Interactive Tours Through Amsterdams World War II History: A UX Case Study

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Samenvatting

Explorative, informative app about the Second World War in Amsterdam. The focus of the project is on storytelling and conveying information in an audiovisual way.

Challenge

Create an audiovisual concept that brings to life a story about a location in Amsterdam during the Second World War. The end user should be inspired in a new and immersive way to listen to a story during his exploration of the city (guided tour).

In the end, we were asked to deliver a video that met the following requirements:

  • Make the context of the concept understandable
  • Show the strength of your concept in a video format
  • Give an impression of what a user hears and sees when he consumes the stories through
    • The active screen (text, image etc.) mode
    • And the immersive (audio) mode.

Let us try to understand the project better

This is a project I worked on during my studies, Communication & Multimedia Design at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. The project only lasted two weeks. In these two weeks, we worked entirely on ‘Storytelling with Data’. Our assignment was to translate some stories from a book about the Second World War in Amsterdam into an ‘experience’. It was a free assignment that tested our creativity. Within two weeks, we had to set up and work out a creative concept.

Storytelling? How will we realize it in an effective way?

Storytelling. A flashback to the past, a teacher telling a story in a circle of children. He or she reads from a book and the class listens attentively. As a child, I got an image of the story, partly through fantasy. Once in a while, the teacher would show a picture from the book. The stories always stuck with me. For this project, I wanted to combine this magical effect of listening and illustrations. So, audio immediately came to mind.

Because it had to be about the city, I wanted to do something with an interactive audio tour. In putting together a team to work on this project, I cleverly looked within my class to see who was good with audio. I quickly approached Frank de Bruin, a boy who is a producer with several beats and audio productions to his name. The match was right from the start. He also thought it would be smart to do something with audio.

How did we do it?

Then we dived into the stories of the buildings in Amsterdam during the Second World War; what struck us? What appealed to us? We came across a number of stories about the different buildings in Amsterdam and took those specific locations as our starting point. We want to tell a story about a building, exactly when you are standing in front of it with your audiovisual tour app in your hands.

The Concept In Threefold

Let yourself be navigated along buildings with a story. You will experience how these buildings of an occupied city played a role in the Second World War.

At each building, you hear a voice-over telling a story, and you also hear sound effects (such as background noise from a bank), so that the listener is taken into the story in one go.

We reinforce the story with visuals on your mobile phone. You see the building in front of you, listen to a voice over, hear atmospheric/surrounding sounds as if you were in the building and see visuals on your phone that support the story.

Audio / Storytelling

The focus of this project was on storytelling. For the inspiration of the story to be told, we partly read a book about the Second World War in Amsterdam. In it, we read about the Liro bank. We then looked up more information about it. Based on our research, we wrote a text and recorded a voice-over. Frank de Bruin also put his own music and sound effects under the track. I am proud of the result. The audio adds a lot to our prototype.

Visual Design

For the visuals, I chose to combine black-and-white and old-fashioned photos with sleek modern forms. The popping colour orange was used as a starting point. This stands for the Netherlands, orange was often used by the resistance. In the concept video (the final product) at the bottom of this Case Study, you can see how the visual style is used throughout the app.

The ifnal concept in action! | Dutch only

Award

With this project, we ranked first in our year with the final presentations. We received the most votes from both the professional jury and our fellow students. In the end, we finished the course with a 9 (9 out of 10).

It was a challenging project to work on in which I was able to use my creativity. Several aspects that I find interesting came together: storytelling, writing, design, video, voice-overs, presentation, and music.