Deliverable 3 — Storyboarding and Speed Dating

We got feedback from the professor on Tuesday, and then spent the rest of the session refining and storyboarding our three rough ideas. Questions that came up regarded how to design for a crowd and how to design around the animal’s needs.

#1 Crowd Controlled Robot

The first idea we refined revolved around allowing people to interact with real animals through a crowd-controlled robot. The largest challenge we had with this idea was how to get input from the crowd in a way that did not take attention away from the animal. We played around with several control schemes. In one, the visitors would stand on a tile that represented a direction, and the one with the most influenced how the robot moved. Another utilized a durable wheel that could be dragged in multiple directions. We ultimately settled on designing a special space surrounded by touch-enabled surfaces that allowed control of the robot. Everyone could draw their envisioned path on this surface, and after a timer ran out, the inputs would be aggregated into a single path that controlled the ball’s movement. Meanwhile, we took the animal’s needs into account as well by only opening up this play space during hunting times and by giving the animal the choice to enter the play space or not.

#2 Holograms

Our second idea fleshed out the animal replays concept. We decided to take advantage of the glass viewing areas, which are capable of having projected “holograms” on them. These glass screens would engage the visitor by asking simple questions, such as “What is the elephant’s favorite food.” People could select what they thought, and after X seconds, a hologram replay would start. This would enable people to get up close and personal with the animal.

#3 Virtual Zoo

Our last idea was based off the idea of a virtual zoo. We discussed examples where the line between virtual reality and reality blended by having physical objects correspond with those in the virtual world. This then fueled discussion about a simple but engaging game where a player is blindfolded and is forced to guess what certain items are based on simply texture. For our virtual zoo idea, each visitor would wear a VR headset and enter a room. With the VR, each visitor could see other visitors and animals. The animals would be mostly stationary. Each virtual animal would have a corresponding real life-size animatronic. This would enable a person to reach out and pet a lion — the visitor would both see the lion through the VR, and touch a lifelike texture resembling lion fur. Simple interactions, such as feeding the animal, could be possible through this as well.

Speed Dating

After coming up with our ideas, we decided to do a speed dating session with several potential users to get feedback. A lot of the feedback was mixed. There were some cases where many people expressed interest and enthusiasm in one idea but others felt turned off or were uninterested in it. Some of the common themes that came up, both good and bad:

#1 Crowd Controlled Robot

  • General idea is interesting, but might lose novelty after a while
  • Controlling the robot/ball is confusing. How will people be able to cooperate when it comes to having many people trying to draw a path?
  • Not very engaging if movement is the average of many users’ movements
  • Animals are never guaranteed to interact with the ball.

#2 Hologram

  • Generally confusing. If I wanted to go to the zoo I want to see the animals not holograms.
  • Not very interactive
  • I’m not getting much out of this experience
  • More engaging than regular signs

#3 Virtual Zoo

  • Would be cool if you could walk around on a treadmill like structure
  • Animals should be as realistic as possible: fur, reactions, feel, etc.
  • Felt very “magical”, fun to do and also laugh at yourself doing it.
  • No real connection to animals, seems very artificial

In the future we will look into which ideas would be good to expand upon and how we would address some of the shortcomings we gathered in the feedback.