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“Open communication with clients is everything”

California, October 10th, 2018

Based in California, Vaylian Studios describes mainly itself as creators and storytellers, exploring how their clients are using immersive design and helping them to ideate, create and communicate with unique approaches – working with VR experiences and AR applications, among many platforms.

Vaylian’s clients range from major automakers and their ad agencies to museums, and from professional sports teams to tourism boards and hotel/convention services groups. Video production, experimental design, visual effects and 3D production are some of the core elements of its business.

In an interview with TIA, Greg Glass, Director of business development at the agency, described the agency’s role and path so far, highlighting the important role of immersive design plays on their daily work.

How would you describe your agency in a few words?

Vaylian is really a creative studio/agency – with more than 40+ years of combined entertainment, television, feature film, commercial production and visual effects experience. We are an advanced digital media studio that specializes in the creation of bespoke immersive experiences and applications for brand
marketing/experiential marketing and B2B/B2C enterprise applications. We work for both clients directly and through traditional ad/experiential agencies and works with all forms of hardware/software/delivery systems, as well as integrates with IoT and the Cloud.

How do you define UX design?

Since we are in the immersive media space, we design in 3D, virtual, and augmented worlds –– which really takes UX design to new and further levels. That means spatial awareness, interaction with hand gestures, voice commands, among others. In a nutshell, immersive technology user experience design is more akin to creating a ride at Disneyland than it does web or app UX design.

What is your design process? Describe what methods you follow

We tackle design/problems by looking at the 360-degree view of the human journey, understanding all aspects of how the tech intersects with the person who will use the product, so it functions naturally. We remove constraints of thinking of design in 2D space and come at it with full awareness of merging the physical and digital worlds to interact seamlessly.

How do you prioritize which product features to keep or discard?

Because we come from entertainment storytelling and VFX, our top concern is always protecting the story and the narrative across the functionality of any immersive application we design/build. We present our clients with detailed storyboards and UX design flow charts well in advance of the build process. We really make the decisions about product features before we are at the point where we have to make keep vs discard decisions.

How do you work design taking into account your target and users?

The story and narrative, along with the UX and functionality, are 100% designed based on the client’s input for the use case, target user, user environment and use-over-time. If the user is a 12-18-year-old boy, our UX design may be completely different than if our user is a 50+ female. We adapt the interfaces, controls, and level of “gamification” to the target audience and the use case environment.

Why do you choose to focus on immersive media?

Coming from entertainment, commercial production and VFX, we began taking calls from clients wanting to understand immersive media back in 2015. Using our VFX background, we were able to quickly apply our knowledge base to creating early workflows for 360-degree video. It became clear by the end of 2016 that immersive media was the direction that we wanted to go. We were lucky to have big clients like Ford Motor Company, Johnson Controls and Michelin that wanted to experiment with immersive media early on. That was a huge help in our development.

The client is upset with a particular element of design that you have done. They believe that you have not created what they asked for. How would you handle this?

Vaylian has been lucky enough to avoid this problem. The large amount of work we do upfront with the client in terms of storyboarding the narrative and flow charting the UX / gamification of the application allows us to get the client to sign off on everything well in advance of the build. The next step to avoiding this problem is to have regular UX feature reviews with the client. By doing these things, we stay on the same page through the design. Now, if they change their mind and want something different, we simply sit down, discuss the re-design and the budget/timeline for it, and then come to an agreement on next steps. Open communication with clients is everything.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Our creative director would love to design homes, buildings and large installations. I would love to be a mountain guide.

Thanks Greg!

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