Sound Travels App: Making Regular Citizens Scientists

Overview of Sound Travels App

Using the Prototyping On Paper (POP) app, I developed a citizen science smartphone app that allows regular citizens to record scientific data, specifically noise in an environment. This app will not only help public health officials gather data on the correlation of noise in a city and overall health of a population, but also record all the different places the user has been. That is why the home page is a map with pins. Then I wanted the citizen to record data that anyone could easily observe like the location, time, rating, number of disturbances and other observations.

The Brainstorm Process
First page of my final design drawings for the app
A quick demo video of the Sound Travels Prototype App

Interaction Design: An Eye — Opener

This is my first experience developing an app and it opened my eyes on how designing an app involves balancing complexity and simplicity. I also realized how important icons are to indicate to the user what the purpose of the button is. After creating a low fidelity prototype I think I would like to explore on how to actually execute and develop the app. One problem I encountered was fitting my drawn design perfectly onto the screen. I should have drawn one interface then tested on the app to see if the drawing would fit the app’s camera.

What I enjoyed…

Personally I thought the project was really fun to do because the topic catered to something I am very passionate about. I am currently on the pre-med track so being able to create an app that can help us understand environmental factors and the overall health of a population is fascinating. At first, the task of creating a prototype app seemed daunting, but the POP app was easy to use and informative.

The Importance of Interaction Design

I think that the Sounds App I created is a good demonstration on the importance of interaction design. This app could potentially allow scientists to understand population health in certain environments, which could lead to an improvement of a population’s health and living. However, making the app easy to use and effective will allow the user to record correct data and motivate the user to open the app again. The app would be useless if no-one used it, meaning there will be no data. Interaction designers deal with preventing this and creating apps to make them as user friendly as possible. Overall creating a well-developed app can help society improve not only on research, but also improve one’s daily life. For instance, an app that helps translate languages, bridging the gap of a language barrier. If the app was poorly designed, then the app could impede on the user’s communication.

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