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2017 Interaction Design

DES 483

PROFESSOR Axel Roesler


team: Natalie Lew, Andrea Kang, Logan Quinn, Lucas Webster, & Jane Yu


Facet is a project proposed for the Microsoft Hololens focused around the topic of youth and civic engagement. How Facet works as an immersive educational aid (aimed towards younger students) that promotes interest and conversation. The device is a pair of glasses that the student would wear outside of the classroom. The class instructors would assign homework to their student (find a clean water source, etc), and the glasses would project visuals for the corresponding information of how the processes work behind the subjects of their assigned homework.

Throughout this project, I served several roles such as ideation, research, storyboarding of the proposals and video.

Application of Mixed reality with the Hololens

The Microsoft Hololens offers the unique opportunity for designers to make use of physical spaces visualize information in a new, non-traditional manner. Much of today's UI design relies on text to convey information, so it's important to display information in a way that's both functional and innovative. 



What is MR and how is it different?

MR is unique in a way that it is neither AR nor VR. AR does not consider the environment the visuals are being projected on. A prime example of AR would be Pokemon GO. VR is having an entirely new environment being projected to you through (usually a headset). An example of this is the technology presented with the Oculus Rift. What is MR then? It takes the actual physical environment and has the visuals engage with  them. MR technology allows one to anchor objects to a specific location, and have them react to the space. 

When designing for MR:

  • feature subtle cues that incite action
  • use immersive visuals
  • dimensionality of interactions
  • use a responsive UI
Screenshot from the official Hololens website.

Screenshot from the official Hololens website.

Initial proposal

An interactive voting pamphlet

The purpose of this initial product was to educate the public about possible initiatives and proposals that are open for voting. In the situation projected in the storyboard below, the device uses geolocation tags for utilize public works notifications to inform passing users about the projects and what these policies could mean for the community as well as showing possible outcomes. A little later, our user is passing by the UW intellectual house where they happen to be discussing the policy he passed by earlier. He could then engage in the discussion and voice his opinion. This would allow the user to become more informed about their own community and possibly become more civically engaged.

Why it didn't work

  • Objectivity of information displayed is difficult
  • Difficult to predict the accurate outcomes of initiatives
  • Potential users are already civically engaged

final Proposal: 


Civic Engagement and the Hololens

  • Society is full of information connecting us to the world but isn't utilized enough
  • The way the information is displayed can be intimidating to those not familiar with the topics
  • Use of jargon can be offputting and make things difficult
  • Hololens makes difficult subjects relatable and easy to understand

In recent years, adolescents have been losing interest in their communities and civics as they are disinterested or disconnected. Therefore, it is important to foster these interests starting from a young age. What Facet provides is an entry point to a community through genuine interest and curiosity.  This is a tool aimed towards 4th-7th grade students, as this period of time is where the curriculum covers topics such as the environment (government, history, etc) deeper than the superficial level.

How the device works is a teacher would assign specific homework assignments (look for a water source near you) and the device would notify the user when encountering one. Once the device is equipped, it will prompt a conversation that teaches the student about the subject they are learning about, then connecting it to a topic that relates to their own community. The benefits of this device allow a student to experience a contextual education, bringing facts from their environment and applying them to their own lessons. 


Younger gradeschool students - (4th-7th grade)

Civic engagement needs to start at a young age. It's important to foster and encourage this behavior starting from a young age. 

Adolescents typically feel disconnected or disinterested in civics as it seems like a distant topic that doesn't directly affect them. Using the Hololens allows the students to see civic engagement as a more interactive learning experience that could possibly facilitate action and conversation.


At this age, students are starting to learn about civics at a deeper level. These students are covering topics such as:

  • environment
  • government
  • economy


  • Civic engagement rates are extremely low within the younger generation
  • Proper, long-lasting engagement must start at a young age
  • The disconnection between people
  • Technology used to promote interaction and engagement
  • Children using technology in school of any medium
  • Rise of AR technology used within the educational environment 

Key Attributes


Final deliverable

It was decided to use a low poly aesthetic as it has a playful tone that translates well to younger age groups. The low poly approach also simplifies the visualizations as some of the subjects presented can be more complicated to understand. 


glasses projection-01.png

A pair of normal looking glasses integrated with:

  • Conversational UI
  • Gesture recognition
  • voice recognition

Moving forward...

Due to time constraints and conflict of interest, there were many other attributes that I wanted to explore and implement. With Facet as it currently is, it very much is just an educational aid. While the core content is still the same, the delivery and engagement was the main attribute I wanted to change.

The main changes I wished to make were to add elements of gamification, immersion, and fun to keep the student engaged once they start. Because the intended users are younger children, it would be a waste to not take advantage of the graphic possibilities the Hololens provides. Instead of small scale visualizations, it’s important to bring surprises and elements of visual interest.

Personally speaking, in grade school, I lost interest in subjects quickly and a "cool new tech" is great to spark interest, it's important to consider the future of the child's engagement and how to keep them interested. Therefore, it's important to utilize the characteristics of curiosity and surprise to make the information refreshing. 

Preliminary sketches


Because the audience is aimed towards younger students, it’s important to add elements of interest to keep the child engaged in the experience. That’s where gamification comes in. Flint would provide incentives to promote discussion within class of the material learned. For example, a student would be challenged to find different water sources, but the more that they find, the larger the prize. The incentive could be anything from points to stickers on a class wall ranking board.

Some elements of games that may be used to motivate learners and facilitate learning include:

  • Progress mechanics (points/badges/leaderboards, or PBL's)
  • Narrative
  • Player control
  • Immediate feedback
  • Opportunities for collaborative problem solving
  • Scaffolded learning with increasing challenges
  • Opportunities for mastery, and leveling up
  • Social connection
  • Fun
  • Challenges
  • Music



Inspiration: Magic Leap

During the secondary research phase, I came across Magic Leap which is another MR device that's currently being developed (as of march 2017). After watching their demo videos, I was completely entranced by their use of scale and stunning, yet realistic visuals. I wanted to be able to convey this same visual language into this project rather than the low-poly aesthetic that was used later on.