Interaction Design Process Blog
“The heart of interaction design is designing interaction. But what does that mean? It means deciding what functionality exists in the product, and how it behaves when a human uses it, as well as how it is presented to the human so s/he can understand it”
During our second sprint, we touched base on the different kinds of UX, specifically Interactive Design or Ix. Interactive Design is defined as a user-oriented field of study that focuses on meaningful communication of media through collaborative processes between people and technology. Firstly, we began by brainstorming a variety of animals and environments. There proved to be a vast array of all types of species (domestic, wild, amphibian) that all inhabited different environments, such as oceans, forests, and city dwellers. Secondly, we were asked to brainstorm an array of varying consumers, such as a suburban father, a child, or a jogger.
Finally, we were given the task of adjoining an animal and a specific target consumer, and developing a prototype app that would fit their needs. There are various needs, such as joggers/campers trying to prevent and locate bears, and children finding ducks. I chose the consumer children, and the animal ducks. The purpose in my app would be to aid children to learn more about ducks and how pollution effects their natural habitats. This app would prove beneficial both during science projects and in use everyday proving the importance of the preservation of nature and climate.
I included features such as navigation that took you to places you visited earlier so that kids could easily find their way back to document ducks in that area compared to another, potentially more polluted part of town. I thought this was a useful feature as it aided children in understanding the benefits of keeping a variable constant during an experiment. As I wanted this app to be utilized as a fun educational tool, I thought this was easy to grasp for intermediate users (such as elementary aged children, my target consumer).
An additional feature that was useful was the ability to connect with fellow users nearby, and potentially battle with them as well as view their achievements in comparison to your own. Users were encouraged to continue to participate by getting daily challenges and incentives to be above in stats and achievements compared to their friends, whom collected data will also be linked to the achievement board in numerical order. I thought these features were important in including because this alleviated the app from feeling like a boring educational app, and gave a sense of familiarity and friendly competition among users.
We were given the task to input all of these features onto an app prototype developer called Marvel. This was the easy part. Sort- of. Quickly, I realized that many of my sketches did lacked basic functions to allow backtracking, and had to go back and edit my slides. This proved that putting your ideas onto a usable platform is never what you expect on the first go. It took me a couple of times to get my ideas to transfer onto the paper (well, app).
This was incredibly eyeopening as I quickly realized that even the most basic of features were incredibly time consuming. I realized that making everything user-friendly even for simply a child was a huge task I completely underestimated.
I found myself contemplating a lot whether a feature was too easy or too difficult for the child to understand. But like I am realizing quickly in this class, we must stay open minded at all times during the making of a product, no matter how narrow the target consumer we have is. We should be able to satiate and meet as many of our consumers and others needs as possible with our product in a user-friendly and meaningful connection. In the future, I will not wait in tackling the interaction design of a prototype as I had, and will incorporate useful features that are simple, but not simplistic.