HfGuide is an app that guides users through an exhibition.

Introduction

We designed an app to accompany visitors to the bi-annual exhibition at the HfG. The app uses Beacons to allow collect additional information while walking through the exhibition.

Goals

We rethought the process of how people interested in studying at the HfG can be encouraged to actually apply: We identified the exhibition that is held at the end of every term as a major selling point. When an interested person can see actual projects, visit the campus and get in touch with students they are likely to apply. As of right now when they leave the exhibition they have nothing to take home with them and are likely to forget what they saw. To change this we created an app that allows users to collect information that is spread across the campus and take it home with them.

Challenges

We wanted users to focus on the exhibition, not the app – our goal was to keep them from looking at there phone all the time. To pull this off all interactions and notifications had to be timed precisely and the amount of information had to be well balanced.

Process at the Exhibition

1/4 – One card informs the user about the process of applying.
2/4 – As the user approaches a project a card pops up. It’s not unlocked yet, but to spark a conversation some ideas for questions are shown.
3/4 – When the user leaves the project the card becomes unlocked: detailed information about the project and how it was created is available.
4/4 – The user can read the information on location or reflect on the things he saw when he arrives at home.

We present every piece of information as a card, which can be expanded to show more detail. When the user launches the app for the first time there is only one card. It explains the process of applying and is steadily updated to inform the user about the next due dates.

Each card is assigned to a specific place in the building. It only becomes visible in the app when the user approaches this place. That way, when the user scrolls through the cards he can revisit his personal path through the exhibition.

Design of the App

The first card displays an overview of the application process.

When you approach a certain spot the corresponding card appears in the app.

As you walk away the card becomes unlocked – you can take a look at its details now.

When you approach a project words that might inspire you to ask a question are shown.

The detail view explains the project and its process. Small interactive elements encourage the user to explore details of the project. You can leave notes to add your own thoughts.

Move your mouse over the hotspots to see the different parts of the app in action!

We tried to keep the structure for the app as simple as possible: There is no time to learn about the app, users need to be able to use it instantly when they arrive.

Process

It was extremely important to us to be able to actually test the location based idea of the app. I therefore got into iOS Development with Swift and coded an actual native prototype of the app. We used iBeacons from Estimate and learned a lot about how precise they are (less than you think) and how easy it to work with them (very).

Coding an actual iOS app is quite challenge, but nothing beats the speed and precision of a native prototype. Especially being able to access all native APIs is great. Writing a native prototype is not something that I would do for any project, but it’s definitely great if you want to use new technologies and be sure you are using them right.

My Role

My focus in this project was on concept development, process design and prototyping.

Meta

This is a student project created during summer semester 2015 as part of a course in Interactive Communication Systems by Prof. Jens Döring and Julia Stäbler.

Team partners

Nikolas Klein
Florian Ludwig

Links

Prototype on GitHub