Interaction Design Process Blog
Purpose of ParkAid
In the ideation phase of my project I wanted to tackle the issues that current scientific data collection apps are facing especially the ones that are focusing on animals and our environment. As I walk through National Parks or even Zoo’s I see scientist with papers, clipboard and pencils. This seemed an outdated process to me that is not only limited but redundant as well. What if the user can translate everything from that clipboard into a single app that can be shared with scientist all around the world? Therefore, I spent hours researching on current data charts, and spreadsheets that are currently being used to gather data. As a solution, I created the ParkAid concept that allows Park Rangers and other scientists by using a mobile app to map the movements of animals, endangered species, and current events by tagging them on the map which can be expanded for further details. I created a low fidelity sketched prototype that entails the flow of my app. First the user is welcomed by a log in screen which purpose is to save data to the account and identify the user if they mark a location on the map. After the user signs in they will see an outline of the park they are located at where they can choose between 3 tabs to interact with.
Map allows them to browse their surroundings and see what others pinned on the map (such as Migration patterns, population and dangerous areas), it will also show legends on the bottom because it helps the user to differentiate the different shapes and colors from each other. Another option is to click on the “hamburger menu” which lets the user change Map Guides and allows them to select what they would like to see on the chart.
Track Journal allows them to create tags on the map, once they selected a specific area they can tag endangered animals, migration paths, and types of animals (bears, buffalos, wolves). Under the Track Journal tab, they can also leave comments and extra details of their findings to ensure that the data is backed up and is detailed to back-up the findings.
Data is the last interactive tab which lets the user take pictures/videos, keeps track of specific census data by first selecting the category and species of the animals to make sure that the data will be connected to the right animal. Achievements are also found under the Data tab, the purpose of this is to be a Wild Card and to motivate the user to gather more data, travel long distances, and tag certain events.
As a UX Designer I always make sure to concentrate on a low-fidelity prototype and take advantage of the fantastic sticky-notes before I jump into Illustrator or Sketch. Creating a low-fidelity sketch of my application is helping my model to form a skeleton base and become more dynamic by with my ideas that I have in mind. The technique behind it is to let my tip of my pencil take over my ideas and translate it into the paper right in front of me. Of course, these are abstract ideas so paying attention to details is unnecessary if each of the functions serve a purpose that the user can recognize and interact with throughout their usability testing. I still put effort into not just generic shapes but also represent them which makes it easier for everyone to understand if they would walk through this prototype, visual communication matter no matter which fidelity the prototype is taking shape.
Applying Low-Fi in the Future
Previously I applied low-fidelity prototypes to almost all my application projects throughout my college career and will be using it as long as I’m pursuing my UI/UX design career path. Using this technique not only helps me improve on my visual communication stages but it also allows me to extract all my ideas and translate them into different shapes and sizes to have a physical/drawn representation of the way I want the user to interact with my apps. Low-Fidelity prototyping can be implemented to virtually any kind of application since that’s the whole purpose of it, to give a minimalistic visual portrayal of the initial and foundation structure of the app. The most challenging idea to represent with low-fi is when it comes to creating Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality Apps. Illustrating models and how would they interact with the world around us is difficult to show and simply by having boxes and shapes is not quite an appropriate way to present the capabilities. It is not impossible by any means but I believe that there needs to be a higher fidelity to truly portray those actions and interactions with the users.