the incomplete artist

My renaissance as an artist and designer

Six Degrees of You and Me: A UI / UX Assignment

Mea Culpa

I recently realized that I was supposed to be posting to this blog every week, not every project. This particular assignment was a bear that took over my every waking moment for almost a month  – but I just submitted it so I am going to try to catch up on my past due blogging now. That being said, I think I’ll still chunk it up into four separate posts – just too much to express in one go. So – to start –

The Assignment

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science will soon be hosting an exhibit: Six Degrees of You and Me. In this exhibit, visitors will be able to see their connections to other viewers within the museum through social networks, zip codes, previous schools, degree programs, etc. It can help build connections between visitors and patrons, enhance current features of the museum and bring together like-minded individuals.

As part of the concept design team, you will create the user interface, showing the different ways and different locations that users can interact with the interface and one another. You will design the interface itself, the screens or projections, etc. and the methods with which users will interact with the interface as well as one another. Nothing for this, or like this currently exists. Monetary concerns are no object, so really push yourself.

In this project, you are required to think extensively. Pat answers and easy projects will get terrible grades, and you’ll need to put your full conceptual and design efforts into creating a visually pleasing, portfolio-level project with clear explanations.

You’ve got to crawl before you can walk. And running? Hah!

The hardest part of this project was understanding it. I’ve certainly heard of UX and UI but really had very little idea of their meaning outside of knowing they were somehow related to building web sites. Our instructor provided the following link to help us wrap our heads around it

Free Class In User Experience Design

It helped but I was having trouble herding my skittish and half-formed ideas into a coherent vision and I found myself way overthinking pretty much everything. But at some point, you just have to dive in and start designing so…

My Jumping Off Point – double entendre intended

I wanted to find a different approach, not using the more obvious social media outlets. I also wanted to focus on the fact that the Museum is science-based and include that as a key aspect of my exhibit. So I started to consider an anthropological direction. First, using Ancestry.com as my social media component to find links of human ancestry. Then using DNA testing to find connections based on genetics. Perhaps the exhibit could be a comment on Nature vs Nurture showing how we are linked genetically AND how different the links can be when you add a cultural component. I think I would use the Museum of Natural Science App to survey each museum-goer with some general questions about their interests, lifestyles and upbringing to show how our lives reflect environmental forces. Then all these links and overlaps could be superimposed on a map of the museum so that you can see all the commonalities you have with the other patrons, either genetically or culturally or both. Ideally you would find a commonality of some sort with almost every person there (after all, we are all members of the human species). There would be an option to share your view with other patrons and an introduction feature that would allow you to make a real world connection on the spot.

I wanted to find an interface that would make this experience unforgettable and I did some research on wearable tech.  Every museum patron would be issued a pair of AR (augmented reality) goggles and using technology similar to that being developed by a company called Magic Leap, users would be able to access holograms superimposed on their surroundings to show the connection maps and other relevant images.

There you have it – of course  “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley” . But I’ll save that for my next post..

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2016 by in Art, Blog, graphic design, user experience, ux ui, Web design and tagged , , , , , , .
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