Do you remember when we were kids and we visited a zoo or an aquarium and we watch a rare specie of animal for first time? It was awesome, right?
At that time we couldn't connect to the internet and seek for all the information. We had the opportunity to go to different places and find everything as new.
Now a days, kids are not interested in visiting these places. They find everything in a device with just a few clicks, and the magic touch is getting lost. For that reason, I wanted that my project to encourage kids to take a look of what's around them and learn how to protect it.
As a graduate project at VFS, I built Aquaventure Scouts, a mobile game that combine a scavenger hunt with a new concept that I am introducing as Aqua Scouts. I had around 3 moths to develop a concept, do research, understand my audience and bring a proper solution that can immerse the kids into a new experience. To have a quick glance of my process, check out the following case study:
FIELD STUDY & Interviews
One of my key challenges was designing for an audience to which I didn't belong - children aged seven to nine. They were totally unknown for me. What do they like? What are they looking for? Is my tool going to be something that would interest them?
To solve that problem, I started with some field study at parks, schools and at the Aquarium. Talking with parents and watching the kids moving around helped me understand the best way to design for them- and that's where the idea of gamification came from, something to keep children engaged, to help them learn, and to have fun.
Seeking to create something new that can engaged my user I looked for potential competitors that are using similar solutions and that could be potential inspiration to my solution. Some of the applications related to experiences at touristic places are "Gamar", "AR Amusement Park Universal" and "AMNH APP". And for games I chose "Angry birds", "Clash Royale" and "Pokemon Go".
From the insights that I gathered from the research stage, I was able to reduce my scope and focus my app in just an specific area, learn information and interact with the exhibitions in a easy a fun way. By the use of story boards, user flows and diagrams I created different interactions that work as solution for the challenge.
During this process I focused myself to understand better my audience: how can they learn about this experience ? and how can they choose o download it? So I did a storyboard that represents the process before, during and after using the app.
As important step I developed a diagram that could show what kind of activities the user is going to be able to do in the game, taking into account different kind of quests, win or lose, help process, etc.
I began this stage by creating rough sketches of various user flows. My next step was create a paper prototype that can show a quick view of the experience, to then test it and get feedback to develop a better experience. It was a bit boring and distractive. My main problem was that I designed in a horizontal framework which immerse my audience totally in the game without interacting with what's around. Also the architecture was bad designed and not fully understandable, too many screens with text and unattractive for kids.
Using the problems and opportunities found in the user testing, I developed my final prototype:
ART DIRECTION & UI DESIGN
Looking to give a personality to Aquaventures Scouts I chose to follow an attractive and playful design that combine illustrations and iconography, so that my users are not overwhelmed with a lot of information. Considering trending games as per my target audience, I started sketching my ideas to then continue with illustrator to give an attractive style.
With this changes made I want to present my project: 'Aquaventure Scouts'. The idea is simple, as scout you have to collect badges, but to get them you have to show your knowledge and get success in different challenges. If the kids are having difficulties they can find help from a buddy which it's going to be next to them at any moment. I also added positioning and way-finding so that the app knows where you are in the Aquarium, and I used iconography and characters to reduce the number of screens, making it easier and faster to use.