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UX Case Study: Designing an Online Summer Camp

UX Case Study: Designing an Online Summer Camp,

How we transformed a summer camp for teens into a mid-fidelity online experience

This project was a bit different from the last one. This time we had a briefing from a client: Smart People Inc.

Smart People Inc. is an educational company born in 2014. They currently offer in-person courses for teenagers of languages, music, dancing, cooking and first-aid. However, many teenagers are unable to attend the summer camp due to time and cost reasons, but still, they want to take part in a course.

Smart People Inc. needs a way to provide an engaging online experience for people who cannot attend the summer camp.

Day 1: Collecting insights 👐

Understanding the business and the industry ⛺

To solve this challenge, we started by analyzing the summer camp industry, to understand what companies are in the market, what are their business models, what courses do they offer, among others. It was an interesting starting point that helped us understand the context and the industry in which we were working on.

Understanding the target market 👦

We also needed to know what is teens’ perception of summer camps, so we prepared an interview guide and a survey for teenagers between 15 and 18 years old where we tried to understand:

  • What they do during summer and if they are interested in learning during their vacations.
  • How they best learn in school.
  • How they spend their time online and what kind of content do they like the most.
  • What are their motivations to go to a summer camp.
  • If they would be interested in participating in an online summer camp.

We interviewed 11 teenagers from 15 to 18 years old and we got 52 answers on the survey.

A caption of our interview guide & online survey questions (PT version)

Day 2: Analysing the results & ideating 🧮

The next day, we analyzed the results of this research.

Results of the interviews

  • Teenagers have a huge variety of interests. When talking about their preferred activities during summer and courses at school, they mentioned very different topics (cooking, ceramics, writing, military services,…).
  • They are heavy users of technology — they spend lots of time on their smartphones and use several apps mainly to talk to their friends.
  • They are highly social, mentioning that engagement with friends is something extremely important both at school/learning activities and during their summer break.
  • Their main motivations to take a learning course during summer or being part of a summer camp are to make friends and learn something new.

Here are some quotes that we got from the interviews.

The course that I liked the most was History because the teacher was interesting and engaging and he would tell us the lectures like it was a story.

I like summer camps because I can meet new people and know different cultures.

I’m better at learning when it’s in front of someone so I can ask questions and they can take me step by step. I can focus better that way.

I like the independency of learning something new and figuring things out by myself. And then to get as a group and further figure it out in depth.

Results of the online survey

  • In an online summer camp, teenagers would like to engage through (1) games, (2) chat platform and (3) competitions.
  • 8.7/10 is how important interaction with their classmates is.
  • 43% of them, say that their biggest motivation to go to a summer camp is to make new friends.
  • 67% of them say they would prefer an online summer camp experience on their laptops.

After this analysis, we built an Affinity Diagram to have an overview of all the data we collected. With this exercise, we tried to identify patterns and similar behaviors among people with similar characteristics. This helped us a lot build ou Persona and the pain points related to this topic.

Affinity Diagram

Madi, the social butterfly

User Persona

This year Madi cannot attend her usual summer camp, so she is considering an online summer camp. However, she is not sure if it will provide the same engagement and interaction with her teachers and friends as the in-person summer camp.

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Coming up with ideas for our challenge 💭

At this point, we knew our users and we knew their fears related to attending an online summer camp. So, we were ready to build our How Might We question.

How Might We provide an engaging and interactive experience to Madi, that allows her to make new friends while learning something new?

To answer the big question we used the Round Robin method, to come up with lots of solutions to solve our problem. We generated four ideas that we could easily group into categories.

A caption of the Round Robin

After a quick discussion, we revised and grouped our ideas into a concept board composed of 3 main concepts. Thanks to Dawn Webster, we took our sketches to the next level 😎.

Based on our research, we knew something for sure: we had to provide different categories to users and give them the opportunity to learn solo or in a group. Building on this, our concepts were:

Our 3 concepts
  • A VR summer camp, which consisted of interacting with virtual reality to complete a mission on the context of a specific category, where they could learn about a specific topic.
  • An AR summer camp, which consisted of collecting items related to a specific category (like Pokémon Go). They would play in teams and they would get information after collecting those items. In the end, they would have to answer some questions related to the topic.
  • A virtual competition summer camp, which consisted of having online competitions of certain categories in real-time with the other participants of the summer camp. In the end, they would have to vote for the best player in the competition.
Our concept sketches

Concept testing 🧪

We took our concept board to the Time Out market so we could show them to some teenagers that could be our potential users. It was a no brainer, we had a clear winner. 6 out of 8 teenagers voted for concept #1 (VR summer camp) over one vote for concept #2 and one vote for concept #3.

Concept testing with a 13-years-old boy at the Time Out market

Day 3: Lo-fi prototyping 📎

With a winner concept in our hands, it was time to build a low-fidelity prototype and test it with users.

Prototyping Virtual Reality (VR) 🕶

We were very excited about our concept, but when it was time to actually make the VR experience come true we were not sure how to make it seem real. We started by building the enrollment phase on the desktop. We developed the User Flows for this process and we started our Low Fidelity prototypes.

But there was no way around it, we had to build a VR lo-fi experience to understand if users would like it. After wondering about it for some time, we finally realized: “why don’t we just play with ‘real’ reality?”. And that’s what we did: we mapped some interactions in VR, we built cardboard VR glasses and we were ready to go!

Lo-fi prototypes

Testing VR with users

Due to time constraints (because we lost some time wondering about VR experiences and the time we needed to conduct the tests we had troubles in finding teens) we could not test our lo-fi prototype with potential users, so we test it with 5 people from the Ironhack community.

We were a bit concerned about the VR test but it was actually extremely fun. People were enjoying a lot the experience! Also, it was a very useful exercise. At this phase, we learned that:

  • We needed to include a tutorial after users landed in the VR world, they didn’t know how to interact with the items.
  • We had to change the text on some of the buttons because they were misleading.
  • We had to change the order of the enrollment process to make it more intuitive.
1. Testing the enrollment
2. VR testing 😎

Day 4: Mid-fi prototyping 💻

Prototyping VR (here we go again… 🎢 )

Lo-fi validated! The next phase was to build wireframes (or a mid-fi prototype). In mid-fi we don’t have ‘real’ reality, so how to do it? Here we go again…We read some interesting articles on Medium and we decided to build some simple frames to exemplify the experience (the best solution for the time and resources we had at the moment).

And here is our final presentation (includes the mid-fi prototype)!

Next steps

  • Integrate the learning modules in the game with the help of Smart People Inc.
  • Develop other learning modules on the app in mid-fi and test them
  • Develop the Business Model for Smart People: desktop + VR glasses sent to home (better experience) or app on the kids’ phone and simple cardboard VR glasses (cheaper experience)

Lessons learned

Trust the process

It is very important to go through the whole process! We didn’t use all the tools in depth but I believe it would’ve helped us go a bit deeper in the research and in achieving results faster. Even if they seem just one more tool and that we can do it anyways, I feel that it was an important part of the process!

Teamwork is a big win

Teamwork was great, we all had different skillsets and we complemented each other for the different parts of the process.

Thank you!

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !


UX Case Study: Designing an Online Summer Camp was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: Joana Roquette

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