Designing an interactive installation in the city of Denver

Sara Doltz

 

Could you create concepts for an eye-catching interactive installation to be placed in a prominent public space in Denver city?

This was the initial brief that inUse was given by a client in Denver. In addition to being unique, visually stunning, and easy for visitors to engage with, our client wanted the installation to be have sufficient depth to warrant a return visit. They wanted something that would be talked about, and which would contribute to making the proposed site a destination.

This is the kind of demanding brief that we love.

A small design team was assembled, including an architect, a user researcher and an experience designer. The team got to work generating and illustrating over thirty different concepts that were made into an “idea book”. A team from Panasonic partnered with us throughout to ensure that everything that we proposed was technically feasible and could be delivered in a timely manner.

“We just want something sensational” our client told us.

This is not the easiest thing to do on command. Thankfully inUse has an in-house creativity method called “Directed Innovation” that can stand up to this kind of pressure. The method is not dissimilar to the process of a movie director achieving his or her singular vision by means of a team of highly specialized professionals.

The concepts were pitched to the client, who excitedly told us – using an American baseball metaphor – that we had “hit it out of the park!”.

One of the concepts was selected to be fleshed out further. We did sketching, building cardboard models and prototyping to gauge the performance of different technologies.

The architect looking through a model.

In the end one of the most effective experience design techniques turned out to be a version of bodystorming. The team physically role-played various activities and interactions at the proposed site to figure out how to draw visitors in, how to communicate the main modes of interaction, and how to create different levels of engagement.

The detailed design was handed over as a document and also described in a short video. The video medium complements the detail and specificity of a report and is vastly better for storytelling and helping others to imagine what the experience might be like. Our video allowed us to provide a sense of the emotional tone of the experience. In fact, more than one viewer was touched to tears.

Video stills, showing UX design interacting with a screen on the ground

At this point our client in Denver has a catalogue of different concept ideas for an innovative installation suitable for a public place, as well as one thoroughly documented, technically feasible, detailed proposal for a visually striking and compelling interactive installation.

Read more about our work with Human Spaces or send an e-mail to Emma Estborn.

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