This was a ten-week project where my team and I built a
communication system between the architect team and client.
For my team, I led this project as the UX Interaction Designer.
For this project, each team was given an open topic to create anything for either Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, or Virtual Reality.
Nutrition Augmented Reality Generator
Mixed Reality for Architecture
Mixed Reality Car Design System
Mixed Reality Military Simulation
We felt that Mixed Reality technologies in the Automotive, Medical, and Military fields were too daunting. Since SCAD offers programs in Architecture, finding problems and crafting solutions would be much more achievable.
“How might we aid in visualizing concepts and ideas to improve client-to-project communication?”
During the secondary research, we focused on the importance of the programs that architects use to get their projects done. Now originally the team thought that we could build something for Mixed Reality and recreate the programs that the architects use. Little did we know how many programs they use and how daunting of a task it would be to accomplish.
Our primary research was conducted on mostly interviews and observations. We learned that each architect has their style to how they build their project and the programs were not the issue that was being introduced but how the architect portrays their ideas to the client. Learning that there was a language barrier and it was the main problem to complete a project. This sparked the idea to figure out a better form of communication for architect to client. Finding this problem took a long time and it made our team fall a lot because we expected to find a problem with the programs that they were using but through lots of interviews and observations, it showed that if one program couldn't do the task that they wanted then they would just go to a different one.
During our observations and interviews we created a stakeholder map to fully understand all the roles that are being brought onto a project. What we have is only a fraction of the people being included becasue each project varies the amount of people involved.
During the affinitization, we learned what the architect would need in a program to show off the project. Then see all the features that the client would be looking forward to see from a project to understand everything that is going on.
We followed the Quasi-Empirical UX Evaluation for our user testing. During our testing we allowed the user to have the freedom to explore what we have created and then we gave them specific tasks to see if everything made sense. Giving them a specific task made us realize where our weak points were within our app UI. When there was an area that allowed AR we placed models in front of them to act out the actions that they were trying to accomplish. During our user testing, we had two different sets of UI one for the client which would be the app and then one for the desktop which is for the architect.
We went the distance with trying to figure out what people would like in the app but didn't account for how a user would like to hold it. This is when we had to backtrack and take a whole new direction with our phone UI and change the whole appearance.
The app starts you off in the axonometric view (Middle Icon). From there you can select the floor switching from either a 2D or 3D view (Floor Icon). When you are on a floor you can view a section view (House Icon) and if you select the perspective view (Eye Icon) you may use the AR ability to view inside the room. Using the arrows it will direct you to rotate camera views so you may view other angles of the room that the architect sets on his desktop platform.
With this system, it's all about communication. Making something that is understandable and complex enough to get deep into a part of a house was very important. The process is simple. Once you select the comment icon on the selected floor then it pulls up all the comments that are in that area. If you select the fab you are then given a process to go pin a comment of your own.
When you're in a commenting page you can select a comment and see what it being discussed. When you select a comment the screen will also zoom into the selected area for more focus. Within a comment, if a code is mentioned you can select it and read what it is about. This allows clarification for the client. When a comment is placed by the client the architect has the ability on their platform to resolve the issue without making a comment and the client would be notified and given a checkmark. This will reduce the back and forth messaging and allow the architect to stick to the work that needs to be done.
The objective for the desktop platform is for the architect to upload his files from other programs so the client can view what is going on. For the client to view inside the building the architect must set a pathing which the architect selects the pathing fab in the bottom right and then clicks on areas of the building that they want the client to view. Everything works just as similar to the app but there isn't as much feature focus with the architect because we didn't want them to get sidetracked from completing their project with the client.
To the team and I this was a very hard project. We constantly kept falling back to research every second we thought we had a break. originally we thought we could create a new system in which architects work but that wasn't the issue. They didn't want to change. Honestly, when we talked about it to other architects they practically just laughed at us making it feel unachievable. Constantly being pushed back to research we found that our problem space was with client to architect communication. Our system AXON360 allows the client to use AR to view what the architect has been working on to please the clients needs. Though this project was a huge struggle I see it as a great success. My team and I worked very hard to keep pushing forward making this concept come true. In the end, even my mom begged for it to be an actual product and not a concept since she was having such a hard time building her beach house.