lawrenceville concept

Helping Residents Explore & Connect

Basic Interaction / CMU / Fall 2011

We designed a ubiquitous computing solution targeted specifically to Lawrenceville, an up-and-coming neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The solution embeds technology in playful new ways to create meaningful interactions for residents to explore their surroundings and meet and engage with their neighbors.


User/Stakeholder Interviews
Speed Dating Research
Concept Development
Videosketch (digital assets)


Somya Jampala (IxD), Eric Spaulding (IxD)


Peter Scupelli, Clarence Yung

Ideation & Brainstorming

We wanted to understand how people developed a “sense of home” in their new environments. Five main goals emerged from our user interviews and surveys: establishing a routine, building in preferences, finding go-to cafes, bars, and restaurants, establishing a group of friends, and getting lost in their surroundings.

With the five main goals in mind, we conducted an initial 10x10 brainstorming process where we paired 10 user goals with 10 objects found within the neighborhood in order to generate various ideas.
lawrenceville ideation

Storyboards & Speed Dating

We created five concept storyboards with the ideas that best addressed our five main goals. Then we brought them out to test in the field and conducted several speed dating interviews. By quickly describing and sharing our storyboards with potential users, we could test some of the social boundaries our ideas pushed on.
lawrenceville storyboards

lawrenceville speed dating

Research Synthesis

Four big themes emerged from the speed dating research:

1. Engage without Committing

People were willing to explore through new modes of interaction as long as they didn’t have to commit to an activity.

2. Controlled Wayfinding

While getting lost was a desirable way to explore, people still needed to maintain some control over where they were going.

3. The Right Time and Place

Wilingess to participate in new public communication formats depended heavily on setting and context.

4. Depends Who Is Playing

Exploration through games and challenges was well-received as long as it was an established popular activity among new and existing residents.
lawrenceville final concept

lawrenceville final concept

Final Concept Video

For our final presentation, we presented an interactive system that combines the local businesses of Lawrenceville with its current cityscape to bring new and old residents together. Through a series of novel interactions, residents could explore and get lost in Lawrenceville. A city-wide scavenger hunt served as the backdrop of a broader system of transitions from concept to concept.