User research for presenting ancient villages in an AR app
Education & Culture
Insights & Concepts
Prototyping & Testing
Applied Methods

→ Qualitative user interviews
→ Competitor analysis
→ Unpacking frameworks
→ Creative brainstorming
→ Wireframing
→ Roadmapping
→ Co-creation workshop

Digital tools

2 months

The exhibition about the historic lake dwellings at today’s Sechseläutenplatz in Zurich are an almost unknown UNESCO-World Heritage site. 10 years after the nomination the city’s archaeologists now want to make the findings accessible to a wider audience through an AR app. Very little was known about what citizens and tourists expect from such application and how they would like to experience the 5000 years old village.
Qualitative research

Qualitative research

The qualitative research conducted was exploratory in nature to find out what people appreciate when they learn about historic information. The interviewees were approached at a couple of key locations in the city. During the conversations the focus was set on retrieving insights about past historical and cultural experiences, like participating in a virtual tour at a museum. We now understand that the presence of characters, graspable stories about living in the old town and showcasing traditions is what will make people stay in the app. Additionally, sound effects, real physical objects and “trying things out” is what citizens and tourists enjoy.


From the exploratory user research and empathy work we distilled meaningful insights. We identified reoccurring patterns and condensed these patterns in an analytical framework to drive a human-centred, insight-driven innovation process. The result? Two personas, Spontaneous Sarah and Adventurous Adrian, their journeys before and during the interaction with the app, and valuable insights about the preferred features and content of the application.

Creative brainstorming

The results of our analysis were taken to the creative workshop that was in place to determine the further scope of the project. During the one-day workshop the participants both ideated and decided on the specific elements that will be part of the application. Key to the success of this workshop was the fact that all stakeholders like archeologists, content creators, AR experts and the developing company participated.


The selected ideas where then rapidly prototyped and resulted in graspable wireframes. The process of projecting the individual imaginings of the ideas on one physical object helped the team to align and create a shared understanding of the final product. For the next steps we handed the project over to our partner Bitforge. Based on the concept and the wireframes they are currently coding the AR app.

"Through the explorative approach of this user research we were able to expand our horizon and retrieve a multitude of surprising insights. By synthesising these insights into relatable frameworks, the two personas, we did not only convince the city to look at their target audience differently. It also provided a valuable foundation for the collaboration with the developing company."

Daniel Perschy, Business Consultant at Spark Works


interviews with citizens, tourists and teachers


workshop participants


months till launch


Through the explorative and qualitative user research we have provided the project team of Stadt Zurich unexpected and surprising insights. These insights allowed them to decide on concrete features and the content for the augmented reality app. We closely collaborated with BitForge which implemented the app subsequently.

Download «pastZurich» here:
App Store
Google Play Store

Project Lead
Daniel Perschy
Senior Innovation Consultant
Daniel is academically trained in innovation management and business development and has previously gained industry experience within the banking and mining industry. He holds a MSc from Copenhagen Business School and a degree from Vienna University of Economics and Business. Innovation as a means of creative problem solving to benefit human, society and environment, requiring freedom, experimentability and diversity – this understanding is at heart when he collaborates with clients at Spark Works.
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