critique with integrated augmented reality to capture and share 3D work. It adapts to the virtual classes, runs on existing devices (mobile, tablet, or desktop), and creates an immersive critique experience.
10 weeks, Apr 2020 - Jun 2020
Joanne Chen, Jasper Xie, Yuna Shin, Julia Kolde, Olivia Quesada
Research, Ideation, User Flow, Wireframing, Prototyping, User testing, Visuals
How might we provide a more immersive communication tool for art and design students in order to have an effective learning experience?
To better understand and gain empathy for our target group, we proceeded in conducting research on college students taking studio-based classes through survey and semi-structured interviews. Through these design methods, we were able to gain insight into the problems students faced after transitioning to remote learning.
Due to COVID-19, most schools have switched to remote learning, and thus impacting students who need physical facilities and spontaneous interactions the most. Looking at existing majors and how classes are taught at colleges, we determine that students working with 3D materials have the least supported platform and resources to build their projects.
Lack of Communication
Students missed the ease of communication and spontaneous “working together” time and sharing in person.
Tools for Collaboration
Students lose a sense of scale and detail when seeing other’s work in online critiques.
Physical Tools and Materials
Tools available such as Zoom and Google Meet do not provide an effective space for critique and feedback.
Accessible across living situations.
Easily integrated with other virtual communication tools.
Engages students in class projects and critiques.
After empathizing with the users, we created personas to make sure we are creating the product with the specific users in mind while considering the others that might be excluded.
Ash - Industrial Designer, 20
Assigned hands-on projects at home, critique is essential to learning.
Covid-19 has limited her resources to be what's at home, increased difficulty in uploading work online, and removed spontaneous peer-to-peer collaboration.
Quinn - HCDE, 21
Multidisciplinary group projects that require various different platforms.
Covid-19 has made prototyping to be almost entirely online. There aren't many programs with the ability to easily share 3D files to people.
Dev - Commercial Developer, 36
Constantly sharing and collaborating with colleagues and presenting updates to stakeholders.
New social distancing and workplace safety protocols keeps his team separated and makes it harder to hold meetings with stakeholders.
With our personas, we began to ideate for the intended users. In the beginning, we wanted to design a mixed reality platform that would let users interact with projects freely, but after discussing the potential harms, we switched to a more accessible solution.
INITIAL IDEA & POTENTIAL HARMS
Based on our research and findings, we decided to work on a solution based on Mixed-Reality as it provides a responsive 3D interactive experience. We ideated and looked at its potential harm.
Financial cost of either the teaching facility and/or students may make it difficult to acquire.
Like other online tools, limited or lack internet access can inhibit use of the program and device.
The device is also somewhat heavy, making hard to wear for some users.
Keeping users and their data secure and private.
We considered the weight, battery life, and affordability of the Hololens itself.
We realized the accessibility concerns of going this futuristic at a time with COVID-19. Instead, the project pivoted to exploring ways we could make this tool as a practical solution for students with their existing devices. This also meant that we shifted from mixed reality to augmented and virtual reality to accommodate multiple devices.
Below are the first iterations of InWorks, the app we designed for studio classes. There were different ideas of the features that should be included, the most important being a studio that are held in class and in a shared envirnoment.
Below are the fonts we use, the size, the branding, and primary colors.
An interactive collaboration tool for 3D project
Enter Live Critique
Enter Live Critique Button shows directly on the top of the class dashboard. Students can easily access meeting space by clicking on the button.
The Class Dashboard shows the current studio classes the student is taking. For each class, there is a built in space for each student to upload and present their work. The dot indicator places next to the individual name shows the active and inactive status of students, which can encourage spontaneous critiques and collaborations.
Camera view button is a quick way to switch between the three-view of an object. When clicking on the button, the perspective will automatically switch between front view, side view and birds eye view.
The selection tool emphasizes certain parts of the model when presenting and commenting on an object. Components in the range will appear on the left hand side for users to highlight.
When viewing comments on the project, users may sort comments chronologically or by object components.
Archived critiques can be viewed at the bottom timeline chronologically for reference later in the future.
AR viewport enables users to see the object in real life environment with a great sense of scale. Screen captures can be annotated for later review.
Files is a place where users access project files from local or other cloud services. Users can upload, download, and pin files as necessary.
WIDEN THE SCOPE
We hope to explore more features and possibilities such as scanning physical objects into InWorks as technology is getting more advanced.
USABILITY TESTING AND REFINING
For usability tests, our team was able to conduct on individuals. However, due to the pandemic, we didn’t have the chance to test it in a group setting scenario. So moving forward, we would love to conduct more testing to understand user behaviors and use cases. Then refining the user flows and user interfaces.