Interaction Design Process Blog

What I Created

This week, our task was to create an application which would allow the general population to help scientists collect data about specific animal species in their environments. I chose to create an app which would encourage families with young children to record the different species of marine life they encountered while exploring tidepools at the beach. I call it “Tidepool Adventures”. Tidepool Adventures is an application that is designed for a younger audience, so I made data collecting easy by asking them the user to take pictures and videos of marine life, as well as allowing them to chose words from a wordbank while imputing textual data. I decided to include a page for the tide schedule because it necessary for the families to know the times of high and low tide on the days when they want to explore the tides. To motivate the children to continue to collect data, I created different levels, points, and rewards they can recieve depending on the amount of data they collect. This makes data collecting a game for the children, so they will want to keep doing it.

How I Did It

My first step in creating the app was chosing a stakeholder. I did this with my fellow interns. We wrote out on sticky notes as many different types of users as we could come up with that would be motivated to record data about animals to scientists, and then thought of different species that are possible to record. After coming up with an extremely wide variety of both users and species, I settled on families and marine life in tidepools at the beach because I felt that families would gain the most from an application involving exploring nature, and that they would be most motivated to collect this data for scientists. Then, I sketched out the different screens and features I was imagining using whiteboard markers, and created the flow of the app. My final step in the studio design process was creating a low fidelty prototype of Tidepool Adventures using notecards and the application Marvel.

Here, we are brainstorming potential animals and environments that our applications can collect data about as a class!
In this photo, my group is writng out different needs that we feel the users we selected would have while using our application.

Did I Have Fun?

I really enjoyed creating a low-fidelity prototype to figure out the interaction design. Creating a prototype allowed me to think through my design more thoroughly, and gave me the chance to bring my design to life. Marvel was very simple to use, and allowed me to see my design in a much more real way. Additionally, letting someone use my prototype on Marvel gave me a chance to get user feedback, and I got to hear first hand what they thought about my design choices. One problem I had while creating this prototype was that the person who tested it out had a lot of questions about my application that I could not answer because the design was so rough. The fact that the prototype is low-fidelity is good because as a designer you do not spend time hung up on little details. However, your sketches are harder for the people testing your prototype to interpret. I think it is important to think through your design thoroughly, even the aspects you are not necessairly drawing out, because they may be important information for whoever is testing your prototype.

When Will I Prototype Next?

As I previously stated, I believe that creating a low-fidelity prototype is very useful for figuring out the interaction design of an application. I will definitely create a prototype whenver I am coming up with designs for applications in the future, because it is easy and informative. Low-fidelity prototypes are great because they are simple and quick to produce. If you are making a more formal pitch for the creation of an application, it would be better to create more accurate representations of the screens of the app, using Photoshop or another program, that would make them more realistic. Having a polished product is important for a lot of users when they are testing an application, and important for investors when they want to see where their money is going. To sell a product, it must look finished, so you would need to display and interact with a higher quality prototype that takes more time to produce.

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