AR Greeting Card

a Design Sprint Prototype

Role: Art Direction, Product Design

Context

Use cases for augmented reality on Facebook have mainly been user expression and entertainment through filters.  AR for utility and for deep creative collaboration has yet to be realized on the platform.

I worked on this design sprint with Product Designers and User Research to validate whether we could build a compelling use case in where people could come together to create collaboratively in a World AR (Back camera).

Job to Be

Done

"When I’m with my friends, give us something we can do together so everybody can create a shareable memory."

AR_moments_thumb.jpg

Goals

The goal of the project was to ideate AR concepts that would be hired for the "job".  The deliverable for this project was to explore social AR experiences through design and research. 

Design Problems

Based off the design goals, one the biggest challenges was finding a way to make it easy for users to build and customize a rich AR experience collaboratively.  The other big hurdle, was designing experiences that would suit collaboration, as well as bring real value being AR.

planar_vs_target2.jpg

Planar AR Tracking      vs      Target AR Tracking

palette.jpg
quick_sketch.jpg

Design Decisions

The product was designed so that friends on Facebook could build a greeting card together and share it with others.  The entry point was straight forward.  Users would begin making their card together in an existing or new group chat and take turns customizing it.  It very important that the card felt unique and also could be easily built quickly.  To simplify the creation, there were templates, options for adding pre-made content and the ability for users to add their own.  

The physical diorama design of the greeting card served as the 3D setting to hold all the various customized user content.  Photos and video messages were integrated into the house and onto characters.  When the recipient opened the card, they were able to explore this unique AR experience.  Tapping on doors, windows, and objects would trigger animations and video/audio messages that encouraged user interaction with the card.  

AR Greeting Card opened up a lot of potential ideas for the different types of visual messages that could be added by users.  Users could literally record videos of themselves dancing on their phones and that could then be transferred onto a dancing character in the experience via body tracking (mo-cap).  

Research

Insights

At the end of the design sprint, we had a working prototype that we were able to use in our user centered research.  This helped us gain insights into how people responded to this AR 3D Greeting Card experience and how best to evolve and design future iterations.  

A few key insights we gained from user research participants:

  • Felt it requires a lot of time and effort to build and therefore would only be sent to a few friends and family and can be complicated to coordinate with them.

  • Felt E-cards are passe.

  • Enjoyed the ability to see their friend's photos and videos integrated into the scene

  • Entertained by the discovery and interactive nature of the diorama to consume the content (photos / videos).

  • Want to be able to record personal audio clips and place them in the scene. 

Retrospective

AR Greeting Card was a great case study in developing applications that can provide creative collaboration with friends and an AR delivery vehicle to consume it.  When trying to design for the project, we learned about the challenges of creating content that is fully user-customizable but also simple and smooth for the end-user to build. It was a huge task to (1) understand just how much personalization is needed to make for a successful experience and (2) design a simple, intuitive UI to help make that possible. Finally, (3) Bring in AR so that it adds real value to "job" and isn't just a feature for the sake of it.