Google Design Exercise



An AR(Augmented Reality)Digital Billboard Experience


Linyao Li

Individual Project 

Duration: 1 week

Project Brief

Design a digital billboard experience to welcome incoming students and their families. These will be displayed on various screens on campus, and will show orientation information, advertise student organizations and events, and include delightful moments of school branding. Create three motion sequences that will be looped, transitioning between the different types of content.

Motion Sequences

AR Digital Billboard Effect

1. I want to use AR technology to create amazing and eye-catching effects and a unique experience to new students, their families as well as visitors. Because of the time, I only made a simple prototype to express my idea and use my laptop to show the visual effects.

Students, their families and visitors can take a photo in front of digital billboards.

2. Another design of my digital billboard is to use AR technology to attach more information to content for people who are interested in the events. They can use their camera like ARcore to read more information.

Display on various screens

Design Process

Exploratory Research




Through exploratory research(eg. fly on the wall, interview), I attempted to understand people’s behavior patterns and the communication effect of information of digital billboards at CMU campus.

Research Evaluation






After  exploratory research, I tried to evaluate the information I gathered, and created three types of personas and a journey map to help me develop my design concept. 

Through Ideation, I found AR digital billboard would be perfect for the reservation scenario. So I utilized storyboard as a tool to visualize a story about how a person will learn information in a high efficient way by the design of AR digital billboard in different situations. 

Concept Realisation




 I designed the wireframe of the AR digital billboard and also made paper prototypes for user testing. Then I gathered and analyzed the feedback and refines my design.

User Test and Refine



- Final Design

I did user testing. Then I gathered and analyzed the feedback and refined my design. 

Exploratory Research

  • Observed different types of digital billboards and screens on campus

There are different sizes of digital billboards at CMU campus. Main types includes vertical and horizontal digital billboards, TV screen.

I found that there are mainly two types of screen ratios:16:9 and 9:21. Then I narrowed down my design to these two types of screen.

  • Analysis visual design of digital billboards

I chose a digital billboard at University Center of CMU where the orientation be held at every year. 


1. The digital billboard only shows”Today's events “ including the information of time, title, location.

2. It uses blue, red and white as the main color which matches the theme colors of CMU.

3. Only words information there and no motions.

4. It only uses color, logo on the upper left conner to express the branding features of CMU. 

  • Fly on the wall


In order to observed people’s behaviors and understand the communication effect of information in different forms, I observed and contrasted three spots on CMU campus which all provided passengers with information about student organizations, events. The three spots are digital billboard, poster wall, display windows outside indoor basketball court. They are all in the same building on the same floor and the school orientation be held at there every year. I observed 50 - 55 passengers on each spot and recorded their behavior features.


Posters Wall

  • Though the posters wall opposites to the door, there were only 2 people stopped to take a look at it.

  • 1 people took a ticket from a poster.

Posters in display windows

  • The display windows are next to the posters wall which have a  ‘tidier’ layout of posters.

  • There were 2 people took pictures of a poster, 2 people stopped and had a talk about a poster and 4 people looked back at posters.

  • Posters in display windows have a better communication effect than posters wall.

  • I found that there was a poster that attracted 6 persons' attention. This poster has a simple visual design style. On the poster, there is only a woman holding a board which says THE HATE U GIVE. The bold and eye-catching headline is easy to get people’s attention and transmit information quickly. 

Digital Billboard

  • Only 22% of passengers took a look at this digital billboard.

  • There were two visitors who were interested in this digital billboard took about 30 seconds on it. However, after that they walked to a billboard just next to the digital billboard and spent more than 3 minutes to read the information on it. During the process, the woman took out her phone and searched information for about 2 minutes. Then they went to the information desk to ask for a paper map and spent more than 2 minutes to selected activities‘ pamphlets. 

On the left is a digital billboard.

​On the right is a traditional billboard

A woman is reading the information on board and talks to the other.

They go to select some activities‘ pamphlets and ask for a paper map.

  • I contrasted those two boards and pamphlets and found that:

digital billboard



Display windows

​Outside the indoor basketball court, there are some display windows which show the information about sports clubs. 

  • 32% of passengers took a look at display windows.

  • The display windows not only show their introductions but also put their trophies and many photos of their activities.


​From my exploratory research, I got some valuable insights which can guide my design.

1. Stylized poster wall can attract some passengers’ attention. Passengers are able to get the tickets directly from some posters. Randomly sticked on the wall makes the information on posters in a mess which is hard for passengers to get information in a short time. 

2. People pass the digital billboards in fast pace, so simple visual design style with clear and emphatic headline, realistic photos, less words has a better effect to grab people’s attention in a very short time. 

3. Display windows outside indoor basketball court can display more details about the Club Sports including the pictures of their activities, honor and awards, events and contact information. It has a better effect to arouse passengers’ interests. 

4. People who are interested in the information they notice from no matter the digital billboards, posters or display windows, most of them would take pictures of the information to note down it or search online for more details.

  • Interviewed some potential users 


I conducted three short interviews with CMU first-year students, two with visitors on campus and 1 with the staff who works at information desk which allows me to go deeper to understand their personal thoughts. And before I went to the interview, I came up with a Hunt Statement to help me guide my semi-structured interview.

Hunt statement (Objective)

I aim to research the first-year students’ habits of gathering information of events and student organizations and to understand what is the role that digital billboards play in their campus life. Is the information on digital billboards useful and helpful to new students and visitors?Additionally, I want to learn more about the students’ and visitors’ cognitions about CMU’s branding. 


  • The first-year student students always get information of events and student organizations through emails, CMU websites and their friends. They do not take digital billboards as a main way to gain messages. Sometimes they just go pass the digital billboards and do not notice them.

  • When they find the events showed on the digital billboards are useful, they always take photos of it and search for more details online. They also need to search on google map and check their calendar.

  • For visitors, the digital billboards on campus are the main method for them to gain information on time. They think it is helpful to get information from digital billboards to know events, organizations or culture of CMU. If they want to go to a specific activity, they always ask for help from information desk or passengers. They can gain a paper map of campus but sometimes it takes time for them to figure out the way. Additionally, sometimes they do not know some events need to book online firstly. 

  • The staff works at information desk told me that each year at the beginning of a new year, there would be a bunch of new students went to them for help, even though they hold a digital billboard on the wall which close to information desk showing the information like locations of  the orientations. 

  • Different people have different cognitions of CMU brands. The first-year students and visitors mentioned mascot Scotty Tartan, red color and the theme of technology.


  • Now the design of digital billboards on campus only show very basic information which can not meet the needs of people. People need to do more search online for details which cost them more time and effort.

  • The visual design of digital billboards do not attractive enough for passengers. Additionally, only with red color theme, it is hard to convey the identity of brands of CMU.

Research Evaluation

  • Persona

After interviewing a few potential end users, I decided to gather the insight from my interview and build three types of persona that represent different groups of people, reflecting their characteristics, needs, and concerns, which I believe could help me further ideate my concept.

  • User Journey

I use a journey map to help me identify users’ pain points as well as design opportunities throughout the process.

Design Concept

Designing an AR (Augmented Reality) digital billboard experience to welcome CMU new students, their families or visitors and provide people with information of events, students organizations. Integrating AR technology with digital billboards in order to provide people who have interests with more information instantly and simplify the information-gathering and decision-making process. Using visual design including 3D scene, animation, motion graphics to create a more enjoyable experience and convey delightful moments of school branding for people.

Why I choose AR technology+ digital billboard

Due to the limited size of a digital billboard, it can only show the most important information to people. It has advantages and disadvantages. A main advantage is that it is easy for people to browse the messages when they walk pass the billboards. However, a disadvantage is that it can not provide more information with people who would like to pause for a moment at the boards. They need to spend more time and energy on searching for more information. AR technology can solve this problem by attaching more details for the billboards. What is more, I notice that now people are used to use their phones to take pictures of the information they need to record. So there is a design opportunity to use AR technology to add interactions between people and the digital billboards and well solve the problems. 

Four Main Design Points



Using simple ideas and brevity to communicate messages. Be Clear and Concise. The outdoor viewing audience is mobile and often traveling swiftly. Viewing time is limited to a few seconds. Outdoor designs require a disciplined and succinct approach. 



Using AR technology to provide more content for people who interested in the limited information showed on board. 



Using more pictures to visualize the information. Using motions, animations and 3D effect to create something eye-catching and memorable.



Adding more elements related to the bands. 





A digital billboard with easy-cathing visual design

A student passes the board and

find something attractive.

She takes out her phone and use AR core camera to see more details

She thinks the event is interesting and helpful to her and decide to participate. Then she add that event directly to her google calendar.


User Flow

Sketch & Prototype

Defined layout. The low fidelity paper sketch severs a simple and quick way to convey my idea and defined layout, as well as I early stage use test.

At first I put the orientation information on the welcome page and use one page to display the students organizations information. However, after a quickly user test, I got some feedback.

1. "Each year we have different types of orientations there for different students like international students orientation, graduate students orientation and so on. You only show one main orientation on the billboard which can not help students too much."

2. "There are many students organizations in our school. But only one page can not show all of them. Like me, I like Kendo which is very special-interest, but I can not find anything related to Kendo club. "





After the user test, I refined my layout. I put orientation information on a page and deleted the page of students organizations. For the students organizations part, I think students can learn about them through various events. Students always choose organizations according to their interests, so they would like to go to some events firstly. 

round 1

round 2

Visual Design

I created a mood board as the inspiration for the design language. Through the moodboard, I saw a clean, curious and upbeat feeling. I chose contrast colors red, blue, white and green as theme colors. Additionally, I want to put the mascot Scotty Tartan in the design to help build CMU brands.

Prototype and effect of AR welcoming page

Prototype and effect of using camera to browse AR content attached to the digital billboard.

Motion Sequences

Further Consideration

1. AR Map

Way finding is a big issue for new students on their first day on campus. During my researching, I also found this painpoint of new students as well as visitors. Sometimes using map to find a place is not a good experience for them. It always cost them time when they are totally new one environment. I think about AR map can solve this problem.  Maybe when new students scan the AR digital billboard, they are also able to choose following a AR map to the orientation location. 

2. Improve AR UI design

Because of the time. though my design integreted AR technology, this time I mainly forcus on the design of digital billboards. For AR interfaces, I do not go deep and only show a concept design prototype. However, as part of this project, the AR interaction design is also important. So in the furture, I need to do more research and design on it.