In parallel to the Cross Company Evaluation of the results of the first case study, Sub Project B initiated the second case study during a kick-off meeting with company representatives.The company involved in the new case study is active in automotive design. During the kick-off meeting initial focus points for the case study and an overall planning and approach were presented. Following this kick-off meeting, a ‘VR Exploration Workshop’ was organised. The workshop is based on the workshop held with the first company, with some small improvements and modifications.
Objective & Structure
The primary aim of the workshop is to introduce company employees from various disciplines to a wide range of VR technologies and let them explore how VR could improve early stage design tasks in their design process. The first part of the workshop focuses on problems and challenges found in the current design practice. The second part of the workshop lets participants connect VR technologies to these problems, and asks them to clarify their ideas in terms of envisioned tools, users, tasks, etc.
An important aspect of the workshop is the generation of scenarios. Scenarios describe a certain context, for instance a specific design event or design case, in which actors, events and artefacts are involved. The participants use scenarios (expressed in storyboards) to clarify the relevance of their problems and also to depict specific aspects of their solutions. Scenarios stimulateÂ storytelling, which makes understanding their ideas easier.
The workshop took place on a Friday afternoon at the company. In addition to eight participants and the facilitator, the two other REPAR researchers were also involved in observing and facilitating. After a short introduction of the REPAR project and sub project B in particular (some of the participants were unfamiliar with the project), the presenter outlined the purpose of the workshop and explained how storyboards would play a central role in it.
Example (individual) storyboard: It shows some of the new elements, added after the previous Case Study. We used text balloons and user avatars to easily allow participants to annotate the frames.
The next step in the workshop involved reading `Trigger Cards’. Trigger cards contain quotes and statements from interviews held in an earlier stage of the research project, and should trigger participants to start thinking about certain problems or opportunities. Each participant was shown each card (40 cards in total) by passing them on in a chain-like fashion. The exercise prooved to be a nice way to get the workshop started and to trigger initial responses. Most of the participants were able to succesfully create a storyboard based on these trigger cards.
Participants working on storyboards
After a short break the participants started to work on group storyboards. Storyboard ‘posters’ were handed out, and each group was given a new set of cards to create their final storyboards. Within each group, the individual storyboards were first presented to eachother to identify similarities. These discussions helped shaping the ‘group’ identity, and with understanding each others views on the storyboards. After discussing the individual storyboards the groups started to merge their ideas in a final presentation, using the posters and a final group storyboard.
The session was wrapped up by letting each group present and explain their storyboard. These short presentations added a lot of insights to the group work, and indicate the importance of also thorougly analysing the individual storyboards. The resulting individual and group storyboards will be used to develop more concrete VR applications for the company, presented and discussed in a follow-up meeting.