10/7 Interaction Design

We focused on users who aren’t in a career that necessarily focuses on plant health, but may have interest in learning about plants on their own.

In class, we brainstormed possible ideas for an app for citizen science users to contribute findings about plant health in King County. For users, we thought up people with allergies, pest attractions, students, and homeowners curious about the history of the area they live in. For my app design, I focused on people living in the city (primarily Seattle), interested in how the urban environment effects plant health. They can use the app for places other than the city streets, but the information collected can be helpful for urban planners focused on effective urban green spaces.

Above are mock-ups of how the app users may interact with the numeric and sensory data they collect. I designed my app with GPS and plant recognition in mind.

The app I designed is called the Plant Health Tracker. Users take pictures of a plant they see in a certain location. The app will use plant recognition to dig up more information for the user to learn about the plant once they have logged it into their plant profile (a list of plants, their endangered ranking, and the location in relation to the user in real time). After identifying the plant and its location, the user can log how the plant’s health looks in relation to its environment (how much light it’s receiving, whether other plants are crowding it, etc). Below, you can watch a video on how a user might navigate through the Plant Health Tracker:

https://drive.google.com/a/uw.edu/file/d/0B1Lwot4LNhzUeFQwVVdxbW02QUk/view?usp=sharing

After I designed the app interfaces, I showed my friend, a fellow student also pursuing HCDE. She helped me tweak a few parts of the design to best interest prospective users.

Designing the Plant Health Tracker forced me to think about the relevancy of each app screen and how they are connected to each other. Users want each screen to be of some use too them. However, if I put too little or too much information on a screen, the user may get bored. I also wanted to design an app that wasn’t mindless, where the user presses icons that mean nothing. I found difficulty in figuring out an incentive for users to track plants. As a person who can kill a succulent, designing an interface for people who like learning about plants was hard. However, users can track their plants and learn cool facts about them, which creates a space to make goals in. If users have their progress to look forward to in the app, people like me might even be interested.

I like that we did something tangible with this project. Navigating through even a low fidelity app, such as the one I designed in this assignment, gives a preview of what I might be able to create in the future. It brings me that much closer to products I could materialize in the real world in the future. It was also neat to listen to others’ ideas in class, especially user interactive devices that are not present in the real world today, but could be soon!

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