Designing an experience that connects at home party planners with safe and user friendly aerial event entertainment.
Operating pyrotechnic displays have become an increasing environmental and safety concern due to the effects of climate change and ease of access. Drier conditions have made vegetation more combustible during warmer months, resulting in a increased frequency of wildfires. Between 2014 and 2018, use of pyrotechnic devices were linked to 59% of all forest/brush fires in the United States  and firework exhaust at large celebrations have to ability to cause a short term increase in the Air Quality Index severity in urban centres . Misuse of pyrotechnics can also have fatal results for those lacking experience using them .
Governments and corporations are looking to alternatives to help prevent further cause for concerns with pyrotechnics. New innovations with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV) technology has some companies putting on drone shows which produce no harmful exhausts and are safer to operate. As well, drones benefit from being low noise and having a programmable path in space, thus are easier to employ in various settings.
El Dorado fire in California caused by pyrotechnic explosion at a gender reveal party.
“How might we improve access to alternative forms of aerial entertainment in order to compel users to move away from traditional pyrotechnics?”
The goal of my research will focus on connecting key users to alternative aerial entertainment as a way to reduce incidents caused by pyrotechnics without eliminating the “Wow!”, factor of aerial entertainment in general. Along with those negatively affected by pyrotechnics (humans, animals, vegetation), stakeholders include everyday party planners (from gender reveals to backyard birthday parties) who would choose aerial entertainment as a medium for celebration.
To reduce the use of pyrotechnics by consumers, I created a platform that will connect users with services that provide different form or forms of aerial entertainment. This will allow users to browse, customize, and order, an experience plus receive remote support directly from a vendor.
I believe my user base has a need to host exciting events that are safe and environmentally friendly. These needs can be solved with alternative aerial technologies (drones, lasers). These will be household party planners or small scale event planners (wedding, gender reveals).
…my users have a need to host exciting events that are safe and environmentally friendly. These needs can be solved with alternative aerial technologies (drones, lasers). These will be household party planners or small scale event planners (wedding, gender reveals).
The "Wow" Factor...
…this is what the user wants. Activating a visually unique and entertaining experience, without the concerns of safety and environmental hazards. The availability of realtime support will help the user focus on the outcome of their event.
…will help market this platform to gain users. Events are spectacles, and even more special when they are your own! Why not post a video of your own drone show to Instagram?
This platform will rely mainly on fees collected by users purchasing an experience from a vendor. This is like the Uber model. Users will pay for a service, and funds are split between the vendor and developer.
Traditional event planning companies in the pyrotechnic market. They can easily be found using online search engines or word-of-mouth.
Having an ease of access to “Wow” factor technology will allow this application to rule a the niche industry of this platform where few competitors exist.
Being too niche a product with a small customer base.
Users not adopting the platform, being “too techy”.
How to solve these...
Delivery of service of hardware; convenience.
Ability for users to order preloaded devices and content.
Access to remote support in app.
Easy as flicking a switch.
Validating Assumptions and Research Plan
Interviews and Surveys
Zoom interviews and Google forms were used to gather information on users concern with pyrotechnics and events in general.
Knowing their concerns help to create a better understanding of a users willingness too move to alternative aerial entertainment, either due to the environmental factors or simply the “Wow” factor associated with new forms of entertainment. As well, having info on what type of events they plan/attend will better let me know who and what I’m branding my solution for.
Questions areas included:
-Potential user opinion on pyrotechnics (entertainment value, environmental issues, ect.).
-Potential user views on setting up personal events.
-Data on potential users personal events so I know where this problem space could exist.
-Data on comfortability working with technology.
Potential user opinion to alternatives; do people really want to shift?
Interviews were conducted January 30-31, 2021.
Secondary User Research
Investigation of alternate aerial entertainment solutions, seeing how well they trend on media websites. This will help reinforce the marketability of this product. While ‘views’ are not always a good indicator of products success, this particular area relies on visual entertainment for users.
The ability for non-users to use a recording device to share this form of entertainment should make it easily marketable. Example: “The selfie moment”.
Insights from Research
People like the ambience of fireworks, but dislike everything else
People like experiencing firework aesthetically, especially when accompanied by an appropriate soundtrack or SFX.
However, the rest of the experience is generally viewed negatively. This being crowds at large events, potential for fires and property damage, animal distress, leftover mortar casings, exhaust smoke, and injury.
People are interested in alternatives to pyrotechnics
Potential users seemed to like drone shows, projection mapping, and laser shows as alternatives.
There are lots of events and artists doing this currently. Potential users are aware of this.
People like hosting smaller, more casual parties at home
People seemed to like organizing lower effort parties from home (things like BBQs and birthday parties), and few big events that required peripherals.
There is a correlation to what could be large scale events to those with houses. High-rise apartments lack party space.
From the user’s insights, a task flow was derived for what user would mainly be trying to accomplish. This task has the user book a drone show event for Canada Day. Starting from the home screen, the users will select a vendor, select an experience type, select a package, confirm a delivery day for hardware’s, then make the purchase.
A paper prototype was created help visualize the flow of the UI before assembling a digital wireframe. This allowed for more rapid assembly and understanding of what components would be needed for the next iteration.
Users tests were done after the completion of each prototype. Participants would need to complete six task using the prototype, and failure to complete a task would be recorded as a fail. Updates were carried over to the next iteration.
-Identify elements on the Home page and create a new event.
-Choose a vendor.
-Choose an experience.
-Pick a day on the Calendar.
-Pay for your event.
-Identify what has changed on the Home page.
Digital (First version)
Participants noted that this iteration’s navigation felt smooth, with the only major navigation issue being the lack of a back button on some of the screens. Finding selections during tasks did not seem to be a cause for concern.
Identifying and naming some elements, particularly on the Vendor Screen and Calendar Modal, was a cause for some confusion and caused task failures.
Some buttons appeared too small for some users and needed to be changed.
Sketch to Iteration
Digital (Second version)
Participants pass rate on this iteration slightly improved with major issues from before resolved. Vendor Screen was easier to understand and the Calendar Modal’s dates no longer ambiguous.
This round of testing revealed participants were wanting more information on features connected to the apps backend (payment systems and ToS opt in). As well, some sizing and object highlighting concerns were brought up.
Digital (Third version)
Final updates were mainly quick fixes as opposed to entire redo’s of screens. Since the navigation was noted as being smooth, I avoid doing any large overhauls of the existing flow between screens.
I worked with five keywords to develop the visual identity of my application. These keywords reflect the mood and tone of live events.
Using the keywords in combination with the problem space, I developed a moodboard of images, type, and colour as a basis for the UI and branding of my final product.
Product Name and Logo
Referencing my mood board and problem space I came up with possible names for my application. I noticed a common patterns of brightness, elevation, and particles in my mood board. In the end I settled on Burst as it relates to the expansive and outward trajectory of energetic materials.
Various logos were created using the potential application name. This is where I decided to chose Burst as its visual communications the moodboard best.
Typography and Colour Palette
Again, taking from my mood board I derived a bright colour palette. As I want to keep the app optimal to be used at night (when bright events occur) I chose to design Burst in Dark Mode. I incorporated orange as the main colour to reflect the theme of radiance and energy with Burst. It is used sparingly however, as it can easily overwhelm the eye if used in too many elements. Paired with neutral colours, the warmth of orange helps to draw the users eye to key elements. As well, black components appeared flat so to improve the material design I added shadows to card and add a Glass theme (slight gradient of greys to produce a shine effect).
I used Helvetica as Bursts typeface, mainly borrowed from existing apps on the Apple App Store.
To help improve the discoverability of Burst, a complimentary market page was created for the web (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera compatible). Potential users curious about the app can learn more about it in browser and be updated with any future developments with the dev team. The site is responsive for desktop and mobile.
Hypervsn Holographic Devices
To further develop the “Selfie Moment” and “Wow” factor of using Burst, tying in a content management system (CMS) can help users upload media recording of their event that can reused for marketing material. Holograms have been emerging as a high tech way to create high impact marketing material for pre recorded content. Users would be able to share their content on Hypervsn’s CMS for themselves or others at experiential marketing events.
Design Considerations and Future Impacts
While Burst serves a niche market, I believe that as potential users become aware of it, it will become an exciting alternative to event planning due to it’s ability for access to emerging technology. For the everyday consumer, a drone show is a massive one time purchase with alot of research needed beforehand. Burst makes this easier and somewhat affordable. Burst will need interconnectivity with other platforms to survive however, as I mention the “Wow” factor. People want to show off their events. A closed system this stagnates Burst value proposition, since events are made to be seen. Allowing users to video and upload their Christmas drone show direct through the app to YouTube or Instagram will not only create buzz, but allow Burst to market itself.