Interaction Design Process Blog

In this week’s lecture, we learned about Interaction Design which is the “the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services (Wikipedia)”. More specifically, we focused on designing a smartphone app that will help citizen science. For my studio section, we narrowed down the topics to water quality.

To start off, we first brainstormed what specific aspect of data to be reported. I chose the relatively easy one which is pH value. Because I thought that anybody who had taken chemistry class would be familiar with pH value. And the tools for getting pH value are relatively easy to get for non-professionals. Then I decided the target users for this app would be the fishermen. The fishermen are constantly out there with water environment. They would be particularly interested in water quality because it would affect their everyday life directly. On the other side, the scientist could get the first hand-data much more easily since the fishermen could upload data at anywhere, anytime.

When I was designing the app which I decided to call it the Fishing Diary, I set up about five screens for the users. Besides the main page and the last page, there were three steps for the users to go through. They are able to first upload a picture of the fish that they got, and then simply describe the location and the weather of where they were fishing. Lastly, they could upload the pH value of the water. When the user finished uploading all the data, they could earn five points and if they ever got 100 points they could enter the raffle. So that the users could keep coming back every day in this way.

I found this project really fascinating and interesting. Because such a simple app could actually benefit both the users and the scientists. The users could help improving the database of water while the scientists could do a better job at monitoring the water quality and came up with better solution the solve the water quality problems. Moreover, it is a fun app to play with besides the citizen science aspect because the users could now keep track of their fishing life and just treat this app as their simple diary.

The goal of citizen science is to harness the power of the general public to contribute to the collection of data that can support rigorous scientific research. One possible project topic that would possibly use this app would be how the water pH value affects the fish species. Because the scientists would need to keep track of both the water pH value and the fish. So the huge population of fishermen would be really helpful. The fishermen could contribute the collection of data every day simply using the app. However, one downside of this app could be that if the users could not provide accurate and real data. Then the database could be kind of messed up and there would be statistics bias.

Overall, this was a really meaningful project. I learned so much from it and had a better idea of what interaction design was about after the project.