Reimagining Campus Tours: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Timeline: 4 weeks

Team: Emily Liu ︎︎︎

︎︎︎ AR/MR
︎︎︎ UI/UX
︎︎︎ Adobe AfterEffects
︎︎︎ Adobe Aero

Task: Develop augmented reality technology to enhance the user experience of campus tours. Our goal was to tell stories, convey useful information and delight users.

Prospective students and families that visit Carnegie Mellon University can currently take a student-led, general campus tour. If they aren’t able or don’t wish to take one of these tours, there is a static Walking Tour Map that they can download and use to guide them around campus.

As Emily and I began deciding how we wanted our tour to feel, we took issue with the fact that many tours focus on stats of the school, rather than a diverse honest experience throughout the year. We also thought about how sentimental yet daunting campus tours could be. 

How did we do it?

We fulfilled this by designing a tour focused around personal memories and stories of past CMU members, by creating an interaction where visitors can travel through time in the school year, and by incorporating an assistive feature to share moments of the tour.

We believe this still encourages visitors to explore and travel campus, but with self-discovery and autonomy. It garners anticipation and excitement for the possibility of calling CMU home, all throughout the year. Through sharing the memory, it extends the experience past just that of the visitor by extending into a conversation in the future about this memory with others back at home.

Avoiding a future in dystopian AR

While analyzing the current designs and intentions of Hololens and other AR technologies, we speculated on what design elements would “last” based on our definitions of good design. Personally, we doubted a lot of the “touch” elements because of the dissatisfaction of touch interactions lacking actual tactile reward.

When critiquing futuristic, dystopian-looking technologies, points often brought up are about the disconnect people have from each other and their environment or focus on productivity in the perspective of perpetuating capitalism. Overall, there is a disconnect from our own human-ness, taking out of reality what is actually real, the things that are already placed right in front of our eyes.

Which is why we decided to center our tour around supplementing, and making us more aware of what the world already has to offer. The interactions are playful, airy, and natural. Symbols like books and coffee cups serve to increase immersiveness in the story, and student profiles aid in memorability with an added visual element. The profile is also still within the frame of the hololens, so that the wearer gets to “discover” or find them in their view, and therefore feels the curiosity to look around more

To explore our process for this project, click here

Updated January 2024