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Together

augmented reality collaborative dance platform

Collaborating to teach and learn

Young people are increasingly mobile and as friends grow up, they grow apart. New work, new cities, new relationships take place and what was once familiar becomes unfamiliar. Many new technologies enable remote connection through face-to-face conversation but what about for friends who relate more through doing things, learning new activities and skills together?

Together is an application for friends to learn and coordinate group dances. Using visual thinking methods to teach dance sequences, the application leverages connected devices to enable friends to teach each other through a virtual platform.

Together System Map

View the Concept Video

Key Features

Together enables friends to asychronously learn kinesthetic skills, such as dance through visualizations. The systems brings organizers, collaborators, and learners together to learn a physical skill, specifically dancing. It uses:

  • Open-ended dance video input
  • Application of visualization to music and dance
  • Collaborative annotation and discussion features
  • Synchronization of video with learner's movements
  • Virtual group dance space utilizing large screen

Landscape Analysis

Existing technologies in the interactive dance space cover a lot of ground but there's something missing (view research examples here).

Together Landscape Analysis

Design Process

Project Brief

The project brief called "Tabs, Pads, and Boards" was to design a responsive and scalable user interface that connects an experience across multiple devices.

Project Framing

We were provided personas to guide the initial problem framing. Using these strawman personas as inspiration, we conducted field research by interviewing friends and family. This helped identify a common challenge for the 'Stewart' persona of fostering social connections in increasingly mobile lifestyles.

Together Personas

Exploration

With a vague brief, we needed to ground the design by finding constraints and inspirations. I structured the design problem by asking three questions.

How do people want to connect?

How can we design an experience that allows people to connect in their busy lives? People spoke about changing jobs and locations and losing touch with people. They liked their lives as they were but it was a struggle to stay in touch when your friends are no longer active in your day-to-day life. They also didn't like the idea of forcing friendships. This led me to focus on designing to improve key experiences in people's lives, such as milestone events.

What is the opportunity area for board-sized displays?

What is the inherent value proposition of being able to design for screens of varying sizes? Realizing that designing for large screens affords the opportunity for 1:1 scale at the physical level gave me an entry point into the design idea as something physical.

How can we rethink visual thinking?

While observing friends and family as they were preparing to teach a dance sequence, I had the idea that visual thinking could be applied to teaching spatial/kinesthetic activities.

Together Territory Map

Focused Question

How might we use connected devices of varying screen sizes to enable a collaborative learning and planning experience grounded in physical presence over time and space?

Additional Findings

Wedding dances as the initial user story

Celebrating life milestones like weddings are rare opportunities for friends to reconnect. People are willing to do a lot for these events—travel, spend a lot of money, put themselves in uncomfortable situations—all to create a shared lifelong memory.

How technology could help

Wedding dances have become a popular activity in recent times. They are fun to do and help to celebrate important life events in a friend group. However, learning and coordinating dances can be very challenging. Differing schedules, locations, and skill levels contribute to last minute cramming once people fly into the wedding venue, making the short time together stressful and harried.

How people learn

In addition, people need time to learn the dance through repetition and internalization of patterns. Even with the same source material (videos), often more experienced dance friends would need to process the source material, digest it, and translate it for their less experienced friends.

Together Research Photos

Initial Design Considerations

With a short time frame, many of the initial design decisions were made intuitively to articulate a simple UX flow.

System vs. Person

What the system does vs. what people do. How much can the system 'automatically' do versus what cannot be done by the system? Where is the value in each? Is this more of a social communication tool? Is it more of a visualization tool? Or is it in translation of kinesthetic to a visual language? Is it more of a new way to 'play' subject-specific videos?

Visualizing

Visualization of movement over time. How do we visualize movement over time? Which visualizations are helpful? Is visualization even the right way or is it really just about muscle memory?

Features

What features to allow for in annotation? Is there a set list of patterns that can be visualized? How best to do this? Is video or annotation the best way to represent this?

Modes

Synchronization states and modes. Which experience do you bias the design for? Synchronous vs. asynchonrous? Group versus individual? What degree of control/features do you enable in each mode?

Together UX Flow

UI Prototype

A low fidelity interactive prototype was made to simulate the desktop experience.

Together Wireframes

Play with the desktop UI prototype

Together UI Prototype

Going Forward

This video sketch is the first phase of this project. It explores several ideas in one concept, grounded in the potential of designing around an augmented, social dance experience. The next step for this project would be to prototype the experiential aspect of the dance room concept as well as to begin answering the questions above through additional user research, secondary research, and design. The user research goal might be to contribute to understanding the boundaries of embodied experiential design. Another goal might be to refine the concept into a specific value proposition of the concept in terms of its effectiveness and desirability as a teaching and learning tool for dance.

I have included this project in my portfolio because I think anything dance related is awesome and I would welcome further collaborators in this intersection :).

Context
  • Class: IxD Studio (Advisor: Austin Lee)
  • Timing: Fall 2015 (~4 weeks)
  • Team: Independent project
  • Contributions:
  • Concept Generation, Interaction Design, Landscape Research
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