Building an AR App for Set Designers

Our client was UBC Film and Theatre in collaboration with Arts Club Theatre.

Our goal was to prototype an Augmented Reality (AR) pipeline to demonstrate one or more alternative ways that set designers can use an AR app for stage design to help them visualize life-sized set designs and share them with others in a fast and cost-effective way.

UBC Film and Theatre & Arts Club Theatre
Vancouver, Canada
Ui/UX DESIGN, product design, App design
Design SprintPMUX

Some Motivations

we brainstormed

Set design: Set designers use paper maquettes to show the set to others, which can take up too much time and money, should anything need to be adjusted. How could we make their work progress more efficient?

Vision Alignment: Set designers have a vision that might not be perfectly aligned with a director’s. Oftentimes, a maquette is presented after the set designer and director have an overall agreement on how it will look and feel. The ability to create a life-sized AR maquette may inspire both to make changes earlier, in real-time and lead to a more efficient creative process.

Target Problem (as per client/partner meeting)
Set designers who want to visualize their ideas for the set design earlier, provide a ‘virtual maquette’ in different physical environments at different sizes and work in the initial stages of a collaboration with the director more effectively.

User Journey

The main pain points of the app were:
It requires an AR compatible device
It needs a tutorial to teach users

The main opportunities for the app were:
Speeds up a set designer’s work process
Instant visualization of a Virtual Maquette
Allows designs to be shared remotely

User Flow

The user flow shows the steps that the user goes through while using the app. After the user downloads it, they will see the Welcome Frame. By tapping the screen, they will be led to the Tutorial frame. Once they finish the action from the tutorial, it will automatically take the user to the next tutorial action, until they finish it. When the user finishes the tutorial steps, the full functionality of the app becomes available.


To have a low-fidelity, simplified outline of using the app, I created a wireframe by Sketch. We showed the layouts to our programmers first so they could start building the basic structure.


As none of our team members have a set design background, this project was a challenge. We had to interview the set designers to understand more about the process of designing a set. Luckily, the client was incredibly helpful and told us about his experiences and whenever we needed to clarify some points, he always responded quickly.

What did we learn in this project? We gained set design knowledge, learned new tools such as Sketchup, and most of the team members did the user experience for the design process together, such as persona and user journey map. We understood what the pain points and emotional touch points were so that we could design a better platform for this project. I believed StageAR would be an excellent tool for set designers in the near future.

PM TakeAways

It is not easy to ask for help from others. I tried to push my team members to ask advice whenever “Stand Up,” or I had to approach to them “what are you working on?”, “how long did you work on this task?”, “if the issue is here for a while, you might need help from others.”, Or “can you explain what the issue is now, so I can ask someone who knows the answer?”. I understood it would be hard to ask in the beginning. Nevertheless, once they started to ask, that couldn’t be easier.