2018 / Huawei

Interactive Exhibit - DIGIX 2018

June 2018 - September 2018

10 weeks

My Role

Interaction & Exhibit Design


Bokai Tian, Leon Zhang, Yang Zheng, Amy Yang

Project Overview

When I interned at Uniway Communications Group, my proposed design for Huawei's interactive exhibit won the project bid and was successfully installed in September 2018 as seen in the video above and images below.

The exhibit was successfully installed in late 2018 and has been a staple yearly exhibit for Huawei ever since.
Click below to view the exhibit showcase video.

Full process walk through

1.0 Research

1.1 Project Briefing:

Huawei, one of the largest IT companies in China wanted an interactive pop-up exhibit known as DIGIX to promote their digital services and appeal to the millennial audience.

During the project brief, our client emphasized their desires of an original, modern, and extremely interactive pop-up exhibit that highlighted and promoted their online services shown below.

1.2 Initial Design Thinking:

To ensure the bid satisfied the client and after deeply developing the intended audience, I drafted some key points.

Although this bidding process was under NDA at the time, I was able to conduct secondary research based on our target audience of millennials, Huawei users, and people passing by the exhibit. The reason behind building this exhibit was to have a strong social media influence, develop a cool factor around Huawei, and create visual branding.

1.3 Interview & Survey of College Students:

My initial research started with creating a quick and easy survey for young adults and college students between ages 17-21 to determine what best represented youth and their energy.

Out of the thirty responses, top responses included: exploration, freedom, adventure, beauty and vibrant colors. These keywords were very useful since designing an impactful product or exhibit means narrowing down the scope first.

1.4 Synthesized Connections to Brief:

With keywords drawn from the research, it was important to relate those back to the services our client wanted us to showcase in the exhibit. This is similar to creating a design requirement in a more traditional UX project. However, in a project bid it is very different since you are explaining to your client why they should believe these features are justifiable from the research conducted.

1.5 My proposed problem statement:

Interaction Design Question: How might we design an interactive exhibit that promotes eight of Huawei's online apps and services targeting a millennial audience?
Visual Design Challenge: To create a unique and eye catching design with the use of vibrant colors without being messy or unprofessional, and being consistent with Huawei's overall branding.

2.0 Design

2.1 Ideation & CO-Design with Stakeholders:

Based on the above problem statement and synthesized connections to brief, a secondary brief was arranged to brainstorm with the clients. I used mind maps for the initial ideas thrown out by the client to identify designs that might be interesting to them. A further round of ideation based on their suggestions was discussed with the client before creating prototype designs.

Key takeaways for the exterior:

  • Recharge as overall theme
  • Exhibit should represent a charging station
  • The pop-up exhibit should use a shipping container as the exterior to not only promote cleanliness and sustainability, but also to appeal to the millennial audience due to the popularity of the PUBG video game in China.

2.2 Initial Sketches:

An initial sketch was quickly ditched out in front of the client to show an understanding of their vision before the conclusion of the briefing.

2.3 Exterior Mockups:

This first version of the exterior design was based heavily on what the client suggested. One key design philosophy for this project was to make an exhibit that was great for millennials to take photos anywhere. By having an extremely "photogenic" wall on both the interior and exterior, it would be a great way to organically promote the exhibit for the client.

Mock up analysis of how clients desires were shown visually on the exterior of the exhibit

2.4 Interior Mockups:

The interior was designed based on ideas from the creative team and handed to the client upon completion for feedback. Following our synthesized insights and problem statement closely, the bright color theme was not only vibrant but also offered many photo opportunities, especially for selfies. This selfie theme was further emphasized with the central installation of the large mock up phones showcasing applications and products our client desires.

Key highlights for the interior:

  • Vibrant color scheme, pink and teal are very popular colors for social media pictures.
  • Special booths where audience members can have a personal experience that relates and promotes one of Huawei's online services.
  • Large scale Huawei phones in the middle that display interesting facts and information about the exhibit and each section.

3.0 Testing

Due to the nature of this project, traditional usability testing is impossible. However, to capture the essence of design thinking, I proposed redesigns based on both client feedback and critique from other designers at the firm.

3.1 Client Feedback

Although the client was very pleased with our design, a lot of feedback was given.

  • The client liked the shipping container design but the Huawei and DIGIX logos needed to be bigger and better incorporated.
  • A more simplistic and clean exterior was also desired.
  • The client voiced concerns about the recharging theme, believing it might be confusing and not tie back to the overall theme of promoting their online services.
  • Major redesigns were asked for the interior.
  • The client desires a more vibrant and eye-catching color, but the sections and different areas must be clearly defined, therefore the line work on the floor was confusing.
  • A new central attraction was also required since they disliked the big phone screens.

3.2 Designer Critique

After consulting with my teammates, we decided the interior needed to be completely redesigned. We wanted to draw more inspiration from the kaleidoscope as it was very colorful and wanted to incorporate the design onto the floor with clear sections to replace the original subway inspired floors.

To emphasize the interactions of the exhibit, we created mockups of different physical public interactions. We ended up using the idea of stacking large boxes.

3.3 My Proposed Redesigns

Due to the extremely short time frame we were given to design the final project bid, my first priority was to finalize the color scheme. I chose the vibrant and energetic colors that would not look messy or distracting.

This was very challenging because designers are often taught to limit their color palettes, but for the sake of this project, I had to "go crazy" with rainbow colors while keeping it aesthetic and consistent.

The final results were varied enough to represent each section and online service independently but also complimented each other as a whole to meet the client’s vision.

4.0 Final Deliverable

4.1 Exterior Redesigned

  • Each exterior wall is utilized to its fullest, while being unique enough to allow any person passing by to gain an interest.
  • Large HD screens promoted Huawei's online services and made sure to highlight the client's desires.
  • A large DIGIX sign was placed near the exit to make sure the audience exiting the exhibit will surely see it.
  • This gave everyone an easy way to take a picture with the DIGIX sign.
  • The bold Huawei red was also much more identifiable than the prototype. The large logo and red arrow cut out created a design aesthetic that people could use as a photo background, further pushing our design philosophy that every corner of this exhibit is "photogenic".
Keeping in mind the large population of China, the large LED screen displayed information that was visible to all even if the exhibit became overcrowded.

4.2 Interior Redesigned

The entire interior of the exhibit was thoughtfully divided into seven sections, each representing one of Huawei's eight online services the client wished to promote.

There was also one central installation for the audience to interact with. Take a look at the bird's eye view of the tour below.
1# The Entrance

Large glass sliding doors allow users to have a glimpse of the vibrant and eye catching interior from the outside. These doors were designed to be very wide to ensure the users would have a smooth experience entering the exhibit.

2# Personal Theme

Use the NFC scanner to quickly upload one of your best photos you wish to share with the world. (The host will make sure it is appropriate)

3# Online Reading

Listen to a short audio book with noise canceling headphones and write down your favorite word from the story.

4# Digital Travel

Enter the bus, the host will take a picture of your whole group while the program generates a random fictional location as the background.

Central Installation

Playable boxes, rearrange the boxes and take pictures with it. Each box has a logo of one online service.

5# Personal Theater

Watch a short clip from a famous movie with two other audience members by putting your head into the box. The quickest person to answer what movie it is completes the quest.

6# Digital Store

Experience different apps offered through the digital store.

7# Super Star Show

Create your own song cover by singing in a high quality sound cancelling audio booth with a professional mic and equipment.

Super Star Show Interior

Create your own song cover by singing in a high quality sound cancelling audio booth with professional mic and equipment.

8# Exit (Gift Shop)

Trade in a small reward depending on how many quests you are able to complete or buy a DIGIX branded souvenir before leaving.

4.3 Interactive Exhibit Experience

Users may use the DIGIX website to quickly scan and enter the exhibit using NFC technology. During the tour of the exhibit, each area has a unique zone and a fun interactive quest for the user to complete. Once completed, the user may scan their phones using the NFC technology to finish the quest.

The vending station promoted one of our client's key online paying services. Users may use it to purchase small souvenirs, snacks or beverages.

4.4 It looks just as good in real life

The DIGIX exhibit was successfully installed September of 2018. It was very well reviewed. As an exhibit designer, it was rewarding to see my own design come to life while being almost entirely consistent with my proposed digital rendering.