by Jessy Ma, NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates intern, Brown University
One of my main projects this summer was to design and develop a mobile companion app for macroinvertebrates.org. Initially, I had to decide whether to make a reference app that would essentially give information like the website does or make a game that would allow people to practice identification. I got feedback from my mentors, and at this point I had also started conducting usability tests for the alpha version of the website, so I got a feel for what users would use the site for and what was most important to them. I decided to do a reference app that would be a simplified offline version of the site, since this would be most helpful to people doing identification out in the streams, where Wi-Fi and cellular service can be unreliable.
In order to scale the site down into a mobile app that can be used offline, I had to figure out which features on the site were most important to include and how to include them without compromising user experience. I iterated my design a few times based on feedback from my mentors and from website usability tests, and once I was happy enough with the design, I conducted usability tests with the Young Naturalists at Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Here is an example of how one screen (the full specimen view) changed throughout the process:
The changes I made after the Young Naturalists' feedback are the final iteration displayed on my poster, which I presented at a poster session with all the other HCII summer REUs.
After I had already submitted my poster, I had a meeting with the designers of the website and made further changes to the prototype, which can be found here: https://marvelapp.com/db804b9/.
An interdisciplinary team