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David Letterman Learning Experience

The David Letterman Learning Experience (or DLLE) aims to demonstrate to the Ball State community and beyond that we are all connected using various methods, such as cross-platform storytelling, digital media design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, and hands-on learning. We hope to strengthen these connections by using these methods and sharing the stories of Ball State, past and present, and sharing our personal Ball State stories. 

Project Role - Part of the AR Sector

  • UX Researcher

  • UX Designer

  • AR tester

  • Writer on the design brief

Problem

Our team aimed to address the lack of meaningful interactions and a sense of belonging within the Ball State community, which was caused by a gap in storytelling and difficulty for students and alumni to connect with each other due to changes in the campus and its culture over time. As a solution, we developed an interactive touch wall, website, social media campaign and augmented reality experience that allows users to immerse themselves in the past and present of Ball State's campus. For the augmented reality, users can scan the environment with a smartphone camera and unlock historic photos, learn about the origins of traditions, discover little-known facts, and explore how the campus has evolved over time. This AR experience creates a common ground for students and alumni to connect and share their experiences, addressing the larger problem of a lack of community connection on campus.

Goal

Our team created a three part solution in which contained an interactive touch wall and website called 'The Chirp,' an augmented reality app called 'FlyAR,' and a social media campaign. The goal of these products was to help show how current and former Ball State students as well as faculty and staff are all connected to one another in one way or another. By creating these immersive products, we were able to help immerse users in new ways to see how we are all the same. For the project, we had a mix of mid-fidelity and high-fidelity products due to technological barriers. 

Research

The AR team researched academic articles about how the use of augmented reality could help immerse users to feel more connected with one another. From this research, the main points our team discovered were: 

Current and former students prefer to create connections with one another in person. However, to maintain connections, people prefer to utilize virtual services. 

Experiencing a new technology with someone can form a bond with someone due to the shared experience.

Stronger connections with one another was created if there was a form of shared experience was involved.

Prototype

Our augmented reality team created a two-step prototype to allow users to experience the changes on Ball State's campus over time. The first step was an app prototype in Figma, where users could preview the locations featured in the augmented reality experience. Due to technological constraints, the AR aspect was developed in a separate software called 'Lens Studio' for a fully functioning AR experience. The AR was accessible through a Snapchat filter, allowing users to hold up their cameras to Shafer Tower and tap on different buttons to learn about campus. The buttons included a video icon showing the inside of Shafer Tower, a music icon playing the tower's bells, and an image icon displaying a slider of current-day campus compared to before Shafer Tower's construction. Since we would not be able to bring every user to Shafer Tower, we brought the tower to them. To help show users the augmented reality experience, our team then built a scale model of Shafer Tower for users to test out the AR on while not having to step outside of their class or area. Below includes the FlyAR prototype, a video of the AR experience including the Shafer Tower replica in use for the AR.

As the video plays, the user is able to scroll to the correct filter: FlyAR. From here the user tapped the icon of the image. In doing so, the slider image appears. After the user is done watching, they press the X and then press the music icon. Here, the bells play their sound. To turn off this feature, the user can simply press the icon again. The last icon that is pressed is the video icon. Here the user is then shown a video of the inside of Shafer Tower. 

The team additionally developed an interactive touch wall and a corresponding website to facilitate the sharing of stories by current and former students about their experiences on campus. The initial phase involved meticulous design work using Figma, enabling the team to make necessary adjustments and modifications to the design. Subsequently, the touch wall design was successfully implemented on an actual touch wall at Ball State University, while the website was created using the Wordpress platform.

Future Directions

While FlyAR has specific elements that are high-fidelity, the implementation of the augmented reality experience into the app is still in the prototyping phase. Currently, the app takes place partly within Snapchat and partly within Figma. There is also only one location programmed to do augmented reality due to time constraints. However, the goal is to incorporate the two to become an augmented reality app where the user can view the locations on the map and see more than Shafer Tower in augmented reality. 

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