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.

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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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Designing a digital interface for M-Shed

My team and I were tasked with researching and developing an interactive digital interface for the M-Shed museum in Bristol.


Our design process

Initial research visit
We visited the museum to gather a list of what works well, use the technology, observe visitors interacting with exhibits. We took a behind the scenes tour of the museum and attended a talk on the future plans for the digital exhibits. We decided to focus on Bristol’s cultural graffiti scene.

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Thematic analysis
Using thematic analysis we were able to narrow our focus and come up with codes to make sure that everyone was on the same page. We realised that we needed to focus on:

  • Technologies
  • Space
  • People
  • Context

Body storming
We were taught how to perform body storming by Layla Gaye to help us learn how to communicate our ideas and put ourselves in the shoes of our potential users.

Design brief
After conducting research on the M-Shed we came together to create a design brief to make sure that we were covering:

  • A succinct project summary to make sure we are all on the same page
  • Look at the current situation in the M-Shed
  • Think about why our project is needed and what we hope to achieve
  • What is the problem we are trying to solve?
  • Who will our project impact upon?
  • What are the constraints? How will budgets, ethics etc impact our project?
  • How detailed do we want our final prototype to be?
  • What is our project schedule?

Personas and scenarios
To get a better idea of our target audience I put together a couple of proto-personas and different scenarios of them visiting the museum.

I wanted to make sure that I can cater to their individual needs, and help to bridge the gap between their age difference, while potentially collaborating on an art piece together. This was really helpful in moving forward with our installation design as we now had a use case to consider.

PACT analysis
Following our visit to the M-Shed I put together a rough PACT analysis to make sure that we were still focusing on the people, actions, context and technology within the museum.

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Initial prototype and bodystorm
To implement our final design we spent time researching different technologies and settled upon creating a digital graffiti wall. We then put together a lo-fi prototype so that we could conduct user testing to check that it would be easy to use and have the interactive and educational elements needed. A paper that I read found that museum visitors tend to prefer interactive exhibits with a tactile interface where they can create personal content. This led us to creating ‘graffiti’ cans.

During the bodystorm we realised that the interface worked well but did not feel innovative enough – something that we felt would be important to draw visitors.

Second prototype
To strengthen the connection between the M-Shed and graffiti in the city we re-created a miniature version of the St. Werburghs tunnel that could be placed inside the museum. Inside this representation the art from the real tunnel will be projected inside. Visitors would be able to walk in the miniature tunnel and learn about graffiti artists and add their own art without disrupting the existing art in the tunnel.

Final prototype
Testing our initial prototype we found a few issues that we would need to work (such as issues with the projection casting shadow when people stand in front of it) on and re-created our final prototype.Capture

Click here to visit our design documentation blog.

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