Apparition: Crowdsourced User Interfaces That Come To Life As You Sketch Them

Walter Lasecki, Juho Kim, Nicholas Rafter, Onkur Sen, Jeffrey Bigham, and Michael Bernstein
CHI: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2015
Prototyping allows designers to quickly iterate and gather feedback, but the time it takes to create even a Wizard-of-Oz prototype reduces the utility of the process. In this paper, we introduce crowdsourcing techniques and tools for prototyping interactive systems in the time it takes to describe the idea. Our Apparition system uses paid microtask crowds to make even hard-to-automate functions work immediately, allowing more fluid prototyping of interfaces that contain interactive elements and complex behaviors. As users sketch their interface and describe it aloud in natural language, crowd workers and sketch recognition algorithms translate the input into user interface elements, add animations, and provide Wizard-of-Oz functionality. We discuss how design teams can use our approach to reflect on prototypes or begin user studies within seconds, and how, over time, Apparition prototypes can become fully-implemented versions of the systems they simulate. Powering Apparition is the first self-coordinated, real-time crowdsourcing infrastructure. We anchor this in- frastructure on a new, lightweight write-locking mechanism that workers can use to signal their intentions to each other.

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