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Interactive Models: Engagement and User Experience

User Experience

Most of the models we create are display pieces or prototypes for a variety of different industries – architecture, marine, product design and so on. Physical models have consistently proven themselves to be invaluable assets when developing and testing new designs, engaging with other people or communicating ideas.

 

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A static display model is a proven tool to draw in the audience, however, an interactive model becomes a powerful component in creating a memorable user experience.

Interactive models can be used to achieve a number of goals, including:

 

– COMMUNICATING COMPLEX PROCESSES TO THE UNINITIATED

 

– TESTING OR MARKETING A NEW IDEA, ENGAGING WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS

 

– BRANDING, CEMENTING A BRAND IDENTITY AND CREATING AWARENESS

 

Complex Processes

On an individual basis, placing a user in a narrative – such as a game – allows new information to be processed easily, and can be an enjoyable user experience. The idea of engaging the audience’s emotions naturally creates a more effective memory, among the overwhelming amount of information in our lives and minds.

 

New Ideas

Another level of interactivity could take the form of a functioning prototype; while not a production unit, the model behaves like the real deal. This is obviously a vital tool for testing and developing any product but can also be crucial in demonstrating the benefits of a new product to investors, clients and customers, assisting the transition from design process to market. A positive user experience is obviously an important success factor, so our clients usually collate detailed feedback from interactions with the prototype.

 

Branding

As trade shows are an ideal opportunity to cement a company’s brand identity and raise awareness of the products or services, it’s vital that the display is planned and executed to captivate the audience. People are often curious to try out an interactive model, achieving a longer exposure to the information than traditional graphics or even a conversation. The range of applications for interactive models is very broad, and out clients rely on our teams’ creativity to produce new and better ideas to deliver a user experience that is unique as well as informative.

 

Amalgam has been involved in display for marketing events and trade shows (DSEI, Monaco Yacht Show) and permanent installations in museums and visitor centres (London Science Museum, EDF Energy Visitor Centres).

 

“INTERACTIVE MODELS ARE EFFICIENT AND POWERFUL TOOLS TO TARGET AND ENGAGE WITH AN AUDIENCE.”

 

Ultimately, the nature of the interactivity depends on the information being presented, who to, and to what end – we always remain focused on helping our clients achieve the results stated in their brief. We consider all these factors very carefully in our design stages; creating educational games for children and teenagers requires a very different approach to creating replica of a deep-sea cable system for an informed and technically aware prospective client. Below are some examples of particularly successful interactive models we have produced.

 

– Western Power Distribution ‘Project Falcon’ Models

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This set of stylish, highly graphic models show various methods for supplying power to residential and commercial areas and communicate the benefits these systems offer in the event of a power failure.

 

– Crystalfish Communications Biomass Game

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The Biomass game teaches the user about the separate stages of biomass energy generation in an industrial setting. Each stage in the process can be activated; only when the stages are activated in the right sequence will the generator ‘work’ and output energy to the grid.

 

– EDF Energy Reactor Demonstrator

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One of our most popular units, this interactive gives an overview of the process of energy generation in a gas-cooled reactor. The highly graphic style of the front panel leads the viewer through the various stages of the process, while the user can raise or lower the ‘control rods’ in the reactor core generate more or less energy. The lights in the stylized city scene illuminate accordingly.

 

– BDP Tactile Model

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This crisp and graphic model is designed to be perceived almost exclusively by touch as a public engagement model for the visually impaired. The internal walls of the scheme are represented as distinctive ridges, and areas such as pedestrian crossings and paved areas are represented with different engraved surface textures. The model includes 3D printed Braille labels highlighting key features.

 

– Recycling Displays Micro MRF

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Our sister company, Recycling Displays, produces engaging interactives specifically for the recycling sector. Based on the popularity of the Mini MRF, a mechanical waste sorting game, we produced the Micro MRF, a more compact, highly portable variant for a wider range of scenarios.

 

– Project Splatter Otter Interactive

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As gory as it is informative, the Otter Interactive was part of Project Splatter, an initiative to quantify the nation’s roadkill by encouraging members of the public to give feedback via social media. This data can be used to identify animal death blackspots and also analyse the impact of traffic on British wildlife. The Otter Interactive formed part of display at the Science Museum.

 

– Zodiac Airline Mockup Seating

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These impressive models are working prototypes; while the screens are not real, the models have the same level of functionality as a production item, from an adjustable incline to the complex multi-hinged mechanism that allows the eating tray to fold out.

 

“INTERACTIVE MODELS CAN BE CRUCIAL IN DEMONSTRATING THE BENEFITS OF A NEW PRODUCT TO INVESTORS, CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS AND ASSIST THE TRANSITION FROM DESIGN PROCESS TO MARKET.”

 

As demonstrated in these projects, interactivity has a broad range of applications, to achieve an equally broad range of goals. At Amalgam we offer a comprehensive service, from design, through to manufacture and the logistics of installation and takedown for larger exhibits.

 

Head to Our Work to see more of what we’re capable of or Get In Touch to discuss your project.