The Nature of Interaction is a third-year undergraduate studio at the Academy of Art University that is cross-listed as a graduate elective course. Designed to help students realize that interaction is not always limited to the screen, this course provides students with the opportunity to build three deliverables of varying scales.
Over the course of a semester, students design and develop a campaign around a loose idea. They may choose between environmental game or voting categories, with "game" and "voting" loosely defined. Whichever direction they choose, they must design a small, medium, and large deliverable, presenting each as part of a larger branded campaign. At least one deliverable is required to be a mobile device application, such as an app or mobile website. But the other two deliverables may be digital, print, or environmental in nature—just so long as "interaction" lives at the core.
For example, they may decide to design a game that helps people with small bladders on long trips find restrooms without fear of... Well,.. You know. In this case, a student might design an app where like-minded clients can locate and rate restrooms in their vicinity. They might also design a kit for emergency situations, just in case clients find themselves in a tight situation. And they might design a series of billboards calling attention to upcoming opportunities. Three deliverables, three sizes, all tied to a central idea and brand.
Tally, by Erica Lucy, was a simple concept that actually worried me initially—a product that permitted people to vote on what they want to do. The audience was young professionals and middle-aged families. The original deliverable around which everything grew was a widget—one button on the mobile keyboard to let people vote. Like I said, I was worried.
The project grew, however, from a single key to an environmentally scaled interactive opportunity for people to vote on their own ideas as well as those of total strangers.
Breathe, by Tia DePriest, is an app and environmental series aimed at helping users find moments of calm to meditate in an active urban area. Final deliverables included the app, complete with maps, timers, and guided meditation screens, as well as billboards, dynamic environmental applications, and a yoga kit.
Freeze, by Cesar Coellar, is an app that lets players collect points by taking specific pictures at given locations. Mr. Coellar compared it to Pokeman GO!, but with photos instead of Pokeman. Deliverables included a mobile app for taking pictures on the go, a tablet app for organizing and promoting the images, and a convention where players could "play" with others.
OpenTab, by Walter Spengler, MFA, is a product that lets clients set up pub crawls, organize friends, and hire Uber or Lyft drivers to get them from place to place safely. The bulk of attention was focused on the mobile app, but a driver "drunk kit" (for passenger emergencies) and festival event was also developed.
queen city eats
QC eats, by Sydney Beaudin, lets clients vote on their favorite restaurants, activities, etc. in the Queen City of Regina. Deliverables here included an app where clients could officially vote, a series of printed materials to advertise the app, and a festival where all winning restaurants could celebrate their success.