Citizen Science | Animal Census App

For this week’s sprint, the main focus was Citizen Science, specifically posing the question “How can we enable citizens to collect environmental data for scientists?” Our section was assigned to design and prototype an app for animal census, and my group chose to focus on home infestations. Although we were a group, we all individually brainstormed ideas that would make the app relevant and approachable to its targeted users, which are tenants, homeowners, and even pedestrians just walking along a street. One of my group mates came up with the idea of including a list of pest control companies for the user to choose from, with ratings and prices showing so that the user can choose a company within their budget. My other group mate came up with the idea possibly giving coupons to users who report infestations to encourage them to be more aware about the health of their homes. As we honed our app ideas into more concrete buttons, we started to create our screens on index cards. Using POPApp, we then linked each screens to correspond with the buttons.

Once I started linking my screens to my buttons, I started to run into the problem of fluid navigation. I added more and more details to the screen, and this led to me having to link one too many screens. For example, under my “Report Infestation” screen, there is a “Degree of Infestation” multiple-choice question, with the answers being “Low,” “Medium,” and “High.” This means that I now have 3 different-looking screens that I have to link individually to make sure that my screens are consistent. This is a problem that persisted as I created more screens, causing me to simplify them for the sake of time and for the sake of the demo video.

Overall, despite the hassles that came with the screens, this was a really fun assignment. Never in my life would I have thought to create an app with index cards. I just always thought that you needed heavy technical equipment for that. But POPApp made the whole process really easy, and if I had more time, I would definitely have developed this app.

I definitely see myself messing with POPApp in the future just for my own entertainment, perhaps to create an app for my own personal convenience, or to create products that I can link with an app (since that’s where we’re headed anyway). It’s a great tool to get creative with user-centered design, and it’s something that I can absolutely use for product design.

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