iPhone app: Pet Land

WHAT?

In the studio meeting, we learned about interaction design which is the practice of designing interactive environments, digital products, systems,and services to interact with user. With the experience of designing interface for smart vehicles, I found myself get familiar with interaction design easily.

This time we are designing a mobile app for collecting animal census data. With our app, common mobile users can help biologists in collecting text data, numeric data, location data, and photos about animals.

It is significant to make common citizens get involved into scientific field. Science is for everyone, and our project has the opportunity to make it come true.

Our group sprinted through 4 ideation rounds:

#1 specific environment & animals that mobile users could collect data

Our group answer: bird, which can be found on UW campus or near coast

#2 specific mobile users that might collect data on their phones

Our group answer: anyone like cares about animal (bird)

#3 motivation

Our group answer:

ranking system: user’s can level up by collecting data for our bird biologist;

reward system: return coupon and discount to our users who have great contribution

social system: connect with Facebook and other social website, so our user can upload his/her experience

#4 link a specific citizen scientist mobile user’s story

Our group answer: In order to help bird biologist understanding the habit of birds in Seattle area, local mobile users can use their phone to collect data by taking picture, video or writing down texts and submitting through our mobile app. Users with good contribution will level up quickly in our ranking system which can be posted on Facebook, and will be rewarded with coupon and discount.


After the great practice with my group, I started on my project.

Here are a couple screens for my app:

Once the app is opened, there will be a tip for users renewed daily.

My app is called Pet Land. It is designed for people who has a pet. My idea is making this app a comfortable zone for my users, so I can build trust with my users. Then my users will share their experience with scientists with no doubts.

Therefore, I designed a tip page that will pop up when user open my app.

Screen for picture and video

After taking picture,video or writing down notes, users will choose the feeling he/she had: a smile face , a calm face, or an upset face.

The purpose of my app is helping scientists understand how the interaction with pet can affect master’s emotion. By going through the data collected from users, scientists are able to find connection of the footage (picture, video or note) and the feeling (three types of faces).

Emergency feature of app

There is a feature inside the app called :Emergency; it is used for users whose pet has an emergency condition, such as sickness, allergy. After filling out Symptom Box and taking a picture of pet, our scientists will respond useful advice within 1 day.

Again, I believe it is important to make my users believe this app is reliable. Therefore, they will not hesitate to share their experience with scientists.


CORE IDEA

The most important idea of this app is attracting common mobile users to collect animal census data.

WE HAVE A CORE IDEA,SO WHAT

I thought about what type of group would be willing to share animal census data. It seems the user group which has interest in animal is more likely to help. Therefore, pet keepers become my largest target.

But why will pet keepers use my app? I realized I need to make my app relate to their daily life. Therefore, I put a lot of effort in making connection with users.

For example,after submitting the picture, video or note , the user will receive some comment from animal scientists within a week;if the pet has any emergency condition, users can always use the emergency feature to ask professional advice from animal scientists for free; once opening the app, there will be a useful tip renewed daily for making a healthy environment for pet; there is a ranking system showing closeness level of the pet and master, so users show off his closeness with pet to friends; last but not least, the app keeps a record of all the valuable moments the user shared with his pet. Our users can always come back to check out the old days with pets.

I have applied low-fidelity prototyping through out this project. It is challenging to simplify complex ideas into easy, low-fidelity drawings on paper. So, I drew a diagram of how my app will interact with users firstly. Then,following the diagram from top to bottom, I put a check mark on diagram after drawing the each screen on paper.

Diagram of app

I had a hard time on designing the layout of my main screen: there are a couple options user can choose on main screen, how should I lay out each choice?It is too boring to use a list. So I come up with the idea of using a cross to separate each option since there three options. This structure makes the options stand out neatly.

Main screen

NOW WHAT?

Low-fidelity prototyping is an important technique in interaction design. This technique is most useful in a tree style interaction design, which shows the flow of the interaction with app clearly. It is especially useful for designs that start from simple options(trunk) and gradually grow into many different options(branches), such as the diagram I drew above.

This is a very helpful technique, in future I can use low-fi prototyping to build out the diagram for designing a chatting program, for example, by drawing out: signing up process -> adding/deleting friend -> sending/recalling message -> sending text/picture/emoji…

Low-fi prototyping may not be appropriate for complex design which has lots of elements in one screen, such as designing specialized software for engineering (SolidWorks).


Useful Links:

Demonstration of low-fidelity Pet Land on Marvel:

Demonstration of using app on youtube:

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