Congrats to Gaurav Chandwani!

In late May 2014, Gaurav Chandwani, successfully defending his MS IST Capstone at GCCIS Rochester Institute of Technology.  Gaurav was a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) working under two grants, NYSCA’s Mobile Experiences for Tourism Project and RIT’s Brick City Tours. Not only did Gaurav play a major role in developing front end interfaces, but he also help mentor newer GRAs as they joined the Blended Interactions Studio. Gaurav’s capstone is a combination of Information Sciences (e.g. front end iOS programming) and Human Computer Interaction (e.g. evaluation/usability testing). The summation of his MS capstone is a great example of Mobile User Experience Design.

Collaborative system to share pictures among groups for souvenir generation

Collaborative photo sharing while visiting designations can be problematic for the visitors. Sometimes the best photo is on another person’s device. This MS IST/HCI capstone developed, designed and evaluated a mobile application prototype to explore location-based photo sharing for souvenir generation at heritage designations. Using user centered design methods, the application and its content catered to visitors on the Rochester Institute of Technology’s campus. Application modules were developed to easily sync group photo collections together while friends were on a tour together. After the tour was complete, digital photo souvenirs were created to represent the group visit. Evaluations concluded that although automatic photo sharing was very positive utilitarian approach to group photo-sharing, the aesthetics of the souvenir prototype needed more iteration to represent the destination rather the group’s activities alone.

Schoolchildren Designing Mobile Visitor Experiences

On April 3rd 2014, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) faculty and students, with a history specialist from Genesee Country Village & Museum (GCVM) met at Allendale Columbia School to teach Interaction Design methods to schoolchildren. The students were also introduced to basic principles of production assets and evaluation methods. These methods will be covered in later workshops in April and May of 2014.

The goal of this workshop was to teach schoolchildren strategic Interaction Design methods to curate physical locations with digital content. These principles are similar to what RIT MS Human Computer Interaction students learn. All students were tasked with creating a contextual wrapper around why a visitor would go from location to location at a heritage destination. These wrappers, or Heritage Stories, enabled students to balance and consider properties of physical locations e.g. 19th century buildings, artifacts etc., with digital technologies, e.g. geo-fences, augmented reality etc., to create new mixed reality experiences for visitors at GCVM. The historical specialist from GCVM was able to provide key insights into 19th culture and customs, which gave the Heritage Stories historical accuracy. At the end of the workshop, student groups presented their Heritage Story scripts/storyboards, strategically detailing why a visitor would go from location to location to learn about 19th century living, while reinforcing 21st  century morals.


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