Enriching the Tour Experience

Max Stockdale
9 min readSep 29, 2021

Mixed reality campus tour

What will technology be like in 10 years?

Project Background:

  • Client: Carnegie Mellon University
  • Target audience: Prospective students and their families
  • research and development in wearable mixed reality devices
  • blending real world and virtual to create hybrid experiences
  • Current tours are very broad and limited info

Questions to Consider?

  • What information about CMU and the surrounding neighborhoods is currently available and in what media?
  • What are the affordances of augmented reality? What happens when you move beyond a flat screen into full 3D digital artifacts situated in place?
  • 3D physical objects, furniture, display cases/student work, etc. added to the environment to improve the interaction? How does our physical environment impact how we use digital devices?
  • What are key stories that need to be told about CMU and the area? How should this information be delivered?
  • What information is each type of user hoping to learn through the tour?
  • What are the current identity guidelines for CMU and how can your design relate?


  • develop an autonomous augmented reality tour
  • explores campus and surrounding community(vital parts of the CMU experience)
  • work in teams to brainstorm, conceptualize, and prototype
  • tell stories, convey user info, and delight users

Skills and Deliverables:

  • Documenting and analyzing existing physical space
  • Personas
  • Low-fi AR prototyping
  • Adobe Aero and/or Reality Composer
  • Sketch videos
  • Adobe Illustrator mock-ups
  • Adobe AfterEffects

In-class presentation that includes: Who, What, Why

“Sketch” video that shows your concept from the perspective of a user

Sep. 28

— Personas —

  1. Jennifer Rodriguez
  • junior in high school(17 years old, female)
  • hometown: New Jersey
  • interests(STEM, drama)-overall broad interests
  • looking to narrow down her choices
  • figuring out major(lots of academic questions)
  • activities: drama club/cast; hispanic student organization, auditioning
  • introvert(feels uncomfortable asking questions in large settings)

2. Ben Lam

  • international student from Singapore
  • Sophomore in high school(16 years old, male)
  • joining pre-college
  • focused major: CS or architecture
  • just arrived on campus(wants to learn more about food, buildings, access, and rooms)
  • sports- soccer team/intramural sports
  • curious about Greek life on campus
  • cultural organizations
  • extrovert(very social and looking to join a lot of clubs)

3. Carol Taylor

  • mother of Ethan(incoming first year in Tepper)
  • 50 years old
  • bachelor’s degree in marketing
  • works for a mid-sized marketing consultancy
  • middle class(income supports tuition)-not concerned about the cost
  • concerns: safety + job placement after college, average salary?
  • hometown: Pittsburgh
  • looking into dorm + business clubs for her son to join

Sep. 29

Initial Ideas:

  • focus more on off campus experiences
  • tour of CMU iconic spots
  • interactive experience: auditory, visuals, touch
  • Schenley(flagstaff), museums, scenic views
  • experience flagstaff at any time of day(weather?)
  • games + scavenger hunts to create a more enriching experience
  • constellation mapping at flagstaff
  • scan specific spots and receive points(goal to get a certain number of points)
  • apps to scan the environment

One thing from my experience of the campus tour, you really only get to experience the inside of a couple buildings and only get to see a specific section of the life of a CMU student. It might be interesting to allow visitors to experience CMU at different times of the year(different fence, buggy, carnival, student activities, concerts, crafts, sporting events)

Sep. 30

Crit. notes:

  • narrow down ideas

Oct. 4

Flagstaff Hill(research)-off campus location ideas

This popular landmark, directly opposite Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, attracts visitors year-round who enjoy its panoramic views of the Oakland neighborhood and city skyline. Project goals are to preserve the site’s historic integrity, improve its ecological health, and increase its use. A chief component is restoring the historic hand-hewn stone entry steps, retaining walls, and overlook terrace. The project also addresses pedestrian barriers by reconstructing the seriously deteriorated main path connecting the site’s east and west entrances where new gardens will be created. New benches along the path will help to revive Flagstaff’s popularity as a spot for enjoying Pittsburgh’s skyline. In addition, the overlook terrace will be repaved with stone dust to improve its use as a space for individuals and small groups.

The project also reinterprets the historic 1930s azalea garden as a woodland garden using a sustainable native plant palette, including azaleas. This approach will extend throughout the wooded areas to benefit what is today an ecologically unhealthy green space, its lack of understory plantings creating a stormwater runoff and erosion problem. New shrubs and ground covers will limit further erosion while taking up water and slowing its flows downslope.

Single Stop Tour


  • music, art, artchitecture
  • auditory component of those spaces(violin, guitar, drums)
  • voice assistant(voice navigation with disabilities)
  • scavenger hunt(famous spots)-painting and sculptures in main part of CFA)
  • gesture starts the music
  • summer tours- prospective students get a feel for real campus life
  • re create the pose of the sculptures
  • architectural sculptures
  • immersive experience without affecting people around you
  • attaching a microphone to the side of the glasses


Above we included a link to the bagpipes we recorded on campus. We are planning to include this in the beginning of the tour with the intro and possibly at the end of the tour as well.

Overview of Tour(Storyboard)

Diagram walk through

Self Reflection: As the prevalence of digital media in our physical environments increases daily, what is the role and/or responsibility of designers in shaping our environments?

As technology takes a larger role in our life, we as designers need to make sure it is not used as a distraction. Separating the physical and virtual world creates this disconnect that takes away from the environment and makes these meaningless interactions. Being able to enhance the environment rather than dampening allows people to have more engaged and meaningful experiences within the space.


  • 10 years into the future, everyone might have these glasses(sync info from app on phone)
  • the idea of loaner glasses for people that might not have them
  • get some ideas about fixed labels and labels moving within the space
  • how does the Scottie dog respond to the questions?
  • get as much info into 1 tour as possible(people will not want to do the tour multiple times)
  • distance of interactions within the space
  • how are family glasses connected?


1- what is the problem? goal(what?)

2- research + discussion(who?)

3- diagram of system + devices(components, where is info stored?)

4- sketch video(stills with short clips): 1–2 minutes

5- explain

6- summary(how did you answer the question)


  • take videos and stills inside CFA
  • start working on after effects
  • overview of campus w/ starting points
  • off campus location w/ flagstaff overview

Why are we focusing on the audio?

1-considering the tour during summer, therefore not as much will be going on; we want prospective students to be able to have a similar experience to those visiting in fall/spring

2-bring out the emotion, personality, and feelings of the students and their experience as a CMU student; how do they feel in CFA compared to Tepper?/ can you show the personality of a space?

Opening interaction:

-put on glasses

-airpod noise activates and lets the user know you are connected

-proximity sensors that start the interaction when glasses are on/pauses when the glasses are off

-wake up screen with wave

-unlock screen with swipe gesture

-welcome + introduction to CMU+Scotty

First interaction:

-blue path shows up when you exit the Cohon center

-this path takes you to the “Walking to the Sky” sculpture to begin tour

-learn the simple gestures(mimic gesture on the screen and that will give you the green light/thumbs up and take you to the next one)


1-swipe left to right

2-pinch and drag

3- circle

4-push a button


6- looking down

7-double tap on take an pic

(Possibly more)

-complete all gestures + introduction to virtual assistant(Scotty)

-Scotty takes the user to the next destination on the tour

-auditory sensors around campus(bagpipes near the cut, tennis courts, band, students outside playing frisbee, spikeball, volleyball, soccer)

Ideas for Diagram:



-Mixed reality glasses(10 years in the future, we expect everyone to have these glasses, but there will be an option to pick up loaned glasses in the UC)

-location tracks glasses throughout the campus(proximity sensors around campus to activate different auditory aspects)

-Glasses will sync with your phone through the CMU tour app(ability to sync with family and friends, save Q & A, records short videos and take pics)

-Save images to drive/photos, questions and answers saved to drive/notes

Physical: Phone, MR glasses, proximity/motion sensors,

Tech: cloud storage(drive, photos, notes), touch phone to glasses to pair

CFA interaction:

Script: Now we are outside the College of Fine Arts. It was built in 1916 and the cornerstone was actually laid by Andrew Carnegie himself. This can be seen on the northwest side of the building(arrow guide and the cornerstone lights up). With the focus on art, architecture, design, drama, and music

1: walking up to CFA, locator pops ups

2: click on info for a brief description

3: option to send article about the building/history to phone to read later

4: enter building and music begins playing

5: look around the main hallway while Scotty gives a brief description(third to first person)

6: imply more info through additional labels

7: stand on circle to interaction with the space

8: interaction inside the corridor(experiencing different instruments; hand on wall? /first person)

9: voice control takes user to next location(Scotty barks)

Indoor guide resources:



Self Reflection

How were the skills you developed in the first project similar and/or different from the second project? What is your understanding of the role of an Environments designer?

  • first project was focused on real world with some digital aspects; confined environ; using specific software and materials to convey certain ideas
  • approach to prototyping was different(physical + CAD model); communicate ideas
  • second project: relying on digital tools like after effects, adobe aero, and illustrator; decide on the space and the interactions; given the option to use after effects or adobe aero(what is the best medium to convey our ideas)
  • first project: multiple components; this project: video is the most important to communicate ideas
  • aspect of individual vs. group work(exchange of ideas, narrowing down broader ideas, getting more work done in a shorter amount of time,

Challenges: coming up with a low-fi prototype(time constraint, difficult to imagine the actual application), filming the right shots to best portray the information, what to include vs. exclude(video + overall tour) — ex: taking out the scavenger hunt(possibly too much info; what interaction do we want to focus on?)

role of environments designer:

creating a meaningful experience and telling a story; first: floor plan, second: built environ; designing with the built world in mind; environ design is about assisting people to navigate in a space without too much distraction/without pulling away from reality and creating something new

  • research about potential users and consider experience within the space
  • second: considering accessibility in both physical and digital spaces

designing with a purpose; based on reality

thinking about design, just consider visual aspects

environ takes into account all the senses(including the auditory interaction)

Figma Link :