Serendipitous Family Stories


Storytelling and sharing family histories are important parts of what it means to “be” a family. Based on results from a study on intergenerational communication over a distance conducted by Motorola Applied Research Center at Schaumburg (IL), the Serendipitous Family Stories system has been created. I worked as a User Experience summer intern under the supervision of my mentor at the Motorola User Experience Research Team to create a functional prototype of this service. It comprises of a web-based story creation interface, Android story client and story server components. The service allows family members to create visual and audio stories about places of importance in their lives and for their relatives to discover them serendipitously as they go about their lives.

Update: Launch of service as public beta

An enhanced implementation of this system has been launched recently as public beta in the Android market. Kindly visit the following links for details: Mobile Service
Download Android Client

Usability study

In a pilot usability study, the intuitiveness of the functional prototype was supported when 2 users were able to create 10 stories with 11 clips in 30 minutes.

Internship Recognition

Based on my internship project, a patent was filed at the US Patent office recently where I have been recognized as a co-inventor. I received an IP Award from Motorola because of this achievement (probably the only intern to have received such an honor). Besides this, I was also a member of a multi-disciplinary team of interns that became runner-up in the 'Motorola Intern Apprentice Competition 2010'. We collaborated from different geographic locations to come up with a concept titled "There is no 'I' in Motorola". We earned this honor amongst Motorola's 325 interns this summer in 20 locations from over 100 universities represented.


Design process

Implementation technologies

Screenshots (internship prototype)

Figure: The 'serendipitious' user experience.

Figure: The Android application allows friends and family to receive notfications when they approach the location of a story that is shared with them. Users can then watch the video of any story that is unlocked.

Figure: The web interface allows users to record video stories and save them in a place on a map. Users first create a new story (left), then choose a location (center) and finally record their video (right) to create a new story.

Screenshots ( public beta)

Figure: Users have the option to sign-up using their Facebook ID.

Figure: The steps of video story creation and discovery through the enhanced application.

Figure: Users are provided a 'hint'about the rough cardinal direction of the nearest unlocked story. Already unlocked stories can be replayed irrespective of location.

Figure: The enhanced android application allows users to record video stories and save them in a place on a map.