On November 26th I had the wonderful opportunity to represent RedBit and participate in the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) Design Slam held at the Mozilla office in downtown Toronto. The event was held as a way for industry professionals and newcomers to network and work together on a specific design challenge that was put together but the IxDA coordinators.
Participants were broken up into 5 – 6 member teams and given a brief in which each teams were to develop a presentable solution to after 90 mins of work time, which would later be assessed by a panel of judges. Our brief was to develop a social media application that could be incorporated to wearable technology roughly 5 years into the future. The overall goal was to develop a user experience that would be easily adopted, memorable and push current concepts used in social media applications today to a higher level.
After about 30 minutes of throwing ideas around and lots of sketches, our team arrived on an idea that we all agreed would work. We concluded (and later discovered many other teams felt the same way) that current social media applications can create a sense of isolation in larger social settings and needed something that helped users rediscover and interact with real space, opposed to just interacting via apps like facebook and twitter. With this concept in mind, each member of our group was given 10 minutes to themselves to sketch/brainstorm specific features of the app, after which we each presented our ideas to the group, discussed what we all like and solidified an application and use case scenario.
The application we proposed (which was dubbed “Proximity”) would be a form of augmented reality that allowed users to geo-tag locations with photo/video or text messages that would be accessed when friends or followers of the creator visited these locations. Although the app could be deployed on any smart technology, we envisioned the app working on Google Glass type technology with head mounted cameras and images projected to the users eyes. Creators of content would be dubbed “leaders” and friends visiting the locations would be called “followers” , the option to “lead” or “follow” would be available to users at anytime.
This “lead/follow” concept opened a number of interesting ideas. For example, say there is an exclusive launch event for an upcoming video game. Organizers can tag a location and give clues via video/image messages that help the users find the next location, creating a treasure hunt type game that would lead to the event location. Ultimately the application would help transform locations by adding a layer of user generated experiences, bringing social media into the physical world.
Although all teams had excellent ideas, our team placed 2nd out of 12 teams and our idea was very well received by the judges. Of course the point of the night was not to win but to explore ideas of future tech and meet other talented members of the design and development community.