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GATHR

Augmented Reality, Crowdsourcing Platform

Type              Interaction Design

Time        Fall 2016 | 6 weeks

Team             MacKenzie Cherban, Bori Lee, Rossa Kim, Ming Xing

My Role        Research, UX Concept Development & Wireframing, AR Prototyping

Tool               Photoshop, Illustrator, Omnigraffle, Unity + Vuforia

 

What Is GATHR?

GATHR is an online flyer-centric service that is comprised of
a web-based application and an AR-enabled mobile app. 

What Can GATHR Do?

DISCOVER YOUR CITY   You can learn about new events outside of your neighborhood through GATHR in both digital and physical environments.

DISCOVER YOUR CITY

You can learn about new events outside of your neighborhood through GATHR in both digital and physical environments.

 
BUILDING COMMUNITY    You can participate in constructing your community identity by taking photos of nearby flyers and posting them using GATHR.  

BUILDING COMMUNITY

You can participate in constructing your community identity by taking photos of nearby flyers and posting them using GATHR.  

 
CONNECT WITH OTHERS   By following through your commitments made on GATHR, you can make new connections with people from different social bubbles.

CONNECT WITH OTHERS

By following through your commitments made on GATHR, you can make new connections with people from different social bubbles.


Why We Created GATHR?

OBJECTIVE

MEDIATE CHANGE

How do we make transitions in the city less harmful, and more inclusive, for the communities?
 

ENHANCE NEIGHBORHOOD IDENTITY

How can we help the transforming city preserve and promote its distinct qualities?                                                                                                          

SOLUTION

GATHR encourages local gatherings where individuals from different social bubbles can not only communicate shared interests but also vocalize community thoughts, therefore fostering open-mindedness and inclusiveness within the community.

GATHR promotes hyperlocal events which are integral of the city culture. GATHR's crowdsourcing nature helps to create a visual presence of the collective neighborhood memories, therefore enhancing local identity from the digital side.

 
 

01

UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT

 

BACKGROUND

We were asked to design a solution for Pittsburgh that imparts an 'impact' on its residents. We were encouraged to explore the city, and to find ways to integrate emerging technologies and the present city. The project scope was very broad; our design could focus anywhere from micro-interactions to generational improvement.   

 

INITIAL QUESTIONS

The team noticed that Pittsburgh is a city in transition. As newcomers flushing into the city, social changes have occurred in the community alongside with the city's economic growth. and we became interested in learning the perspectives from both old and new residents of Pittsburgh to find potential design opportunities. We came up with the following questions that could guide us with our research: 

How do native residents view today’s Pittsburgh?
How do newcomers view Pittsburgh?
How do they make connections and why?
 
 

02

EXPLORATORY RESEARCH

RESEARCH METHODS

STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEW

In order to have a holistic understanding of our problem space, we interviewed a wide range of people who are currently living in Pittsburgh, which include 16 newcomers, 3 transients, 3 locals and 1 expert.

FIELD STUDY

The team visited 5 neighborhoods and participated in 3 local events to observe the city and people's life. We also informally interviewed individuals along the way as part of the contextual inquiry process.

 

RESEARCH SYNTHESIS

After summarizing our discoveries with affinity mapping, 12 themes stood out in particular. Within these themes, we identified 2 key challenges and 2 opportunities that together established our design directions: 

 
Local Gatherings@Community Center  CHALLENGE 1 - People Are Living in Social Bubbles.   On the one hand, newcomers often have a hard time finding hyperlocal events because they don’t visit businesses in unfamiliar neighborhoods, or don’t know anyone from that area. On the other hand, local residents have mixed feelings about the newcomers as they brought disruptive changes, and the chance to meet with other social groups and exchange thoughts and feelings toward "change" is minimum.

Local Gatherings@Community Center

CHALLENGE 1 - People Are Living in Social Bubbles. 

On the one hand, newcomers often have a hard time finding hyperlocal events because they don’t visit businesses in unfamiliar neighborhoods, or don’t know anyone from that area. On the other hand, local residents have mixed feelings about the newcomers as they brought disruptive changes, and the chance to meet with other social groups and exchange thoughts and feelings toward "change" is minimum.

Local Signage@Garfield  CHALLENGE 2 - Local Identity Has Been Neglected.  While gentrification and industrial repositioning are meant to improve the neighborhood, non-local investors don’t really pay attention to the unique quality of each community. Graffiti walls have been torn down, and many local businesses have disappeared

Local Signage@Garfield

CHALLENGE 2 - Local Identity Has Been Neglected.

While gentrification and industrial repositioning are meant to improve the neighborhood, non-local investors don’t really pay attention to the unique quality of each community. Graffiti walls have been torn down, and many local businesses have disappeared

Craft Workshop@First Friday Event  OPPORTUNITY 1 - Mutual Interests Foster Open Conversation  We found out that in a changing environment, new friendships are more successfully formed through shared interests. When people are surrounded by others who are alike, in-person communications would create a feeling of openness and inclusiveness, allowing spontaneous engagement among everyone regardless of their background.

Craft Workshop@First Friday Event

OPPORTUNITY 1 - Mutual Interests Foster Open Conversation

We found out that in a changing environment, new friendships are more successfully formed through shared interests. When people are surrounded by others who are alike, in-person communications would create a feeling of openness and inclusiveness, allowing spontaneous engagement among everyone regardless of their background.

Flyers@Lawrenceville  OPPORTUNITY 2 - Existing Infrastructures Can Be Leveraged.  There are many existing systems in Pittsburgh: public buses, steel bridges, graffiti arts, colorful flyers, etc. These systems are physical presences of each neighborhood's collective memories, which speak to its physical and cultural identity. Reinforcing these existing structures might be an effective way to enhance community identity.

Flyers@Lawrenceville

OPPORTUNITY 2 - Existing Infrastructures Can Be Leveraged.

There are many existing systems in Pittsburgh: public buses, steel bridges, graffiti arts, colorful flyers, etc. These systems are physical presences of each neighborhood's collective memories, which speak to its physical and cultural identity. Reinforcing these existing structures might be an effective way to enhance community identity.

Based on the 4 insights identified above, the team came up with our design objective: 

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03

IDEATION & RAPID USER TESTING

ORIGINAL CONCEPT

The team brainstormed many concepts based on our research and established design goals, and decided to design an intervention around the existing bus stop system because bus stops are where people from different silos come together naturally and have time to linger. Our initial concept is a series of interactive questionnaire boxes installed at bus stops in each neighborhood.

Concept Brainstorming

Concept Brainstorming

 
Initial Concept Storyboard

Initial Concept Storyboard

To better understand the feasibility and desirability of this concept, we quickly tried 4 generative research techniques and gathered user feedbacks. After feedback evaluation, we realized that people has very low motivation to engage with others while waiting for buses because they foresee the new relationship as temporary, and they don't want to stand out in a public space. 

Bodystorming

Bodystorming

Behavior Observation

Behavior Observation

Contextual Modeling

Contextual Modeling

On-site Prototype Testing

On-site Prototype Testing

 

SHIFT IN DIRECTION

We revisited our findings to identify a scenario where people are in the right mindset for interaction. We found flyers are excellent resources for discovering hyperlocal gatherings and events, but they are only exposed to certain areas. We thus geared our direction toward empowering this existing information dissemination system to connect individuals to local events based on mutual interests, and allow them to vocalize community thoughts in an open-minded environment.


04

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

Our new concept, which is named GATHR, is an online flyer-centric platform that allows people to discover local events by searching flyers, help to build community's visual identity by posting local flyers, and connect with others by going to committed events and gatherings. 

USER JOURNEY

Two major user experience paths of GATHR are sketched out based on user groups, usage incentives and usage environments. From there, we focused on detailing out the entire user journey for event attendants and determined that the system should be a mobile application.

"Searching Flyer" Experience

"Searching Flyer" Experience

"Posting Flyer" Experience

"Posting Flyer" Experience


05

PROTOTYPING

MOBILE APP EXPERIENCE

Based on the journey map, the team began to design the mobile app system. We started with creating the app's information architecture to ensure its alignment with the user journey, then we built the wireframes to enhance its usability.     

Information Architecture

Information Architecture

Wireframe Sketches

Wireframe Sketches

Wireframes

Wireframes

 

AR EXPERIENCE

When designing user's "posting flyer" experience, one question naturally arose: how would users know if a flyer was already tagged in GATHR? We considered incorporating augmented reality (AR) into the app's camera view as a possible solution: a turquoise-colored frame floating on the flyer indicates that this flyer has already been submitted into GATHR by others, and a yellow frame means that this flyer might align with user's interest.  

AR Prototyping with Unity + Vuforia 

AR Prototyping with Unity + Vuforia 

AR Mode Interaction

AR Mode Interaction


06

USER TESTING & ITERATION

The team tested the prototype with relevant stakeholders, and made the following design changes to the mobile app:

  • Adding the "flag" feature into the system so that anyone is able to report inappropriate flyers on the platform.
  • Swapping "Explore" with "Feed" as the default landing page to better deliver themed content, such as flyers from unvisited neighborhoods, in order to encourage certain user behavior.

From user testing we also found the need of creating the web version of GATHR. For event attendants, they wish to have access to GATHR's collection of digital flyers from any device, without logging into the system. And for event hosts, they wish GATHR to offer business account and provide host-specific features such as flyer design templates, which would work better on larger screen. Thus, we prototyped the web application experience as part of the GATHR system. 

WEB APP EXPERIENCE


07

HI-FIDELITY DESIGN

MOBILE APP

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AR MODE DEMO

In addition to seeing flyers' tagging status, users can also find interesting AR content to gain a more concrete idea about specific events and groups. These media can be uploaded by the event hosts through GATHR's business account.

 

WEB APP


08

NEXT STEPS

Through cohesive branding strategies and public recognition, we believe that GATHR can expand to other metropolitan areas that are in transition and in need of enhancing local identities. Below are some proposed initiatives:

Branded Goods Given to Local Businesses

Branded Goods Given to Local Businesses

Boothing at Public Events

Boothing at Public Events

Social Media

Social Media

Scalable Logo Design 

Scalable Logo Design