Minnesota State Arts Board

Designing a digital experience for history lovers
that helps them interact with the past.

The Situation

As a recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board, I was required to design an experience for community members to engage them with the work being funded.



I proposed to create a walking tour that would introduce history lovers to locations referenced in my project, which is based on a journal written in 1921.

Deep Dive
Comparative Analysis
Usability Study
High Fidelity Prototypes
Interactive Prototypes

Talking to history buffs

Some of the things I heard were that bad walking tours feel like a checklist to complete and don’t let participants engage in the surroundings.

“The least enjoyable tours don’t foster an appreciation for the walk itself. The best ones leave room for things to happen.”

— Andy

Instead what history lovers really like is the process of exploring history. They want experiences like tours to give them them the chance to do that.

“When I look at old photographs, I always want to see more. I want to see behind the buildings, to see different angles…I want to be an investigator.”

— Beth


How could I create an immersive digital experience that helps participants explore the physical world at their own pace and uncover things as they go?


My solution is walking tour app that uses locations from the graphic novel as a way to frame an exploratory experience for people. It is organized by general locations that ask participants to arrive at a start point but lets them uncover their own path from there.

How it Works

Based on user research, I wanted to avoid an experience that made participants feel like they were performing a checklist. So instead they scan their surroundings with their phone, choose from points on the screen look interesting to them and go from there.