Redesigning XR Workflow: Shaping the Future of Immersive Design Experiences
18 Apr 2023
Disguise is a company that provides innovative software solutions for the entertainment industry, including theater and event productions. Disguise's mission is to empower users to create immersive experiences that engage audiences and inspire creativity. One of their products, XR, is an advanced workflow found within Disguise Designer that enables users to create a virtual stage or set extension with the help of LED video and external hardware.
During the beta phase of the XR calibration workflow's development, usability was drastically improved by its redesign. This case study delves into the project's success, focusing on the role of the UX designer and the challenges faced during the redesign process.
As a UX designer, I partnered with the development team and senior stakeholders to provide user research, on-site design input, workflow documentation, and managed user feedback during the rapid redesign of an extended reality calibration workflow. The project took place over five months during the 2021 UK lockdown, in Disguise's XR Studio in London.
During the beta phase of the product development, feedback gathered from a slack channel of users revealed that they struggled with the existing XR workflow due to several issues, such as a lack of documentation, a cluttered and unhelpful user interface, and a lack of critical feedback. These problems made it difficult for users to set up the system correctly, understand what was happening during the calibration process, and diagnose and fix any issues that arose. As a result, the XR workflow was slow and unreliable, causing delays and errors in the pre-production phase of a show.
To identify the specific challenges and pain points that users were experiencing, we formed a team including developers, QA engineers, and myself to become in-house experts on a purpose-built stage at Disguise HQ. We spent several weeks learning the workflow ourselves and conducting user interviews to gather more detailed and comprehensive feedback from users about their experiences. We then analyzed the feedback in a research repository and compiled the insights to inform the design process.
The results were an exhaustive list of potential feature improvements, but some key issues stood out. For example, the lack of documentation made it difficult for users to set up the system correctly and understand what was happening during the calibration process. The user interface was cluttered and unhelpful, making it hard for users to find the information they needed and navigate the workflow. Before the redesign, the workflow relied on a disjointed collection of widgets with little logical structure, which added to the mental load in an already stressful environment. Additionally, we learned the need for a portable interface on the studio floor for taking camera observations.
One unexpected insight we learned was the need for a portable interface on the studio floor for taking camera observations. Previously, this required one person to operate the camera and another to click the observation take the button on the software, which is often located elsewhere in the building. As a result, I designed a companion interface in Figma for tablets that could be used on the studio floor to take camera observations. This interface was integrated into the existing workflow, allowing users to take camera observations more easily and efficiently.
To address the challenges and pain points identified during the beta phase, we implemented several changes to the XR workflow. Firstly, we created clear and comprehensive documentation in the form of a checklist, on how to perform the calibration stage, which included step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting tips. This made it easier for users to set up the system correctly and understand what was happening during the calibration process. Secondly, we redesigned the user interface to make it more intuitive and user-friendly, with a clear and logical structure that helped users find the information they needed and navigate the workflow.
“Some never believed in XR and suddenly it's mainstream"
"That’s a dope feature for sure!"
"I think we should throw disguise a party to say thank you."