lim jia sheng,

.Experiential Design

project[1]: Proposal


  • Find an idea for an AR experience relating to education
  • Create a proposal


Starting fresh, I needed to come up with something to educate some people. After some sitting & silence, I thought of how cards could sort of resemble tokens being parsed as syntax. They could thus help people intending to learn certain syntaxes to get the hang more easily.

I started out by first just getting the regular researchy bits out the way, like writing a problem statement, doing competitor analysis, demographic narrowing, current & proposed journey maps, as well as of course, the name — "totally not coding".

Before jumping into visualising the idea, it seemed pretty important to many who've done this project in the past to focus on some of the branding stuff first, I guess to keep consistency. I went through that too. The only not-very-boring this here was my decision to depart from the current UI trends & instead go with a "glow UI" theme. This is due to both the need to have interactive elements be at least slightly skeumorphic to match the AR concept, as well as the need to have something fun & stimulating for the persons at the younger end of the target demographic. Besides that, the logo was also an aspect with some thought put into it, with the main goal of combining cards in a way that sorta represents what was being taught.

Logo inside illustrator, 5/5/2022

Figure 1.1.1, Logo inside illustrator, 5/5/2022

Then to visualise the idea, roughly building out what the AR app would look like in Adobe XD, which would let me know what I'd need to actually visualise AR-ly, as well as the assets I'd need to prepare. The latter became obvious pretty quickly — graphics for the cards. I quickly whipped something up that was vibrant & hopefully Vuforia-satisfying in Illustrator:


Figure 1.1.2, image-20220527180247706

After having the cards, I needed an environment to put them in. Not wanting to print & cut each card, I instead went with the route of rendering the space in 3D. After yanking enough models off BlenderKit to saturate a broadband connection, I arranged them, well enough, around to make a living-room-looking-space.

Living room space arranged in Blender, 6/5/2022

Figure 1.1.3, Living room space arranged in Blender, 6/5/2022

Yeah, the TV's going through the shelves & the plant's growing through curtains, sue me. Oh yeah, & among us. The cards were placed on the coffee table & a few sorta convincing renders were made.

  • 0001
  • 0003

Figure 1.1.6, My two favourite renders coming from the scene.

These renders were then placed & wrapped up in the XD mockup.

Totally not coding mockup in Adobe XD's Prototype view, 6/5/2022

Figure 1.1.7, Totally not coding mockup in Adobe XD's Prototype view, 6/5/2022

Interactive totally not coding mockup

All good & dandy, so I set up a meet with Mr. Razif to see if I was headed in the right direction. God damn I was not, as his feedback would indicate. This would require quite some reworking, so I was back at the drawing board. Instead of teaching syntax, perhaps I could teach just a few concepts of coding, through a small game that would live along side the cards as they were placed.

That idea would form the basis of the next idea — "walking buddies". The concept would be the cards control a player alongside two buddies, each with different terrain restrictions, with the end goal of reaching the end of a level.

I started by planning everything first this time, like a sane person.

Notes writen in the pasteboard of the XD file, 12/5/2022

Figure 1.1.8, Notes writen in the pasteboard of the XD file, 12/5/2022

The first thing I did from here was the level, as it was a dependency of all subsequent visualisation renders.

Level made in Blender 12/5/2022

Figure 1.1.9, Level made in Blender 12/5/2022

Another dependency to get rid of were the buddies themselves, well...

Buddies made in Blender 12/5/2022

Figure 1.1.10, Buddies made in Blender 12/5/2022

Not the most glorious, but hey, it's for children + it's a prototype, right?

It was at this point I realised that I needed to completely redesign the cards as well. Just thinking took quite a bit, but eventually I came up with overall how they would work, & even had a better idea on how I could make them Vuforia proof.

Cards made in After Effects, 12/5/2022

Figure 1.1.11, Cards made in After Effects, 12/5/2022

The idea — "Fractal noise" + "S_CartoonPaint" — which actually worked!

Cards in Vuforia's developer portal, 24/5/2022

Figure 1.1.12, Cards in Vuforia's developer portal, 24/5/2022

After all that, I basically remade the XD mockup with all the new shenanigans, & behold:

Walking buddies mockup in Adobe XD's Prototype view, 13/5/2022

Figure 1.1.13, Walking buddies mockup in Adobe XD's Prototype view, 13/5/2022

Interactive walking buddies mockup


  • 9/5/2022
    • Teaching syntax is "dry"
    • There's an over-reliance on button & non-AR elements
    • Needs a feeling of instant gratification, where something the user does causes something
    • Some gamification might help
  • 12/5/2022
    • Much better idea
    • Technically, the new idea might be much harder to execute, need to prototype & pull back when worst comes to worst


Figure 1.2.1, Final proposal, 24/5/2022


A relatively interesting experience, with a relatively slow start. A lot of learning really relied on referring to senior work, which has its pros & cons. Other than that, needing to basically revamp a whole idea within a short amount of time was not very pleasant, but I guess necessary, however much of a bummer that is.

The main thing I took away from this project was the requirement for the requirement for AR when using AR. No that's not a typo, I mean how you should only use AR when it is the best choice, or when there are no other choices, instead of having it just be a gimmick. It really is super easy to use AR gimmick-ally, but most of the time it generates really crappy results, which should be avoided.

At the end of the day, along with that main takeaway, the practical knowledge added on as well as just the raw experience will definitely raise the output quality of whatever future AR project I tackle.