donderdag 29 mei 2014

Developing a spatial interface

Smart Replicas – Developing a spatial interface
In developing SmartReplicas, the first set of design questions we need to address here at LikeFriends is about the way we organise and explore information in three dimensions. How do users interact with information? How do real world elements interact with the virtual ones? How do we balance the dramatic strength of linear narration with the playfulness of exploration?
There's a couple of design principles that we're currently investigating in order to make sense of this:

With the shift from desktop to mobile, interfaces had to shrink considerably. Less room on a 'page' ment lots more pages and highly fragmented information. Applying a system of hard cuts from one screen to another would leave users disoriented as to where they were, where they came from, and how to get back there. To address this problem of disjointed screens, the majority of mobile interfaces now use visual clues as to how information is related. The menu is 'underneath' the content. Series of screens are laid out next to each other, giving the user a spatial grasp of the information hierarchy.
Simulating what we're used to in the real world, digital information in these interfaces is continuous. Everything is 'always there'. A comforting idea that helps us navigate and understand hierarchies of information. Animation, often only considered as a means to add shine, is crucial in this. Little shifts, zooms, fades and transitions tell the user how things are related to each other.
With SmartReplicas, we're bringing out the stories and information embedded in the object. We aim to use this as a guiding visual principle. Nothing should ever appear out of thin air, everything should have a place that it came from and will go back to. Here's a test of AR fortresses popping up from physical map. (And a shark. That's what that is.)

SR Animation test from likefriends on Vimeo.

Since we use mobile devices' cameras to look at SmartReplicas, it makes sense to consider the device itself the main means of navigation. So what if looking at something from a different angle visually gives you a different angle contextually? Here's a simple test of what we're calling different 'stages', seen from different angles:

One things that we were sure we didn't want to do from the start is to build a 3D website. Websites are extremely good at what they do and adding a 3rd dimension will not add anything but will just hinder the interaction people are used to. With SmartReplicas we'll have a lot of elements to show that are 2D in nature paintings, photography, illustrations. Trying to look at those while they're hovering in 3D space is not an effective way of seeing these images. To address this we're looking at combining a 3D interface with a 2D layer on top. Applying the idea of continuity then means that things will have to move from 3D space to 2D space and back againg. Here's a little black cube making that jump:

Since we didn't want to build a 3D website, we decided we shouldn't have buttons in 3D – just content. Tapping a piece of content can trigger that object to 'do' something, ie. animate to another state or change shape. Here's the map again, showing the route from the orient back to Amsterdam. Tapping the boat triggers an animation with a voice over:

If we have an object based interface without buttons, how do users know what they can do with it? How does an object signal to the user what is has to offer? We'd like users to navigate the stage with their camera. Elements that move into focus should then give users a cue. Tapping the object triggers its action for the user to watch. The objects are the decor but also the actors on the stage, and the user can tell them to act out their parts of the story. Here's a test of how interaction cues could work. Looking at an object activates it. Resting on it for a bit longer triggers a textual cue as to what you can expect when you tap the object.

dinsdag 27 mei 2014

Discovered in Delft, a collection of cups on show in Museum Prinsenhof Delft

The first edition of Smart replicas, Discovered in Delft, a collection of cups is part of the newly opened Museum Prinsenhof Delft. The four porcelain cups and the design process are on display in the section: The future of ceramics.

The Museum has been opened by King Willem Alexander on may 23th and is now open for those interested in Delft, ceramics, innovation and national history.

about Discovered in Delft, a collection of cups:
visit Museum Prinsenhof Delft:

17th century Nodular cup

Discoverd in Delft, a collection of cups

maandag 26 mei 2014

donderdag 15 mei 2014

Smart replicas is teaming up with LikeFriends!

Studio Maaike Roozenburg is pleased and honoured to announce a new partner joining the
Smart Replicas team: creative agency LikeFriends. Their expertise in bringing digital
content to life will be of significant importance in making replicas truly ‘smart’. Creative
Director Jasper Mittelmeijer: “We love this idea of using technology to turn the museum
inside-out: making historical objects and their stories break through the museum walls and
back into everyday life.”

LikeFriends will strengthen the interdisciplinary team of Studio Maaike Roozenburg,
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Delfts Technical University and the AR(Lab) of the Royal
Academy of Arts. With the addition of LikeFriends we’re bridging the gap between
museological heritage and science and the commercial creative industry.

The team at LikeFriends will focus on information architecture and interface design for the
new prototype we’re creating. This prototype will consist of a fully AR powered Smart
replica of a beautiful 17th century teacup, ordered from Japan by the then mayor of
Amsterdam. A magnificent example of Asian-European trade, packed with stories of
mystical Japanse porcelain, sea voyages and extravagant tea parties.
If you’d like to get involved or want to follow the process of examining and constructing
this new Smart replica please check:

dinsdag 13 mei 2014

Smart replicas in boek: Printing Things: Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing

Smart replicas en haar proces zijn opgenomen in het boek: Printing Things: Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing. van uitgeverij Gestalten.
Printing Things: Visions and Essentials for 3D printing

3D scnannen/3D printen en AR samen met conservator Alexandra van Dongen