Unearth - UX / AR case study
An AR platform that lets the user see the wildlide that existed where they are standing hundreds of years ago.

A case study based on an AR platform that I designed that lets the user see what wildlife existed where they are standing and directs the user to where to see other wildlife!
Role: UX / UI, IxD, IA
Tools: XD, Adobe, Aero, Maxon
Create an immersive, curated and location based experience that allows users to view the world around them with the species that used to live there. This will be done with virtual objects in real time to educate people of extinct species.
Why use AR?
As a human who is interestd in 3d animation in relation to UX I wanted to move forward with this concept and create an AR app that allowed me to use C4D and Adobe Aero.

I also wanted to take this oppurtunity to learn a new iOs rules kit - the ARKit to understand the developer and teh designer side and the reasons why these choices are being made in this up and coming industry.

The field of AR interests me because it allows new experiences for the user and the creator.
Phase 1: Concept
In 2020 protests are spanning the Country, Microsoft is pledging to be carbon negative (for their entire existence) by 2050, Elon Musk is planning on escaping to Mars with Grimes. There is an undeniable climate crisis and people are standing up. With this there is a space in education where folks can learn about their surroundings.

Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals go extinct every 24 hours. It is so many that one cannot keep track or have an idea of what those animals are. In a society that is constantly discussing climate change, emissions and the next steps for reducing CO2 this AR platform aims to educate people of all ages on the animals that used to be on the land and in the seas of where they are standing.
Phase 2: Discovery
The discovery process that I took for designing this app was talking to educators who teach history and biology, discussing how they teach about endangered species and what could improve this experience. I also talked to folks who are environmental/ land activists to see what they would like to see and the problems that they have with sharing information.
Pain points
Pain points that I discovered:
If the issue is not in front of you people don’t recognize it.
People have a hard time thinking about the numbers - how large an animal is, how much space that it takes it, how much space a herd of large animals takes up.
We have been comparing whales to buses for a few decades now - we need something new!
It is hard for people to envision the streams being full of an animal (ie./ Salmon) if they have never seen this animal before.
Folks are quick to forget things that they cannot see.
Phase 3: Competitors
There is currently an AR app, called Extinct Animals iExplore AR, which allows users to discover animals that would have existed where they are and interacting with the world around them. These animals span our entire history as a human race, and before (including dinosaurs). The purpose of this app is to learn about species but it is not location specific and the curation of animals is loose - the animal models come in different styles and is not consistent making it feel not real. There are also apps that allow users to be immersed in an environment to do activities such as, be underwater and swim with whales, or be on a boat and view geometric whales.
Phase 4: Users
The design of this app is aimed at users of all ages, in this way must be accessible to a wide range of technical abilities. The goals of this design are to have a platform that the user flow is very clear, the way to launch the AR environment (and access away from it) is flushed out as well as the onboarding of how to use AR generally.
Paper prototypes
The paper prototypes for this was a bit more tricky than UX studies I have done previously. It inferred previous knowledge of AR. In order for this to work I set up a test enviroment in Adobe Aero before testing to ensure that I would be able to observe and not interfere with testing.

The user flow for Unearth is short, having the user come back to their camera screen while getting prompts on which way more animals may be.
High fidelity prototype gallery
person user testing person user testing person user testing
person user testing person user testing
I had a difficult time with the user testing with this prototype. I wanted the app to be accessible to folks that were not tech savy because of this I user tested with people that had not had prior exposure to AR applications. In the future I would test with both groups and seek out folks who had used an AR app.