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Ayi audio guide

Real-time walks, through cities far away.

Product: Concept for an audio guide,
Course: Master's Thesis, Year: 2017

Collage mit Screenshots vom Audioguide, von Ayi und von der Cardboard-App
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk exactly in this moment through Tokyo, Havanna or Rome? Have you ever dreamed of traveling to India, Brasil, or Spain, but you didn't have enough time or money to go there? Ayi is made for moments like these.

Ayi takes you on a walk through cities far away—wherever you are, whenever you are up to it, in real-time. You'll visit the most important sights of a city, you'll learn about its history, and you'll get to know the people who shaped that city’s history, politics, and culture.

Ayi takes the distances between the other city’s sights and mirrors them onto your way—no matter where you are. Ayi doesn't care where you go, it will follow your lead. Ayi will show you the sights as soon as you walked the given distances. Depending on weather condition and time of day, your experience of the city will change.

»And indeed the false name and the real dream create a new reality. The object really becomes another, because we turned it into another one. We manufacture realities.«
Fernando Pessoa

After the tour, you'll have a notebook of memories, that offers even more opportunities to explore the city. It is filled with short biographies, 360°-views of buildings, and recommendations for movies, books, music, and recipes. Ayi turns the whole day into a journey through the city of your daydreams.

Ayi audio guide:

  • turns a walk into a tour through another city
  • mirrors distances between sights onto your way
  • adjusts the tour to weather condition and time of day
  • works with your phone’s voice-assistant to offer real-time information
  • shows live-images, uploaded by people on location
FROM QUESTION TO PROTOTYPE

Development

The app-concept is the result of my master thesis; it evolved from the question: How can it be made possible to experience faraway places by means of real-time data? The goal was to discover different solutions, without trying to develop a polished product.

I used Lisbon as an example for the app-concept, but the ideas could be applied to other cities, as well. I split the day into three parts to come up with separate ideas and to convey different aspects of the city:

  1. 1. Morning commute:
    A short-story about social housing projects in the suburbs of Lisbon, which adapts to weather conditions.
  2. 2. Lunch break:
    An audio guide that conveys the spatial situation of Lisbon, by applying it to the user's city.
  3. 3. After work:
    A cardboard-vr-app with a view over Lisbon, that uses flight data to display passing planes.

I developed one prototype for each solution and selected the audio guide as the most promising idea. The audio guide was going to be a single product that is usable at any time; therefore, I had to rework the concept: I wrote a new script for the audio guide, added more ways to follow the real-time idea, included useful aspects of the other prototypes, and drew new wireframes.

Adjustments:

  • ready for use at any time
  • uploads from Instagram offer a current look at the sights
  • you can listen to curated playlists between sights
  • the tour is now narrated by a guide and the voice assistant adds information about the current weather, the distance walked and the persons mentioned
  • the tour guide adjusts its narrative perspective to the time of day
Ayi wireframes:
Screenshot AYI: Guide aktiviert
This view appears after you selected and activated the guide. The tour starts after 50 meters, so that you can put on your jacket and leave the building before the introduction begins.
Screenshot AYI: Erster Spot – Arco do Triunfo
You can take a look at the most recent uploads after you've reached a sight, but you could also leave your phone in your pocket for the whole tour and only take it out when you return home—all sights will be stored in your notebook of memories.
Screenshot AYI: Kurzbiografien
It is possible to listen to additional biographies during the tour, by selecting a name, by asking your phone's assistant, or by knocking on your phone after a person was mentioned.
Screenshot AYI: Wiedergabeliste
You can listen to curated playlists between sights. The guide will introduce the playlists, and he will talk about the bands.
Example from the script – change of narrative perspective:
By day:

Now, the streets are flooded with cars, the tourists admire the façades, and the tram jiggles over the hills. But at night, when restaurants are closed, when commuters are back home, and when the tourists are asleep, you would hear, at the most, garbage trucks gathering the remains of the day.
By night:

Now, the restaurants are closed, commuters are at home, and the tourists are asleep, only the garbage trucks gather the remains of the day. But during the day, the streets are flooded with cars, tourists admire the façades, and the tram jiggles over the hills.
Screenshots of the old audio guide version:
Screenshot Audioguide: Animation des Homescreens
Tours can be selected by time. An introduction video shows all sights in an animated flight.
Screenshot Audioguide: Animation der Touransicht
The first tour was narrated by the phone’s voice assistant, but the computer generated voice was not suitable for an emotional storytelling approach, so I decided to split the tour; therefore, Ayi is narrated by a guide and the voice assistant only adds changing information like weather conditions.
Screenshot Audioguide: Infoseite zum Arco do Triunfo
This version offered articles about the sights you would visit. I cut those texts because they give the same information as the narrator.
Screenshot Audioguide: Rendering der Catedral sé Patriarcal
I had used renderings, to establish a coherent visual language between the audio guide and the cardboard-app, but I replaced these images with Instagram uploads because they are much better at conveying a feeling of immediacy, and they add an aspect of participation.
Cardboard-app – View from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte: