Enriching the tour experience in place: Self reflection

Jayden Liu
2 min readOct 16, 2021

My first exchange with augmented reality had ended quite fruitfully as my team and I brought the “CMU sports tour experience” and demonstration video to fruition. We are undoubtedly proud of the thoughts and efforts that we have put into making the video. While sharing similarities, this project contrasts with the first project on the number of people on the team, the methods of prototyping employed, and even the level of reality we work with.

While, like any environments design, both the first and this project tasks designing an experience in space, the AR project more specifically built my skills on team-working and communicating my vision through lo-fi prototyping and motion graphics. In the first project, we made elaborate prototypes that closely resembles the designed environment. However in the second projects, we made low fidelity physical and video prototypes that more than anything communicates a vision rather than to devise an implementation. The skill of lo-fi prototyping is essential to any projects that go beyond the technical scopes of us designers: it helps communicate our ideas before it is brought to life collaboratively with experts from different fields. It is also a useful tool to get team members who might not have the design skills to get involved in the process of prototyping.

The application of motion graphics adds another layer of complexity to environments design. We employed graphic and editing skills to make the experience convincing and enticing without actually realizing it. The process reminded me of the instructional video we did in the first year studio, because, realistically, we are actually “teaching the expected experience” to our clients who were clueless to our ideas moments ago.

Throughout the span of this project, i have also learned to better collaborate with others. Between the three of us, we established a healthy workflow that proved to be efficient. I became more comfortable engaging a conversation. And more importantly, I have learned to respectfully appraise my team’s ideas so that our final product is the best of our collective wisdom.

Similar to how the subject of environments design is expansive, the role of the environments designer can also be expansive. Throughout the mini, I have employed all communication, hand-making, film-making, CAD-modeling, and even programming skills etc. to visualize the experience that I wanted to create. While it is emphasized how one does not have to be an expert of all to be an environments designer, it is important nonetheless to know the technology available and the work that goes into prototyping and implementation. And surprisingly, I have come to realize that a big part of designing for an environment or anything at all is communication: an idea is only as good as you can visualize it. Further, the skills needed for each projects varies so a lot of researching and learning goes into each project.

Ultimately, the success of any environments design is measured by the interaction it develops. Therefore, Human factors inform environments design. So to be a good environments designer, one must also understand how people work.