Project cover image

StageAR

Imagining how designers of the future design AR effects for live performances

Project Overview

The goal of the the project was to speculate how designers of the future would create and coordinate AR effects for a live performance.

Context

3 weeks execution time
Graphical User Interfaces Course
Chalmers University of Technology

Teammates

Individual project

Skills

UX/UI Design
Sketch

Project Details

In the future, augmented reality (AR) effects at live performances may be the become a norm rather than a novelty. StageAR imagines how designers of the future may design and coordinate these live AR effects. StargeAR is a desktop software which allows designers to coordinate AR effects to timed and performance-based cues.

Process

This project emphasized producing a complex user interface over using observational evaluation methods. The design process relied heavily on modeling, requirements, and inspection methods.

Research

To start, I needed to understand the potential needs of the AR designer and what tasks they would want to accomplish. I created a playlist and acted out different scenarios that may occur during the concert based on the setlist. I identified two potential cues an AR designer may encounter: timed cues associated to specific moments in a song and performance-based cues such as when a singer initiates a call-and-response bit during the show.

UIs of creative software analogous to StageAR

Research results of user interfaces of analogous creative software. Left to right: WYSIWYG lighting software from Cast Software; Adobe Premiere video editing

I also researched analogous technologies for lighting engineers and video editing to idenitfied design patterns that would be familiar to an AR designer.

Modelling

I wrote scenarios and storyboard of potential use scenarios for StageAR. These models shaped the requirements for StageAR.

Sketching

I used paper sketches to quickly explore different features and ideas. My approach to designing a complex interface was to focus on specific panels before combining them into a larger whole.

Hand drawn sketches of individual panels

Hand drawn sketches of individual panels. Left to right: Assets panel; Main workspace panel for planning effect cues; Prompt control panel to coordinate performance-based cues during a live show.

Hand drawn sketch of complete interface

Hand drawn sketch of the full interface after working seperately on individual pannels.

Design & Prototyping

Using Sketch, I created mid- and high-fidelity designs of the StageAR interface. Just as with sketching, I focused on designing one panel at time before combining them into one interface.

Evaluation

Since the emphasis of this project was to design a complex interface, I used inspection methods, like heuristics, and use case scenarios to evaluate the design.

Solution

StageAR is my approach to the challenge of enabling AR designers to design and coordinate AR effects before and during a concert. The interface has two workspace configures: design an live. In the design workspace, the AR designer can design effects and sync them to cues whether they are timed or performance-based.

The live workspaces maintains the familiarity of the design workspace, but makes room for a control panel where the design can trigger performed-based prompted effects. The designer can also trigger effect presets and edit effects during the show with a lookahead feature.

Outcome

StageAR is a desktop application which leverages existing design patterns to create a sense of familiarity to AR designers, who likely have experience using other creative software. The design is information dense to enable expert users quick access to information throughout their design workflow. Next steps include using observation evaluation methods to see how real users respond to the interface and continuous improve the design.

Reflections

Designing StageAR was a fun and useful experience for learning to design a complex system. Focusing on one panel at a time was an effective approach for me and allowed me to focus and refine the purpose of each panel. This approach also helped me to determine the overal information architecture of StageAR.

Due to time constraints and emphasis on designing a complex interface, it was not possible to perform extensive user testing. User testing would have provided useful feedback, especially in regard to the structure and placement of the different panels in the StageAR interface. However, StageAR leverages design patterns found in other digital authoring tools to mitigate the possibility of an unfamiliar and impractical interface.

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