Winning design connecting the community with virtual reality platform

OzChi 2015 winners
Friday 11 December 2015

A team of four ANU students known as “The Normans” (Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor, Leana Copeland, Chris Chow, and Kirsty Nitschke) won first place in the OzCHI 2015 Student Design Challenge (OzCHI24). This international competition is held annually and invites interaction design students to develop a design solution to a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research problem within a 24 hour period. 

This year’s design problem was “social isolation”, where the teams had to select a target group and determine how technology could be used to facilitate real world social interaction. Our team conducted user research about social isolation amongst the unemployed and jobseekers, and presented a design solution called “VIRK" (Virtual Work). VIRK is a virtual reality platform that simulates an office environment where users can receive mentoring and job skills training, and attend informal “coffee break” social sessions to connect with others and share their experience about the job seeking process. 

The first part of the competition was held on August 8 to August 9, where we had 24 hours to conceptualize a design solution presented through a six page research paper, create paper and digital prototypes demonstrated in a video, maintain a blog of our design process, and participant in a number of “mini challenges”. The second part of the competition involved presenting our solution at the OzCHI conference and fielding questions, where the overall entries were judged and the prizes were awarded. The two other finalist teams were from Indian Institute of Technology.

Team captain Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor enjoyed participating in the whole competition, "It was a fantastic opportunity to undertake the full design process and gain experience in using a range of different HCI tools and approaches".

ANU iHcc researchers were well represented at the 2015 Computer-Human Interaction of Australia (OzCHI conference), held at the University of Melbourne from Dec 7-10. The Research School of Computer Science had a delegation of 6 students and 1 staff member (Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor, Jess Tsimeris, Chris Chow, Martin Henschke, Leana Copeland, Kirsty Nitschke, and Duncan Stevenson). Between us, we presented 3 long papers, 1 short paper, 2 workshop papers, and our design challenge paper, of which 6 were first authored by undergraduate and PhD students.



Research paper:

Video can be found here:

Image gallery

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