An interactive, narrative-based AR game on a mobile device for visually-impaired users.
This project won the Accessible AR Design Challenge held as part of the UX Design class at NYU's IDM program. It was chosen out of seven teams to be developed into an app by the creative agency, Rose Digital.
Marina Roos Guthmann
Xianghan (Sharon) Wang
We conducted interviews with our main client for the project, Gus Chalkias, as well as other visually-impaired users. Based on our research insights, we highlighted the key features that a visually-impaired user will benefit from.
It is important to address accessibility, especially in emerging fields like Augmented Reality. Therefore, we decided to focus on 3 factors to drive our ideation phase.
Our narrative takes place in a "dollhouse" that is placed in front of the player using augmented reality. We were inspired by noir and mystery genres. We looked at board games like Mafia, Clue, Who’s the murderer (Chinese game show), Papa Sangre (mobile game). Play-testing the game helped eliminate assumptions and refine the experience.
There would be an onboarding or training mode for players to figure out how the game works before jumping into it. This would also allow visually-impaired users to change the settings to what works best for them. Our considerations included the sign up process, matchmaking and/or inviting friends to play, possible barriers and opportunities.
Credit for creating the journey maps goes to Marina.
From our research, we knew that providing as many options as we could in the game settings would help users customize their own experience.
Font-size, contrast, separate channels for audio volumes (music, narration, game), and even controls to turn haptic vibration on or off. This gives the user control of their own experience.
Ultimately, such a "dollhouse" style AR game is not new, but still a unique approach to the idea. The fact that it can be multiplayer and other players are seen within the dollhouse is definitely an interesting social experience.
This format of AR gameplay has the potential to be used in many different scenarios. Content can change, while game dynamics remains the same. For example, the dollhouse becomes an educational museum journey where clues become art pieces instead. Or, in a brand marketing campaign, the clues become different products of a brand and the narrative tells the brand/company's journey and story.