An AR entertainment platform where social, gaming, and content creation come together.
UX Designer in a team of three designers
Sofia Dellera (UX/UI Designer), Jason H (AI Research Engineer), Sam Weaks (Developer), Annie Keogh (Graphic Designer), Tara Reddy (Product Owner), Jamie Davies (Creative Director)
Pen & Paper, Sketch, Principle, Invision, Marvel, Final Cut Pro
This project was incredibly organic in how it started. During my time at Blippar myself and another Product Designer were tasked with thinking about what the next phase of the Blippar App might look like.
We were given a stakeholder vision of the product that combined object recognition and other user generated content with a focus on appealing to Gen-Z (12-18 year olds).
After a bit of time with the brief, Sofia (my Product Designer colleague) and I felt that the vision, although cool, seemed to be very tech driven with very little thought given to actual people and their day-to-day lives. We decided to challenge the brief with a more user-centered approach.
Knowing the app should appeal to Gen-Z we decided to run a workshop we called 'A Day in the Life'. The workshop would help us understand the schedule and areas of importance for our Gen-Z audience. With little time for research we fed in feedback from younger members of the wider company to help us sense-check.
- We mapped out what we thought an average day might look like for the audience, from morning to night.
- We asked ourselves where we might be able to lend something of use with our technology. Maybe the user is bored or they have a specific need at that point we could help with.
- We focussed on those areas and brainstormed ideas that might work in those moments.
One thing was clear from this exercise, being social was the underlying theme in all areas. We knew we'd want to tap in to this.
Once we exhausted all brainpower, we had several ideas that were focused on our users and how they could help make their days more social and entertaining. We decided on the strongest ideas and combined them into a deck to present to our stakeholders.
Rewriting the brief
We presented our thinking to stakeholders and were given the green light on what would be a very different approach to the initial brief given to us. We suggested creating an augmented reality messaging app that would introduce Gen-Z to AR in a fun, creative way, social way.
It would include:
- A Toolkit of AR Characters
- Messaging and Sharing
- AR Treasure Hunt
- Video Creation
- Computer Vision
- Be a delight to use
What we knew
- Pokémon Go had just launched and AR was becoming something that people were familiar with as a concept.
- Snapchat was booming but at this point it was solely still a peer-to-peer messaging service, the only AR feature they had at the time was face filters. Now you can add characters into the world space, film and send them to people. *Spoiler alert* this is essentially what Bemo became, we just did it at about the same time. 😉
- Twitter was a massive hit amongst 16-18 years olds especially for 'a laugh', as they could share content between each other, mainly in the form of memes or gifs or Vines.
- We found that Snapchat was used more than Instragram as Instagram felt a bit too curated and 'try hard'.
The app was centred around content creation.
- A user would open the app to the camera
- Select an AR model and place it in their environment
- Shoot a video of their world view
- Then choose to post it to a feed or send directly to a friend
Bemo the brand
Bemo is light-hearted, a bit cheeky, and loves the 80s. We defined a brand that mirrored old low-bit video games but was loud and bold.
We used Principle to create a prototype of the app architecture. Gestural navigation is a big part of the app, something our audience is very familiar with, however it is designed to be usable for all.
App Store Promo
Here's a short selection of videos created with Bemo for the App Store listing. I had fun making the soundtrack to this one.
For a project that started off very differently I'm pleased how we were able to challenge the brief and take a fresh approach to how we might bring augmented reality to a young audience.
During the time Bemo was in development Snapchat bought out a very similar feature called World Lens. It was a bittersweet vindication to see that we had arrived at a similar product but we were unable to compete with their scale.
You can still download Bemo on the App Store.