Sprint 1 — Interaction Design

For this week’s Sprint, the assignment was to design and prototype a simple smartphone application to support the practice citizen science.

My studio session brainstormed and designed applications that facilitate the contribution of data that could aid researchers in investigating various environmental issues, specifically the noise levels in public or educational environments.

My partner, Brent, and I brainstormed different locations and contexts for which noise levels were important to measure. We came up with study locations, construction sites, sports venues, parks, libraries, markets, malls, and more.
We narrowed down our ideas and each chose one idea; I chose to focus on study locations and Brent chose to focus on construction areas.

After we each had an idea to develop further, we brainstormed different ways that our application could measure noise levels, ways to include a geotagged photo, ways to allow for textual input, relevant wildcard features, and how we could incorporate motivation in our app to motivate users to return and use it.

With all of these elements in mind, we prototyped our application on paper and linked the wireframes using the Prototyping on Paper mobile application.

Demo of the Study Space application.

Reflection

Brainstorming ways to incorporate motivation into the application made me wonder: what motivate people to return and use an application? Do leadership boards and competition motivate people? If so, what type of users?

A challenge that I encountered was focusing on the aspect of citizen science and how they would use the application; I sometimes confused the users with the users that would potentially use the application to find study spaces on campus in comparison to the citizen scientists who would input data of study spaces.

Experience

Overall, I enjoyed this project because the aspect of creating low-fidelity prototype allowed for an idea to be conveyed effectively without having to have spent too much effort on perfecting the design. Prototyping on Paper (POP) made the prototyping process quick, simple, and efficient. It was interesting to focus on the citizen aspect of the application, as it is not a typical user in the mobile application market.

Also, I enjoyed brainstorming with partner because we were able to think of many different ideas and narrow it down from there instead of starting with a limited amount of ideas. The wildcard feature was also easier to polish with a partner to consult for their opinion.

Importance

Creating low-fidelity prototypes is important when it comes to demonstrating an idea in a time-efficient and visual way. When it comes to designing applications that could potentially help the community environment such as an application that would crowd source information from neighborhoods regarding litter pick-up, people beyond designers and application developers can understand how to use it. Applications are great for improving the local community beyond and interaction design and prototypes are helpful ways to understand the users, as well as allowing for the users to understand the design. For example, an application that broadcasts different service projects in the community would be helpful for citizens of the community to use, but it is important that they can utilize the features.