Grow

For our Capstone project, we designed an interactive installation that would encourage participants to foster positive thoughts while finding common ground with others.

The Covid-19 Pandemic began two months into our project which pivoted us to creating an online interactive experience.

ROLE

UX Designer

DURATION

14 weeks

KEY SKILLS

Ideation, Collaboration, Information Architecture, Workflows, Wireframing, Visual Design, Animation, Interactive Installation Design

MOTIVATION

In today's modern and tech-driven world, loneliness and negative thoughts have become an epidemic.

Loneliness is a subjective experience rooted in our biological need to seek collaboration and connection.

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PART I

PRE-PANDEMIC

01 - PROBLEM

Our biological need

to seek connection causes the subjective experience of loneliness in our seemingly ultra-connected world.

Negative attitudes

can decrease lifespan and can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which then leads to chronic stress.

46% of Americans

report feeling alone. Researchers say that loneliness has been linked to several health issues and even early death.

Consciously practicing

positive thinking can strengthen energy, motivation, and healthy thought processes when faced with problems.

02 - BRIEF

Our solution

was to create a life-size interactive tree installation, in hopes that users would submit positive thoughts to not only grow the beauty of the vibrant garden, but to grow themselves.

Through Grow, participants are given an opportunity to reflect on what makes them happy, while witnessing a large population doing the same. It will show how these positive thoughts and unity among others can unite masses, and light up the world.

03 - TARGET

Imagine RIT

is a festival drawing in thousands of local students and families interested in learning about the newest technology and progress that RIT has to offer. We planned for over 500 visitors of all ages and backgrounds to experience our fully-immersive installation over the course of the day.

Imagine RIT 2020 was cancelled due to the  Covid-19 Pandemic.

03 - TEAM

My role

was one of two UX Designers on the project. We also had two Visual Designers, a Data Visualizer, and two Developers. Our team of seven brought our strongest skills and interests forward to bring this project to life.

04 - SOLUTION OVERVIEW

Installation Vision

Main Features

thought-photo

Thought Drop Station

Participants can write a kind note, letter of gratitude, or positive thought and send it out to see it light up the room.

Participants can choose from one of four stations throughout the room, and numerous prompts.

Tap and Explore

Participants interact with the leaves on the tree by tapping their phones to the leaves and receiving the thoughts of others.

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Personal Tree

Participants can save a few of their favorites to form their own digital tree.

From there, they download their personalized tree as a wallpaper to take home.

Data Visualization

Participants can view the data visualization to see how many others answered each question and in what categories they chose to answer it.

This will reinforce the magnitude of those that contribute their positive thoughts, showing participants they’re never alone.

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Research

PRE-PANDEMIC

05 - WORLDLY SUCCESS

The framework of allowing people to share their own inspirational messaging has proven successful all over the world. It allows users to both contribute their individual passions, and see the impact in numbers, reinforcing the positivity.

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The concept of the tree came from the Japanese wish tree tradition. We wanted a breath-taking installation piece that would bring our exhibit and everyone involved together. The tree would also be a metaphor for how one small act can help something greater grow.

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Frame 100

07 - SURVEY

123 people

found our survey which my team shared on various social media and answered prompts.

Our goal

was to gauge willingness to engage, answer diversity, unwanted/negative responses, gather general feedback.

We found

the majority of responders took the prompts seriously, seemed excited by the idea, and were open to being vulnerable.

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Physical Experience

PRE-PANDEMIC

08 - TREE DESIGNS

Before we set out to build a 10 foot tree, we wanted to know that it was possible to do well. Using PVC pipes, insulation foam, paint, and vines, we created a small model of a tree as proof of concept.

Using blueprints of our installation space, we were able to create preliminary construction plans. These sketches were focussed on build, transport, and creating a believable physical experience.

We were grateful to secure a partnership with a local experience design firm, MirrorShow, who agreed to assist in building our tree structure so we could focus on the digital aspects of the space.

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Frame 102

09 - LEAF DESIGNS

For the final design of the leaves, we wanted to make sure that they were clearly identifiable as leaves but with a degree of “techiness” to them. We created a 3D printable design featuring inlaid QR patterns that could be painted and then sanded using UV reactive paint.

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Frame 104
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User Experience

PRE-PANDEMIC

10 - ARCHITECTURE

The Physical Flow

From entering the room to receiving a takeaway, this was our initial interaction architecture for Grow.

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11 - WORKFLOWS

Central Experience - Tablet

A simple, guided, and streamlined experience that only takes a few seconds but leaves a lasting impact.

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Takeaway Generation - Phone

Through the experience of Grow we aimed to give users a takeaway to remember the experience and to give it all a solid conclusive feel.

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12 - WIREFRAMES

Central Experience - Tablet

We wanted the flow for the tablet interaction to have an easy onboard to both the tablet as well as fluidly connect to the phone interaction at the end.

We put a lot of attention to language and hierarchy to give an intuitive and engaging voice to the interaction.

PROTOTYPE

Takeaway Generation - Phone

With the phone, we aimed to keep the hierarchy and assets consistent with the tablet UI.

We went through several iterations of flows and eventually landed on a streamlined version that guides the user through each step and ultimately allows for a more structured flow for the entire exhibit.

PROTOTYPE

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Interface

PRE-PANDEMIC

13 - VISUAL DESIGN

It was during the visual design stage that Covid-19 surfaced in New York City and our school shut down for 2 weeks.

What is shown below is our first iteration of visuals, without illustration and working towards locking down a visual direction.

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PART II

DURING-PANDEMIC

14 - PIVOT

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our exhibition of our project was cancelled. Instead of letting our work go to waste, we decided to capitalize on what was already built, and pivot to an online web experience to safely bring people positivity when they need it most.

At this point, we had about 4 weeks left to complete the project. We spent 2 weeks focused on visual design while our developers reworked written code to the new workflow, and 2 weeks implementing the visual designs.

macbook mockup-min
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User Experience

DURING-PANDEMIC

15 - ARCHITECTURE

Streamlined Experience

We streamlined the experience to be achievable in less time, allow it to exist on one platform, and highlight the most important interactions to achieve the highest level of impact.

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16 - ATMOSPHERE

Since we no longer had the physical aspect to create a fully-immersive installation, I created an animation to set the tone of the experience and provide context.

17 - SOLUTION

Final Visual Design

Our leaf illustrations that brought the design to life were created by our Visual Designers. The visual design of the entire workflow was a collaborative effort in our shortened timeline.

Many iterations were created over the course of two weeks that brought us to these final designs.

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explore2 1
submit thought 1
explore1 1
choose your prompt 1
submit thought – finished 1
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Conclusion

18 - WIGGLE ROOM

As a team, we learned the benefits of starting strong and with full force. We were one of the first teams to have a concept, and as a result we realized our problems early on in production and quickly redirected to a new and more well-rounded idea.

Moving fast and iterating quickly rather than sitting on an idea for too long and running out of time strengthened our teamwork, energy, and overall project.

19 - EMBRACE CHANGE

Even at the time of completion of this project, we couldn't predict what lay for the months to come in terms of an international pandemic. Thanks to our professors quick adoption to virtual learning, along with patience and understanding from both educators and teammates, we were fortunate to have the support we needed to continue this project when times were uncertain.

We looked to those who were inspirations to us all in the pandemic and nodded to the times we were living in by using suggestive text such as "I'm thankful for essential workers" and "I'm excited for social gatherings".

19 - DEFINING IMPACT

We knew we wanted to create something meaningful and impactful. At first we thought impact had to mean something big, new, and shiny.

We learned a lot about what impact and power actually mean through the use of small and simple gestures, such as encouraging postive thought, if shared through a community of people. (But a little shine never hurts!)

Thank you 🍃