IXD Process: The Bee Finder

The Design Process

When the goal of the project is to encourage citizens to go out into the world to collect information to contribute to science, our app will need to be a powerful tool that is designed with the user in mind to achieve this. The app is called The Bee Finder. The Bee Finder is designed for the purpose of discovering, documenting, and sharing information about local bee populations to help scientists learn more about currently endangered bee species. The user is a beekeeper who has experience interacting with bees and understanding the species, behaviors, environments and other factors that could be vital for scientists to be aware of. The app has very simple functions to make it easier to to learn and interact. Features include starting a new project documenting the bees with navigation, location marking, and location description of habitats. A special feature is the Community Map, an option for the user to see locations marked by other users in the community. The Community Map can act as a guide to create different warnings and suggestions for the user to see, like a flood or landslide warning, suggestions for bee species, or plant species near the location. The app is easy to learn and use on the go for someone trying to document living creatures with the navigation function, data entry, and picture features. All of the features needed to create a visual and numerical information are provided in the app to create ease of use.

Initial team planning
Marvel rendition of Bee Finder app

First experience with Low-Fidelity Prototype

The process of low-fidelity prototyping was definitely a unique experience coming from the perspective of someone who uses so many different apps in one day, but has never actually thought out the process of creating each page. Having to design the wireframe of what each button will lead to what page, I generated a serious of detail maps and sketches that an interaction designer would have to go through just to test out what makes the most sense to guide the users. I believe that the use of the Marvel app just took the experience of testing out interaction design to the next level as I get to see my sketches come to life on a mobile platform. It was a challenge but a joyful experience being able to put the entire process together with nothing but an idea, pen, paper, and an app.

Future with Low-Fidelity Prototyping

I can see that low-fidelity prototyping will continue to be very useful in the future especially as I want to continue to explore design and engineering whether in the classroom or professionally when I want to practice designing an app or a website. A platform like Marvel is so powerful because anyone can step in to create their vision of the app, a designer with no coding experience or a coder with no visual design experience. In a situation like a case competition or a hackathon where a sample model is needed to show the audience a solid visual representation, low-fidelity prototyping will definitely be my go-to. Despite the usefulness of low fidelity prototyping, it is something that should be used for the beginning process where ideas are out in the open waiting to be put onto paper. However, once the brain storming is over, more research, design, and programming will be needed to create a cleaner visual representation.

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