Stitch: Immersive News for Tablets

Master's Capstone Project, Intel and University of Washington · June 2014 – August 2014

with Alma Emadi, Aniket Handa, Carolyn Scoville, and Rijuta Trivedi

Interaction Design, Prototyping, Evaluation, Videography

Stitch is an immersive way to explore the news through 3D recreations of real-world spaces. Within the environments, displayed on a tablet, readers can explore the space, view content markers, and see the news as if they are there.

Our team was sponsored by Intel during this project to promote their RealSense technology in the news industry. We spent hundreds of hours extensively researching, prototyping, and testing our ideas to make Stitch a meaningful and non-obvious response to this challenge.

Stitch in Action.

This video prototype showcases our team's interactive prototype, built with Unity and web technologies.


We performed both primary and secondary research to understand the two problem spaces. This research phase included literature reviews, contextual inquiry at a local newspaper, heuristic evaluation of existing news apps, a focus group of news readers, and several expert interviews.

Our goal was to validate many of our assumptions about the problem space before even developing a concept. Below is a summary of our insights.

The publishing industry is exploring new business models as print ad revenue collapses. Even so, the experience of news content itself has not changed drastically.

Meanwhile, devices like Kinect and RealSense show great potential for 3D navigation, even on traditional screens. The current generation of 3D gestures are plagued by high latency, poor discoverability, and limited feedback, however.

Hence, we found that depth-sensing is best for capturing and reconstructing objects and spaces, while multi-touch is still very good for interacting with digital content. This led us to think of combining depth capture with immersive touch interfaces to give a better understanding of the news.

Publishing Industry Ad Revenue

Mitchell, A., & Page, D. (2014). The Revenue Picture for American Journalism, and How It Is Changing. Retrieved from Newspaper by Jonathan 'Jonnie' Butcher from The Noun Project.

Thinking about the benefits of collaboration, multi-touch, and interactive content, we proposed this design question:

How might we use emerging technologies to create an immersive, collaborative experience of the news?

We envisioned Stitch to be a system that immerses journalists and readers in a continuous conversation. There were many aspects to this, so we spent the majority of our time developing a clear vision for how readers would explore immersive news content on tablet devices.

Prototyping & Evaluation

Our team developed rapid prototypes for Stitch within just two weeks, plus two weeks of evaluation. (The entire project took four months.)

We grounded our design process for Stitch in research and user evaluation, using two rounds of usability testing with Wizard-of-Oz and interactive prototypes to improve our designs. Our design work focused on navigation, filtering of content, adding markers, and providing a clear visual display.

As part of our final project deliverables, we also produced a video prototype to share Stitch to the world.

Future Work

Given more time, there are many features we would add to the prototype, such as linking sections of the article to specific markers in an environment for greater integration, building and street labels, and the ability to manipulate markers by dragging and dropping them around the scene.

We envisioned Stitch as an entire system, so we would have loved to expand on several more parts of it. Throughout the project we discussed scene capture, community challenges, contribution incentives, and interfaces for curating and authoring immersive content as well.