UW HCDE Department
March 2013 - July 2013
- Design Lead
- Concept Development
ScavengART is a discovery-based scavenger hunt that allows people to connect with the art around them, bridging the gap between street artists and their audience.
Although many Seattle residents are enthusiastic about street art, most know very little about it. Those outside the street art community don’t have easy ways to learn more about the artwork and artists in their city. At the same time, local artists often have a hard time connecting with the community that their art is
ScavengART bridges this gap by giving people a way to connect with the art around them, creating a discovery-based game where the artwork itself is the reward for playing.
The core essence of ScavengART is the exploration of art and community.
Scores are based on the number of art pieces players find during the course of a monthly challenge making the art itself the reward for playing.
Image Matching is done through matching GPS coordinates. Due to the temporal nature of street art, players are asked to verify the matches.
Bonuses and achievements are based on players finding certain types of street art that are outside their monthly challenge, in some cases contributing to the game's database. ScavengART's self-curating nature is maintained through such incentives.
Honor system is maintained as ScavengART is not a game where players are competing with others. Galleries of past challenges are meant for self-reflection. Cheating results in having a gallery with crappy pictures and makes this element of the game less enjoyable for the players themselves.
Beginnings and Research
The idea of ScavengART started from me and my teammate's interest in the Seattle street art community. We started with a very open-ended question: How can we support the street art community?
We interviewed street artists from the Graffiti Defense Coalition as well as the art director of Urban ArtWorks, a non-profit that does various community-centric street art projects. We also interviewed people from the general community who had either organized projects street art projects or were business owners who had sanctioned such projects on their buildings.
Through these interviews we learned a lot about the street art culture and also narrowed down areas that we could possibly intervene in and improve. We did some ideating and prioritized our ideas based on:
- Feasibility (is it something that can be developed in the next few months)
- How it supported the street art community
- Our Interest
We surveyed 13 different community members about street art. We stood by the Capitol Club mural and asked passers-by three questions:
- how often they passed by the area,
- what they could tell us about the mural we were standing next to,
- how they felt about murals and street art in the neighborhood.
After they had answered our questions we offered to tell them the history of the mural, if they wanted, to gauge how much interest community members had in learning about the artwork around them.
In general, the people we talked to were very positive about street art. For example, when asked how they felt about murals and street art multiple participants told us that they wished there was more art in their neighborhood. While participants had mixed feelings about the mural we were standing next to, this did not seem to impact their opinion of murals in general. Furthermore, 7 of the 13 people we spoke to were interested in learning more about the mural (an additional participant already knew about the mural, so we did not offer to tell him the story). Many of these individuals also specifically thanked us for stopping them after we told them about the mural.
We then presented our remaining ideas to some of our street artists and did a co-design session with them. Through this session we came up with a more open-ended version of ScavengART. As it turned out, our street artists had wanted to start a project like this but lacked the technical resources to go about it!
We refined our ideas and created some paper prototypes for user testings. Our main object was to get feedback on the concept as well as game flow. Our criteria for selecting testers was their potential to be users of our app, but due to some cancellations and time restrictions, our test group was a mix of people interested in street art and convenience sampling.
Regardless, we got some valuable input regarding concept as well some usability issues. Based on this feedback, we structured the game to be more gamelike introducing time limits, challenges, and achievements. We also modified our taxonomy and navigation.
At this point I started created medium fidelity mock ups following the Android Design spec.
My teammate and I are currently talking to friends with development experience to help us with development. Based on our own time schedules, we may or may not take part in this process as well (as we both have development background as well).
Before that, however, we will be conduct some more tests to refine the user flow of the game as well as revisiting the visual design of the app.
Once the game is in the app store, we will reach out to the street community again to create the initial momentum for populating the database.