We are excited to invite you to a hands-on AR/VR prototyping course this year at CHI 2019. AR/VR technologies are starting to disrupt our everyday experiences and they are playing an increasingly important role in interaction design. This course is brought to you by the University of Michigan School of Information‘s Information Interaction Lab with Michael Nebeling as your instructor. Join us to learn more about ways of incorporating AR/VR design activities into existing courses, workshops, and student design jams! The course will introduce you to state-of-the-art AR/VR prototyping methods and tools including ProtoAR, which we recently presented at CHI 2018 and are currently preparing for public release.

This CHI 2019 course introduces participants to rapid prototyping techniques for augmented reality and virtual reality interfaces. Participants will learn about both physical prototyping with paper and Play-Doh as well as digital prototyping via new visual authoring tools for AR/VR.

Read the full CHI 2019 course proposal here

The course instructor, Michael Nebeling, has previously taught the techniques to broad student audiences with a wide variety of non-technical backgrounds, including design, architecture, business, medicine, education, and psychology, who shared a common interest in user experience and interaction design. The course is targeted at non-technical audiences including HCI practitioners, user experience researchers, and interaction design professionals and students.

Learn more about the instructor here

Course Overview

The course is structured into four sessions. After an introduction to AR/VR prototyping principles and materials, the next two sessions are hands-on, allowing participants to practice new physical and digital prototyping techniques. These techniques use a combination of new paper-based AR/VR design templates and smartphone-based capture and replay tools, adapting Wizard of Oz for AR/VR design. The fourth and final session will allow participants to test and critique each other’s prototypes while checking against emerging design principles and guidelines.

A useful byproduct of the course will be a small portfolio piece of a first AR/VR interface designed iteratively and collaboratively in teams.

Intended Audience

The techniques are tried-and-tested with teams of 4–5 and audiences of up to 40 participants. Intended audiences include not only AR/VR researchers and designers, but also HCI practitioners, and user experience and interaction design professionals and students.

The instructor is experienced teaching the techniques to a broad student body with a wide variety of non-technical backgrounds, including design, architecture, medicine, education, and psychology, in addition to HCI and computer science. While initially developed over a series of student design jams in his research lab, the instructor regularly teaches the techniques in his interaction design courses at UMSI at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The instructor developed the materials further into its own AR/VR focused application design studio course.

The instructor has also shared the techniques and tools with many researchers and practitioners who visited his lab. While non-technical designers are the primary target group, even advanced AR/VR researchers found a lot of value in the new rapid prototyping techniques and tools.


The course is designed for non-technical audiences. Participants with basic knowledge in HCI, user experience, and interaction design will find the contents of this course accessible. There is no need for programming. However, for more advanced participants, the instructor will also be able to share tips and resources, including information on how the techniques could be incorporated with advanced AR/VR development workflows with tools like Unity.

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