Prototyping spatial user experiences, keynote at IA Konferenz 2018

Holistically prototyping & testing future user experiences in VR at this year's information architecture conference in Berlin
On June 8, our design lead Isabell Fringer and creative technologist Gregor Finger held the keynote at IA Konferenz about using VR as a prototyping method to gather a deeper understanding of user behavior. This insight, collected during a project we worked on with a client in the public transportation sector, enabled them to understand and communicate user needs to stakeholders.

The current shift in mobility towards on-demand and shared services, driven by autonomous, networked, electrically-powered vehicles, is placing all players in the mobility market under pressure to respond to the profound changes. One of the biggest challenges automakers, mass transit companies and the like are faced with, is how to ensure a seamless, high-quality customer experience across all modes of transport.

In conceptualizing and designing a future underground station, Isabell and Gregor talked at this year's IA Konferenz about how they were tasked with finding how to best offer such a seamless experience. With the passenger information system at the core of this, they decided to use a VR prototype as a user testing method to ensure that complex navigation and information concepts would be user-centered.

In using immersive technologies like VR, we move away from abstract assumptions of how a user could think, feel or act in a certain context, and can instead work with actual user interactions and movements. This allows us to build an accurate service more closely aligned with user needs.

VR allowed them to systematically test the comprehensive service experience of a station. They were able to walk users through the station and analyze their movements and behavior. This insight created a comprehensive basis for the criteria and requirements for the passenger information system.

Following the presentation, conference participants were able to test the VR prototype for themselves.