Google Opera Companion App

App concept for the Google Cultural Institute, 2012




The brief

To enhance Opera audience's experience of live performances via a companion mobile app, a design exercise in the context of a recruitment interview.

Design Process

There was little time to spare so everything was done in less than two days. Having worked 4 years as UX/interaction designer/creative technologist with arts organisations such as Sadler's Wells I had a lot of direct contact with Dance, Ballet and Opera audiences, my prior knowledge about the user base and their needs was of great help.



Context surrounding a visit to the Opera

Mapping initial concepts

Exploring alternative solutions

Insight

Opera goers are sitting for several hours watching a scene from the same angle. This is in contrast to the fast-paced cutting betwen scenes most people are used to from watching movies or TV. The perception of opera being "boring" could be shifted by letting people switch angles and points of view in real time.



Wireframes



UI design

White text on black background so the light emanating from the screen wouldn't disturb other Opera viewers; large point size so users can keep an eye on the stage and glance occasionaly at the screen. Switch quickly between 5 live video feeds. UI disappears after 3 seconds of inactivity while the video streams, and reappears when the user taps the screen.



Conclusion

The concept was very well received, this exercise was great fun, after working for so many years with Arts organisations I had in-depth knowledge in users and the subject matter. All had to be done very quickly, in under 2 days, more than enough to explore different concepts. My interviewers were very well impressed with the simplicity, immediacy and emotional depth to the experience. The key to the system is live video streaming from multiple sources on-stage, not a technical hurdle with a decent budget, I would love to see such an app become reality one day.