GEICO Explore: An Augmented Reality Challenge
The Goal: Create an engaging experience that will cause people to come back to the app using AR.
Note: Due to this being an ongoing project and out of respect for the intellectual property of GEICO, I'm not publicsing the ideation results, the wireframes, or the proof of concept.
When we started this project, ARKit had just come out, so there weren't that many apps that used it. We still went through all of the ones we could find and looked at how they handled interactions, what kind of iconography they were using.
We also started looking at what we could do that would leverage our unique position and be on brand. This was also the point where the developers started researching what it would take to put AR into the app (and thus not splitting our brand).
I was tasked with coming up with the proposals, and making sure it made sense in the app. I led an ideation session with our group to get ideas down to help with this process. I narrowed down the options to 3 versions, one being a pure entertainment play, one being a pure utilitarian option and one being a handy option.
Proof of Concept:
For the proof of concept, we kept the options in mind and wanted to now show our management what was possible. We settled on 3 demos that would show our management some of the technology available that would help us for the 3 possible solutions.
We showed examples of geo-locations, object recognition of a logo, and object recognition of a live object (cat, dog, human). We kept the app simple, but still demonstrated the technology.
Minimum Viable Product:
We narrowed down our scope to something we thought would be useful, could be done in our app, and would help us learn the technology better.
I drafted up a flow coming from our app into the experience and then mapped out the flow through the experience. I created really rough wireframes that the developers used to help build their framework while I dove into the UI.
Because AR was so new, a lot of what I was doing was thinking through the process to figure out what I thought the best practice was for the flow. Many of my co-workers that were not on the project became my test subjects as I tried different concepts.
Finally, we had a concept that our developers built out, put metrics around and released it to the public. We did a soft launch but still had a decent number of people exploring the app.
We got feedback as to the orientation that they were using the app in, as well as what features they were using. All of that feedback went into the interface redesign.
Once started adding features to GEICO Explore, we knew the current UI wasn't as intuitive as it could have been. Plus we now wanted to put more than one type of thing on the screen at a time. We went through many iterations of menu types, trying to find a balance between interesting, useful, and intuitive. And so the arc menu was born.
We simplified the layout, moved the buttons to the bottom of the screen for easy access for the thumbs and moved things you don't need to tap to the top of the screen (like the logo and messaging).