Jodie Clothier

Social Play: Holoscreen


Holoscreen: Social Play

Re-purposing the Jane Foss Russell Courtyard using a combination of physical and digital interventions to create a multi-functional urban environment that promotes social play to help university students meet new people and make friends.

Timeline - 12 Weeks - 2017

Role: Project Manager, User Researcher and Visual Designer

Team: Jodie Clothier / Anthony Bucciarelli / Portia Greorgouras


Site Mapping

I visited the Jane Foss Russell Courtyard and immersed myself into the space, walking through it and discussing its qualities with my team members. Afterwards, I drew the boundaries, furniture and functional elements of the space before mapping the paths and flows of foot traffic and different spatial qualities on different layers of tracing paper. This allowed me to overlay them on top of each other so I could gain a clearer understanding how the space was being used over time, by multiple people and by individual users.




Whilst mapping the space I was also observing the users unobtrusively and studying their behaviour and actions. I did however return to the site on multiple occasions at different times of the day throughout the week to ensure a more complete understanding.  I gained invaluable data as the users were unaware they are being watched and as such acted normally which allowed me better understand their true needs and desires free from bias. 




I created a quick two minute questionnaire using likert scales to gather information about how University of Sydney students spend their free time on campus and their attitudes towards socialising. It was distributed to Architecture, Design and Planning Students and International House College Residents due to the proximity of their faculty building or accommodation to the Jane Foss Russell area. The questionnaire was useful in collating data from a large number of people, with 55 completed responses, to offer a general overview on the subject of social play on campus. 




I created a script for a semi-structured interview informed by the questionnaire results that would reveal more insights into the social needs of university students, their habits between classes and thoughts on social play. Each team member including myself would take the time to interview a participant using five set questions as a guideline but I encouraged us to 'probe' participants for extra information and follow up on interesting tangents. The flexibility of this user research tool allowed us to can gain deeper insight into the experiences of our users by letting the participants lead the conversations and highlighting what was important to them.


Affinity Diagramming


Using the transcripts from our interviews we began affinity diagramming by creating yellow post-its from quotes that expressed users interests, needs, issues and motivations. As a team we grouped these post-its by similarity and then labelled these groups with blue post-its written in the voice of the user. The next step was then arranging those blue post-it groups by similarities and labelling them with pink post-its, again in the voice of the user. This bottom up analysis allowed us to see the trends and patterns and easily define a set of compelling user needs. More time was then spent finalising these needs, determining their limitations and the requirements needed to fulfil them.




I created two fictional characters to represent typical users. These personas were created from a synthesis of data collected from the questionnaires and interviews. They highlight the most pertinent information to the design issue and allowed me to engage more completely with the user and become more empathetic. Personas are also very useful in troubleshooting issues later on in the design process and can be easily revisited at any point.




With our defined set of user needs in mind we began the ideation process and sketched a number of ideas initial concepts. Once we completed our sketches, we analysed each of the four potential ideas, drawing out positives, negatives and opportunities that these concepts could create. Then, we decided upon the concept that we thought would address the brief the most, and included parts that we liked from the other ideas, into the final concept to increase its fulfilment of user needs, wants and overall success. 


Initial Concepts


Final Concept




I created three sets of storyboards that demonstrated how the concept functioned in a variety of scenarios. These were annotated to clearly explain what was happening in each frame and the illustrations clearly depict specific features and how they fulfil the user needs. 




Within the problem site we drew out the plan of the interactive floor on the ground with chalk. We then began to act out the movement relevant to specific games we thought we could be implementing (Whack-a-mole, Twister, Pong etc.) and also discussed how users would be able to communicate or socialise whilst playing games. Through using our whole bodies to 'play' these games we were able to get a better understanding of the physicality of our concept and how that would impact how social the games were depending on the intensity of the activity.  




Our low-fidelity prototype consisted of a chalk mock-up of a screen on the ground of the Jane Foss Russell Courtyard. This was accompanied by a paper sign displaying a call to action and the four games available to play. Students passing by were reluctant to interact with our prototype without any prompting, although once we engaged them they became very interested. Although the general concept of the design was easily understood by users we found that users were both not familiar with the names of certain arcade games (either Pong, Whack-a-mole, Space Invaders, and Tic-Tac-Toe) or exactly how they would be played using a holographic floor installation. Thus opening paths of thought into how users will not always be familiar with specific gameplay.


User Evaluation


Through a combination of user observation and a short interview after testing our prototype I was able to collect some very useful user feedback critiquing our design. Many didn't understand how to interact with the design and were not familiar with all of the games such as "Pong". Others needed more incentive to play such as a prize or reward and were either too shy to approach the Holoscreen alone or disliked the openness of it. We also received a lot of positive feedback as well though with participants excited by the concept and the holographic element. 'Space Invaders' and 'Whack-A-Mole' were the favourite game choice and the retro, old school choices earned us brownie points for nostalgia value. Using the feedback we received informed out design revisions and allowed us to see what was working and what needed to be changed.


Design Proposal