Vijay Farmah, Alex Pham, Kelda Baljon
9/18/2017 - 9/22/2017
The purpose was to examine and leverage the use of e-ink to tackle a design challenge.
Park E-gagement is geared towards park goers to engage more with their surroundings while walking through local parks. According to our research, many park goers use parks to relax or routinely exercise. This prompted us to ask, "why not add to the park experience by educating park goers about their local community?"
Our proposed solution was a smartphone application that gives users the ability to select an activity out of a various list of "to-do's" while walking through the park. When completed, these activities reward participants with interesting facts, challenging puzzles, and engaging tales when they get to one QR (Quick Response) station to the next.
Note: QR stations are e-ink machine readable codes posted throughout the park.
We conducted interviews to understand why people go to parks, what they do, and how their experience could be improved or encouraged. We visited a local park to receive a first hand park experience. We observed and conducted 9 interviews.
- Why are you at the park today?
- How often do you come?
- Do you have a favorite park? Why?
- Do you think this park lacks any amenities?
- Do you feel safe at the park?
We used online sources ranging from news articles to white papers and research reports. Secondary research findings:
- The presence of a park increases the real estate value of surrounding areas.
- Successful parks are associated with engagement, adaptability, authenticity, and connectivity of its park goers.
- In addition to enhancing physical health through exercise, neighborhood parks also promote psychological well being. Specifically, parks have been therapeutic in treating mental disorders such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and stress. Making parks a cost-effective way to lower long-term health expenditures
- From an environmental standpoint, parks serve as an important role in improving air quality
- The more amenities for physical activity provided in parks, the more likely people will attend.
- A well-utilized park creates financial growth for the community by raising land values, promoting physical and mental health and reducing the communities carbon footprint and water runoff.
- Presence of park signs can affect the park experience for park goers by making it easier to navigate and provide information about park conditions (i.e. water conditions or weather).
- These insights helped us guide our challenge:
How might we encourage park-goers to take longer walks in the park while continuing to engage with the park surroundings? This question served as our framework for ideation and prototyping.
Ideation and Concepts
We sketched out 12 broad solutions and narrowed our solutions down to four
1. Colored Footprints
A footpath made entirely of digital material that is E-Ink capable. The path could sense footprints and keep track of how far a park goer is walking along a path. When a person first steps onto the path, a light colored footprint will follow their feet.
2. Rolled E-Ink Map
Participants enter the park from various points to pick up a charged rolled map with GPS integration and proceed to select an adventure. All adventures are to be completed by covering enough distance throughout the park and collecting virtual pieces at different points.
3. QR Code Adventures
This is very similar to the Rolled E-Ink map, but instead park goers complete adventures by scanning QR codes throughout the park and collecting virtual pieces. A new adventure is uploaded each day so users will always have a new experience with each visit.
4. Sponsored Podiums
Throughout the park there are podiums containing fun facts, a story, or Q&A's corresponding to the company (based on that days sponsor). The aim is for park-goers to feel accomplished for completing the adventure and learn more about the sponsor behind this experience. This in turn, will allow sponsorship companies to improve their corporate responsibility by supporting their local parks while also promoting their brand.
Users were concerned about their location privacy when using the colored footprints application. They also found the idea of visiting a corporate sponsored park unpleasant since they wanted to go to the park to “escape” from the working world. We decided to move forward with the QR Code Adventures concept. This provides a solution where park goers could learn more about the park and its surrounding community while promoting physical activity.
Lo-Fi Prototype + User Testing
We created a mobile prototype for our first round of testing. We invited park-goers to play our bingo game to demonstrate our application’s purpose. We discovered a few consistent issues:
- Our game needed to be revised to provide a better explanation of our rules and directions
- The display of the board required revision to improve visual appeal
- Park-goers were not interested in playing the game without an incentive
Final Iteration + Outcome
We evaluated and iterated on the feedback including:
- A welcome screen with a brief introduction of our platform
- A more prominent bingo board display with a simple and understandable explanation of the rules
- Re-sized and re-positioned QR Code to make it more noticeable to the players
- Addition of "unique park facts" as a reward to the user for each time they checked off a bingo tile
This was my first design project. It was an enjoyable experience to use the design process to learn concepts related to Human Computer Interaction and Design. We developed this project within one week by producing and testing a low fidelity prototype (which enabled us to rapidly identify interaction recommendations and modify our prototype accordingly).