Making Data Useful
// augmented reality, interaction and experience design

Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Deliverables: user research, personas, design concept, videosketch
Team: Molly Johnson, Alex Krysiak, Nicolas Perez Cervantes
Contributions: exploratory and participatory research, user interviews, concept and scenario development, wireframes, interaction design, naming, presentation writing, photography, videography
Timeframe: 14 weeks, Spring 2013

Airloom: A new way to experience and share memories in a data-rich world


Airloom is a service that allows users to leave memories and gifts in tagged locations for the people they care about most. It leverages environmental and GPS data by adding personal and locational context to the memories people choose to share with close friends and family.

We developed Airloom together as a future-minded solution to the challenges many people face in sharing and data and memories with close family and friends across many different media and devices, over time. Airloom allows users to leave data-filled ‘traces’ (messages that include text, photos, redeemable gifts, videos, or drawings in augmented reality) in locations which then can be experienced on the web, on a mobile device, or viewed in augmented reality, such as through contact lenses or glasses.

As a service, Airloom is intended to encourage meaningful, personal sharing of memories across geographical locations and varied user age demographics. In addition to the following videosketch, which is intended to show the look, feel and experience of discovering and opening a trace in a location in augmented reality, we developed and user tested an augmented reality hand gesture language that allows users to interact with the Airloom system.

Based on intensive user research, including user interviews, card sorting activities, participatory co-design sessions and persona development, we developed the following design principles, all of which informed and drove the decisions that led to our final design solution.

Direct Sharing: support personalized and direct one-to-one communication
Meaning: focus on personal stories and historical context, rather than sharing quantitative data (e.g. weather, distance traveled)
Brevity: allow users to leave concise messages to relive and pass on to future generations
Relevance: shared content should be relevant to its audience
Fun: sharing and experiencing content should be fun
Longevity: sustain memories and maintain real bonds between people



Creating and leaving a trace using a mobile device

Viewing a trace in augmented reality

Viewing a trace in location

Viewing traces on a map

Here is a PDF of our Final Presentation to Microsoft. We presented our final concept, the video above, and an overview of the Airloom system and interfaces.

For more detailed information on how we arrived at this final concept and developed the Airloom system, here is a PDF of our presentation summarizing our initial exploratory and user research process and synthesis.

We also presented a summary of our generative research process, including several use scenarios and participatory co-design activty sessions. Here is a PDF of our presentation summarizing this generative research process and the findings that led to our design concept.

Finally, before delivering our final design solution, we presented our process as we refined and tested our final idea; the Airloom system. Go here to check out our concept refinement process and intial explanation of the Airloom system - including the augmented reality gesture guide, and our evaluative research and testing

Exploratory User Research
Secondary research: literature review
Competitive review: 150 similar travel and tourism related apps ands services
Territory mapping
Survey: 72 respondents
User interviews: 16 interviewees
Personas: 3 unique personas
Card sorting: 6 participants, 60 cards

Generative User Research
Future tool building: 7 participants
Scenario enactment: 7 participants

Ideation Methods
'How might we...?': 21 questions generating 75 different ideas
Affinity diagramming: 6 overlapping concepts

Evaluative Research and User Testing
Scenario validation - testing primary concepts with users: 8 participants
Wireframing and usability testing of mobile experience and AR experience paper prototypes
Writing, storyboarding and filming the videosketch

The following are a few photographs from our research and design process.
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