Victoria - Designing Systems for Discoverability
Designing Systems for Discoverability
Victoria - AI Assistant
To help library users (whether onsite or offsite) explore digital collections, discover and use digital items — we created a voice assistive companion which has access to all of the library’s digital content and is inclusive of those with sensory impairments.
Research, UI & UX and
5 weeks, Spring 2018
We wanted to see what “a library” and “learning” really meant to our target audience and where the existing models were falling short.
We conducted a thorough literature review spanning research papers, articles and existing solutions for discoverability.
Some key insights we found were-
From our research, we narrowed down our focus to Goals which our design definitely should accomplish.
By defining themes and insights, we identified problem areas that pose challenges to the people we were designing for.
Now, we reframed our insights and opportunity areas as an 'How Might We' question to turn those challenges into opportunities for design.
“How might we design for the curious
who want to learn something new?”
Keeping our HMW question front and centre, we brainstormed and came up with multiple ideas for solving the problem. We mapped all the potential solutions in an Impact vs Feasibility grid to narrow down on one solution.
Victoria is your really smart personal assistant throughout the time you are inside the library. She can send you any sort of media, from books to tutorials, make you meet with anyone you might be interested in meeting and a lot more!
Mode of Communication
A similar implementation was possible with a smarter version of an assistant like Google Assistant. However, in our research we had found that the experience of the library - silence, away from screens; was something people visiting the library valued a lot.
Not only this, we realised typing or even speaking as the only input could cause inconvenience to some users and wasn’t very inclusive to specially abled users.
We used Alter Ego for communication with Victoria.
Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Alter Ego met all our design goals and works as a great addition to our solution by facilitating silent communication as well as being inclusive to all. You can read about it here.
Once the User enters the library premises, they are handed the headset and can connect to Victoria from their phone.
Learning Something New
If the user wants to learn anything new, Victoria can send them all relevant material based on recommendation algorithms, from the whole collection of the library to save to their digital collection on their phone.
Meeting New People
Victoria can set up meetings with people currently in the library who might be interested in mentoring or advising people with similar interest areas.
The FAB opens up a modal with a handlebar. Pulling it up reveals the full window with the conversation history.
Victoria can suggest material directly from the chat window itself. Clicking on the tile directly opens the book’s summary and details.
New additions are given priority, where the user can scroll through newly downloaded material.
The library contains all the books downloaded.
Each book displays how much it has been read. The books are ordered in a chronologically descending order, with the most recently opened book at the top.
We decided upon the personality that Victoria would have as an AI including colour, form and microcopy. The traits were chosen keeping in mind that she is a personal assistant who focuses on discoverability of resources in the library and connecting people.
Personality and Tone
The personality traits for Victoria which we decided were-
To decide upon the colour palette of the GUI and any other graphic elements, we created a moodboard based on Victoria’s personality traits.
Because State Library of Victoria didn’t have a colour palette of its own, we chose to base them on 3 important traits of Victoria’s Personality - Knowledge, Calmness and Authoritativeness.
Archives contain all the materials and resources in the State Library of Victoria. Allowing for a more immersive experience of looking for more media based materials
Speak with Victoria by simply addressing her through the headset. Through the app, with the click of a button, Victoria is summoned and a conversation history is also available.
Explore the various new arrivals in the State Library of Victoria. These shows the latest additions and new arrivals along with session updates.
Find out the capabilities of Victoria and how she can help you.
Here is a concept video explaining Victoria as an experience. (turn on sound)
If we had more time, we would have conducted interviews with people who fall into our target audience to make an even more personalised experience for them.
We would also build out multiple conversations on DialogFlow, from beginning to end, and try them out with real users.
The unique problem statement helped me look outside of just the digital interface and work on designing the whole experience of someone visiting the library.
Other than getting extremely lucky by having an amazing team, I was also fortunate to have found the scope to work on voice as a medium to design and design inclusively. Both areas I’m really passionate about.