Designing for Ecology + Conservation

As part of a team I researched and developed an interactive game to teach school children about the importance of bee conservation.


Our design process

Initial discussion
During our initial discussion we decided to focus on conservation for local wildlife.

Brandon Hill research trip
We took a research trip to Brandon Hill to explore potential areas and organisations to work alongside during this project.

Guest lecture – Antonio Gould
We had a guest lecturer Antonio Gould that is a product design manager who has worked on several interesting projects. He gave us some insights into developing educational games for children as he previously worked on Teach your Monster to Read’. We learned how to engage children and were given advice on interesting points to focus on next.

Guest lecture – Dr. Robert Phillips
Dr. Robert Phillips came to speak to us and mentioned that he had worked on a project called Bee Lab. He told us that we need to be more specific in our focus to help the project have a better impact. 

Group meeting
We met as a group and decided to focus on bee conservation and create three mission statements to help us be more specific.

  1. Educate schools on how they can adapt their spaces to accommodate bees
  2. Provide an interactive way to engage students on the topic
  3. Create a set of digital resources for teachers to use to achieve point 2

Having a sharper focus I contacted Dr. Jeff Davey, who is a research technician at the university who takes care of on site beehives, and was able to set up a meeting with him.

Guest lecture – Jemma Kamara
Jemma Kamara is a UWE Business Studies graduate and came to talk to us about her career in Digital Media. Jemma focuses on accessability, creating games and products for children. We were given some invaluable insights into how to engage children and promote empathy.

Dr. Jeff Davey interview
We met to conduct and interview with Dr. Jeff Davey so that we could learn more about bees, conservation and teaching children.

hive-sketch

Thematic analysis
Having interviewed Dr Jeff Davey we were left with a lot of notes and ideas. In order to try to focus on what was important we conducted a thematic analysis exercise together. We came up with these codes to help us focus our research:

  • Habitat
  • Problems
  • Teaching
  • Photographic/mapping
  • Data collection

We decided to create a game to show children how their actions impact on the environment and bee populations. Using a phone app schools can record the health of their onsite, or local, hives and use this information to set up the game environment. This is a great way to give the game some real grounding.

Initial prototype
Using craft supplies we put together a lo-fi prototype of the hive and made some bees to add the ‘personality’ element for children.

Interface design
We created some rough user journeys and wireframes for an app to help beekeepers note down their findings.

img_20170323_133853

App interface design
I put together some wireframes to help with developing the prototype.

Design changes
Using the wireframes a simplified initial app prototype was put together along with mockups of how the game might look.

Beekeeper research visit
We met with Dr. Jeff Davey to conduct first hand research on how to take readings from a hive and what readings we need to record. We realised that our initial app design was comprehensive but had a lot of unnecessary information that children would not need.

Final app prototype
I developed our final app protoype by mocking up the interface in Photoshop and creating the user journey in Invision.

To try out the final prototype click here.


 

Click here to visit our design documentation blog.

To view my individual report, group design brief and group prototyping report click here.

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