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Into the metaverse -
Designing a product with LeoLuca

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This was a winning project of a bootcamp run by H Academy. We were provided with real-life clients who gave us design briefs. All parts of the project were treated as a real client project, from scheduling client meetings and finding users to interview. At the end of the project, LeoLuca has indicated that they will implement this concept into their final product.

Company

LeoLuca

Date

May 2022

Context

LeoLuca develops browser based virtual spaces where users can engage with each other and with commercial businesses in a 3D, interactive, customizable environment. Our team was tasked with creating an integrated experience for users, with components of e-commerce, entertainment and education.

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Problem

From the get go, our problem statement consisted of 2 challenges:

  1. It was too vague, what does 'an integrated experience' mean?

  2. We had to work backwards with a solution in mind (metaverse), and find a problem to plug it into, which does not follow the standard UX design workflow (solution should come after finding the problem).

Motivation

Our team decided to focus on the benefits of the metaverse and reverse engineer a problem from there. We focused on the idea of the metaverse having infinite space - how can this solve any problems in the physical world?
In our research, we noticed a change in the collectible space, a shift from physical objects to digital collections, resulting in the emergence of the likes of NFTs. Why is this?

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User Research

To narrow down the direction of our project, we needed to conduct primary research, talk to users and find out what problems they had.
Our primary target audience were people who owned collectible goods, or wanted to own collectible goods but were somehow limited. We intended to find out why they collect items, their problems they face, and whether they would be interested in digital collectibles.

Results

Results showed that:

  1. On average, sentimental value held the top spot when users were asked to rank their most important reason for collecting items.

  2. 71.4% of users said their main problem with collecting items were that they either did not have enough space to store their collection or did not have a way to display/share their collection

  3. 62.5% of users said they have had to throw away/sell/transfer collectibles that they still wanted to keep, because of the lack of space.

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Synthesizing the results

The most popular collectibles are tied to sentimental value - souvenirs, cards from loved ones or a childhood toy. Memories and experiences are what people want to keep, rather than the functionality of the item. With that in mind, does sentimental value need to be tied to a physical item? What if these memories and experiences are tied to digital objects?

 

Our final problem statement
How can we create a digital space to store and display items of sentimental value in LeoLuca's metaverse for collectors who have limited space?

Ideation and Prototyping

Firstly, we wanted to create a name for our concept metaverse. We settled on 'Mementoverse' - Memento meaning an object that is kept as a reminder of a person or event, and a play on the word metaverse. Because this project is largely concept based, we frequently made low-fidelity prototypes as we ideated.

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We used an as-is scenario map to envision the user journey, and we found that we couldn't create anything without an onboarding phase. A prototype was made to show what the user would see when they entered Mementoverse. The first thing they would need to do was create their room, which had a unique QR code attached to it.

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We knew we wanted to create a collectible system within Mementoverse, but we had to ideate on the most important part - how users receive the collectible item, because that's where the sentimental value resides. We narrowed down to 3 ways to collect items:

  • Achievement in the metaverse

  • Achievement in real life

  • Completing a set of collectibles

Achievement in the metaverse

An example of an achievement in the metaverse could be simply be when you finish the onboarding process, just like video games.

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Achievement in real life

The example we gave for a real life achievement was a rollercoaster ride in a hypothetical partnership between LeoLuca and Ocean Park. The user receives a digital collectible item by showing their room QR code at the exit of the ride. This creates an incentive for users to take on something they once were afraid to do.

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Completing a set of collectibles

Some collectibles would be part of a larger set, and you gain an extra one once you collect all of them.

Sharing collectibles

Another painpoint we found from our user research was that users didn't feel like they could display or share their collectibles in a centralized and efficient way. We created a demo of how users could invite others and share, chat and interact with each other.

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Business perspective

How does LeoLuca benefit from Mementoverse?

  • Partnerships with other brands

  • Expand Mementoverse to other functions - education, e-commerce and entertainment

  • Collectibles could be purchased directly within Mementoverse

Further Development

Because this was more of a discovery project, LeoLuca wanted a foundation of a concept to build on. We made sure to create a further development roadmap so that LeoLuca had an idea of what the potential of this concept could lead to.

Embed attachments onto collectibles

What if the collectibles were interactive? You could open a menu and attach photos, videos and other media to the collectible and revisit them later. This adds to the sentimental value of the item.

Partnerships with other brands

In our examples, we gave hypothetical partnership scenarios with Ocean Park. This could further evolve into industries such as food and beverage - eg collect 5 Starbucks items to redeem a Starbucks drink IRL! The possibilities are endless!

 

Education and career

Mementoverse doesn't have to be bound by just collectibles. What if LeoLuca partners with educational institutes to provide digital certificates and qualifications? Instead of sending in a resume, perhaps someone looking for a job could simply send an invitation link of their Mementoverse room to their employer, and they could see all their interests, qualifications, history and experiences in one place.

Next steps

While this is marked as a complete project, any product is never really complete, especially one that is conceptual. If we had more time on this project, the next step would be to test the prototype with users and see if our assumptions are valid. If they are, then perhaps we would talk with developers and coders to make a high fidelity prototype of Mementoverse that users can interact and move around in. Until then, I hope this project inspires any capable creatives reading this to dive into the world of metaverse!