TELLING ENGAGING INTERACTIVE STORIES WITH EXTENDED REALITY (XR): BACK TO 1930S IN ZURICH’S MAIN TRAIN STATION
Keywords: Mixed, Augmented, Extended Reality, location based AR, Spatial UI, User Experience, Gamification, Storytelling
Abstract. With increasing technical feasibility of extended reality (XR) on smartphones and tablets, we also witness increasing versatility in the use of the mixed reality (MR) (i.e., rather than augmented or virtual) in utility-oriented apps (e.g., for navigation, indoor/outdoor spatial planning, entertainment and location based gaming. In cases where user adaptation and adherence is important, the design of the story itself, visualization and interaction in the game must be engaging, and ideally support spatial knowledge acquisition. In this paper, we briefly review the literature on creating engaging MR experiences for a location based game, and present a case study in which we feature a location based MR game (SBB Stories). We conceptualized, designed and implemented the SBB Stories with user-centered design methods in collaboration with the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways). In this paper we feature an interactive story that took place in Zurich’s main train station in 1937. Our findings from several cycles of user studies shows an increased spatial awareness of the surroundings as participants used the SBB Stories app. Importantly, participants reported the blending of historical and current visual elements as an outstanding and inspiring experience. Besides a high score of 83.75/100 in a standardized usability test, and a similarly high score of 4.25/5.00 in a standardized user engagement scale, all participants reported that they would spend extra time at the train station to play this game, suggesting that the app was indeed engaging.