UX/UI, AR

After

Overview
After is an augmented reality game that combines benefits of kinesthetic learning and the popularity of AR games to prepare highschool residents of Red Hook for the few days after a flood, when they must seek resources and navigate the transformed landscape. With the goal of teaching young residents of vulnerable communities to become leaders, the game simulates a flooded, post-disaster world in which students must navigate physical obstacles and collect resources which they can share with other players in their neighborhood.
My Role
UX Designer
Team
Product Designer
Graphic Designer
Design Strategist
UX Designer
My Responsibilities
UX/UI
AR prototypes
Problem

People don't know where to gather resources during a flood

Hurricane Sandy dramatically altered the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook's physical landscape, making it difficult for people to navigate their neighborhood and locate emergency stations.

Red Hook's physical landscape changed during the flooding of Hurricane Sandy: submerged objects in flood waters made it dangerous to travel, a lack of power meant residents couldn't heat their homes in the middle of winter, and the physical locations of resources altered so that many people didn't know where to go to gather food or utilities.

Most people didn't evacuate for fear of losing their belongings and homes, and so they unfortunately experienced extreme difficulty gathering resources and restoring damaged property in their neighborhood's new and challenging parameters.
opportunity
Train youth for the extreme conditions that exist after a severe flood
Gameify the collection of resources in a post-disaster landscape to build community resilience in the midst of climate change.
Hurricane Sandy Inundation Zone, 2012. Red Hook Houses highlighted in orange.
Image by Emily Schmidt, based on shapes from NYC Open Data.
How
Imitate a post-disaster scenario in the form of an augmented reality app to enable kinesthetic learning
After speaking with users, the team learned of an opportunity to make a post-disaster world exciting for secondary students to learn about by having the user navigate their neighborhood's changed physical parameters in an AR game, building off the success of Pokémon GO.

In 5 years, most phones will have the AR capabilities necessary, making the success metric of high usership possible. And while the team recognized that most AR applications are unnecessary and a result of today's hype of the technology , they saw this as a beneficial use of the technology for the game's users and for augmented reality.
defining the User

Aggregate user persona

We conducted user interviews and gained insights from two people who were living in the Red Hook Houses during Hurricane Sandy.

Max Roelvink

High School Student
Location
Red Hook Houses, BK
Age
18
Overview
Max lives in the Red Hook Houses and was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. His apartment was looted and power wasn't restored for 4 months.
His Challenges
  1. Knowing what to prepare
  2. Knowing where to gather provisions in the few days after a flood
  3. Protecting his and his father's belongings from looting
"My dad and I weren't ready. We didn't know what to do [after the storm]."
How it works

Google Maps x Pokémon GO x Fallout 4

After is a tool for feedback from Red Hook residents. It has been designed to be taken into the field and continually tested while implementing user feedback to build new elements that make it more effective in its purposes.

The player can collect a resource, such as a flashlight, by following the GPS map and coming within several feet of the item. An animation will surround the item indicating that it is then in their possession. The player can choose to leave it behind at certain checkpoints when their bag is full for other players to collect or bring it home for their family.

Task flow

AR View

Wireframes

In-app navigation

Easy to switch between AR view and map view

onboarding: introduction

Begin your training

Context

Climate change means more and bigger storms like Hurricane Sandy

The neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY is one of the most low-lying areas in New York City. In 2012 Hurricane Sandy caused it to flood more than any other area in New York City. Most Red Hook residents didn't evacuate for fear of losing their belongings and homes. They struggled to orient themselves in a changed natural environment and gather resources for their families.

Emergency drills are boring and lack context

Secondary school students are only taught what to do (1) in the context of a school and (2) in the impending onset of a disaster. Students find drills boring and they don't teach the leadership or initiative required for under-resourced, post-disaster scenarios.
Subject matter expert
"We’re struggling to get people involved and build community resilience....[There is] a looming crisis when the next storm is going to happen and if we’re going to be ready."
Marlene Pantin
Director of Red Hook Conservancy
Research

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learners, those who learn best through physical awareness and muscle movement, may account for as much as 45% of the population.
There exists positive high correlation between Kinesthetic Learning Style and academic achievement of [secondary] students.
Chiray K. Bajaj College of Education
Learning Style and Academic Achievement of Secondary School Students Study
Mapping the AR scene

Physical prototype

To understand the ideal flow of features, the team conducted physical testing using a paper map which people used to find resource stations and collect tokens with.
Digital Prototype

Unity + Vuforia SDK

user testing

iOS mockup

We then tested the mockup with would-be users in a lower manhattan park. The feedback we received will inform the next product iteration. After is foremost a community feedback tool. It could serve as a proactive tool to inform city flood preparedness strategy as our communities become equipped for the next one.