Travel doesn't always go according to plan. Plans change, people bail, and things are not always as they seem. With Avenue, I want people's expectations to meet reality.
What it does
Avenue is short term rental application that allows user to view destinations in VR -- before they book. No surprises, no unexpected changes, and an immersive viewing experience to back it up. Whether you want to explore new areas or plan a trip, Avenue lets you experience it like never before.
How I built it
The 360 photos of the rooms were taken at several AirBnB's througout Washington, DC using Google "StreeView" application. Upon kickoff, I began searching for listings that I found suitable for the demo. Saturday morning, I reached out to a number of hosts and explained my idea. I designed the interface for Avenue in Photoshop. Using Tether as a UI framework, I experimented with several different ways of presenting the necessary information before settling on a "swipe" interface. I created an interactive prototype of the application in Invision, and using animations and overlays, I tried to improve the responsiveness of the design.
Challenges I ran into
The core feature of the platform, the ability to view rooms in 360 degrees proved to be the most difficult feature to execute. My original plan was to link to the photospheres directly in the Google Streetview application, but through several hours of trial, error, and excessive amounts of chickfila sauce, I realized that wouldn't work. Ultimately, I ended up rendering out each photosphere as an equirectangular video in order to link directly to the corresponding rooms. Additionally, iOS versions of Youtube app do not support Cardboard 3d mode, but just 360 degree video.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm proud of the design that I ended completing in the amount of time given. Although there is lots of room for improvement, I felt personally satisfied by how the interface and interactivity of the project turned out.
What I learned
iOS is horrendous for testing VR applications. No matter how short a video is, After Effects can figure out a way to complicate it.
What's next for Avenue
Bootstrapping a working MVP for mobile, then shifting into developing a dedicated VR interface. With Avenue, I want to change the way people discover new travel destinations. Take a look around. It's just the beginning.