Ho Jeng AR
Bringing smiles to the people of Hong Kong with the help of augmented reality 

UX / UI design
Gamification design
Interaction design


During lockdown, the city of Hong Kong and its residents were in need of a bit of joy more than ever. We partnered with the Google Pi team to create ‘Ho Jeng AR’, a mobile app that combines machine learning, AR, and a rabble of playful characters to remember and celebrate the city’s wonderful culture.

Using the app, residents are encouraged to explore and uncover characters hiding within key cultural objects across the city. Once found they can be placed in space using AR, played with, and shared with others. To achieve this, we collaborated with formidable teams at Google, Animade, and Bit Studio.


Leni, the trusted companion

Leni is the face of Ho Jeng’s machine learning. Leni was taught (Bit Studio) to accurately recognize six undeniable Hong Kong staples, one to unlock each character. When in 'scan mode', Leni is always on the lookout for special objects and when one does draw near — he struggles to contain his excitement. We designed Leni to be a friendly companion who guides users through their journey.

Coins, challenges, and the Joy Store

Beyond the motivation to collect the whole set of characters, we introduced gamification methods to allow the user to discover more, the more they interact. In the process, we allowed users to earn hearts, an in-game currency that users could earn by playing with characters until they were sent into a spin! We worked with Animade to choreograph unique animations for each character. Users were able to spend these hearts in our Joy Store on new character skins and additional multiplayer options. 

Additionally, we created a series of challenges for users to complete including engagement and sharing challenges. Their progress was documented in the app.


UI & motion prototyping

To capture the fun and joy our characters express in UI, we crafted a detailed library of cheerful icons at various character states and conducted focused experiments on important interactions with motion design.


The Team

Matthew Rice Design director
Christoph Lorenzi Technical Director
Alex Thurman UX & UI designer
Kin Man Leung UX & UI designer

Suan Huang Creative technologist
Eddie Azadi Creative director

Ed Barrett Creative director
Tom Judd Creative director
Jim Wheeler Designer
Georgie Lister-Fell Product manager

Bit Studio
Boon Panichprecha Creative technologist
Pye Chinagarn Developer

© Alexander Thurman 2022