Project: Create is the result of ardent dedication and love from a group of developers that came together to craft an experience to put a smile on peoples faces! This project was Magic Leap Studios’ premier flagship first-party app, released on August 8th 2018 along the company’s initial hardware, the Magic Leap One.
The primary goal of this experience was to provide an accessible entry-point to the possibility space of Spatial Computing. To do this, we decided to develop a whimsical physics-based playground, which empowered creators and non-tech savvy people alike to safely explore and experience the premise of Spatial Computing: A platform where the virtual content understands and respects the physical world.
In 2019, Project: Create won the Auggie award for Best Game or Toy.
INTRODUCING A UX FRAMEWORK
At the time we started the development of this project, UX frameworks within the Studio weren’t being considered as part of the development process, there was familiarity with QA processes since many of us came from a game dev background, however QA focused more on identifying and reporting software errors (bugs) which needed to meet technical release criteria, and were not necessarily based around a user centric approach .
As the only designer in the group with a UX background, I took it upon myself to champion a basic framework into the project’s pipeline. Among many things, I wanted to formalize user testing cycles to help us gain valuable user-centric insights, thus informing the iteration process with the user at the core of the experience.
Due to strict NDAs and company policies, we were not able to enlist test subjects form outside the company. This gave us the opportunity to reach out to multiple internal departments, who were extremely eager to participate as testing volunteers.
This initiative proved out to be invaluable in the long run, it helped the Studio gain insights into the perception of different user-types who were not content developers, while also showcasing the work we were doing in our department to other groups. We were able to identify several friction points and refine the experience so that expectations were met for a wider and diverse audience, thus making the final product intuitive, safe to explore, and very fun to experiment around with.
To gather user feedback we would first put out a call for internal participants to volunteer for undisclosed testing sessions. Next, we would bring them in and ask them to play with the features we were interested in receiving input for, all participants were encouraged to think-out-loud with candor, after the session was over we would conduct a series of interviews followed by a final post-test survey they could fill out anonymously, the data was then analyzed and used to better inform next steps on the iterative cycle.
DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE
The challenges the team faced throughout the development of the project tested every single one of us, we had to learn (and unlearn) how to build performant interactive content for a new platform, which was being built in parallel as we iterated along.
Working on this project allowed me to grow tremendously as a designer, I was given the opportunity to lead design thinking on all fronts, ranging from Game Design, all the way through UI, UX and IxD. It has been some of the most exciting and rewarding work I have ever done, allowing me to discover what I like to call “the beginning building blocks” for interactive Spatial Design.
If you’re interested in reading more about my process and contributions please check out the following case studies where I go into more detail about how we built critical components for this experience.