Project IRL: Playful Co-Located Interactions with Mobile Augmented Reality
Research Engineer @ Snap Inc.
August 2021 - August 2022
How can technology support in-person interactions?
Tech is often criticized for being isolating or disrupting to our in-person experiences and most technologies are not explicitly designed to support in-person interactions. To address this, we built a suite of 10 Augmented Reality (AR) experiences using Lens Studio to encourage and support playful in-person interactions. I led the development, design, and launch of these experiences throughout my time at Snap. Try them out for yourself at letsplayirl.com!
These experiences piggyback off of existing behaviors, such as board games, and explore various device arrangements, input types, and interaction types. After collaborative brainstorming, we developed these lenses using Lens Studio and ran a user study with 100 participants. Through observation and informal interviews, we developed design guidelines to help inform future designs - more details can be found in our CSCW 2022 paper.
After collaborating with internal teams including sales and engineering teams, we were able to instrument these experiences and furthermore, gather and synthesize low-level interaction data from 1M+ users to inform iterations and inspire future designs.
We saw a dramatic increase in average playtime for our lenses compared to other Snapchat lenses.
One of the experiences, Feeture Films, involves two users sharing 1 phone and using their feet as the core enabler of the experience. It leverages Lens Studio’s foot-tracking ML system to let parents and kids practice storytelling together. The game augments the user’s feet with two fish, giving the illusion of a fishy sock puppet.
By using this device arrangement and encouraging users to sit next to one another while playing we observed user's interacting in new ways due to proxemics, communicating more to collaborate, and focusing more on each other rather than the technology.