HCDE 210 Process Blog #2 — Interaction Design

The Challenge

This week, our challenge was to design an app for citizen scientists to collect data about various animals to help scientists with their research. I specifically chose to focus on tortoises, because I wanted to be a bit unconventional and focus on an animal that less people may consider but is equally important to cats and dogs in scientific research. As a result, I envisioned my user base as tortoise enthusiasts who lived near public parks, as some tortoises may make their homes in public park exhibits much like fish do. My users also included those who own tortoises as a pet, as some may lose their tortoise and find it easier to find them on my app than through more conventional methods.

Our brainstorm of possible animals.

The Design Solution

For my solution, I thought about the two types of people that would likely use my app — tortoise enthusiasts and tortoise owners. From there, I imagined a scenario for both sets of users: the enthusiasts log on to help researchers preserve their beloved tortoises, whereas the owners log on to search for their lost tortoises. This inspired the use of a two-pronged interaction flow diagram — where the two sets of users go down two different paths, which can actually intersect.

The Enthusiast Path

For the enthusiasts, I envisioned a way to submit tortoise data for researchers, using text, numeric, or photo data. In text data, the users can submit a paragraph or so describing the tortoise they saw and why they think it is a particularly good tortoise. In a numeric entry, users can enter approximate measurements and submit them to researchers to study the effects certain environments may have on tortoises. In a photo entry, users can submit a photo that illustrates the outstanding tortoise they have just come across. This path also is practical for owners of lost tortoises, as users can tag their entries as “just a nice tortoise” or “lost and found”, depending on their reason for submitting.

The Owner Path

For the owners, I envisioned a swipe-based photo-viewing system, where users could tap on a picture to “claim” the tortoise as their lost pet. The photos these users would view would only be from entries tagged as “lost and found” to ensure no wild or publicly-owned tortoises cloud the feed for owners.

The opening screen of my app prototype.

So What?

I especially liked this week’s project because I feel as though it gave me the opportunity to pursue a unique idea, rather than feeling as though my project would be limited by the animal I chose to study. I felt as though the project was open-ended enough that I could get creative with my ideas and that added tremendously to my enjoyment of the project, as I was able to pursue an app about an animal I find very enjoyable — the tortoise.

Now What?

In the future, it is extremely likely that I will utilize interaction design, whether as a career or as recreation. Recreationally, I may continue to pursue web design, in which interaction design is necessary for creating an easy-to-use website. As a career, many projects may hinge on interaction design, as developing an interactive prototype may be what sells my superiors on a product idea. For example, my mom is a program director at a software company, and constantly must develop interactive prototypes to deliver to her clients as proof of progress on a project. Interaction design is a topic that has certainly piqued my interest, and I fully plan on pursuing it in some capacity in the future.

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Amateur writer, mostly about football and the NFL draft. UW psychology grad. Asian-American.

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Alex Katson

Alex Katson

Amateur writer, mostly about football and the NFL draft. UW psychology grad. Asian-American.

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