Exo-plorer was created during a one-week creative jam hosted by Adobe and NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). My partner, Jane Honek, and I were tasked to create a tablet app targeted at kids aged 11-13 to get them interested and excited about space, space exploration, and NASA JPL missions.
During this project I did research to understand the topic more, storyboarding to help set a story and narrative for the app, sketching and wireframing to bring the idea to life, and UI and interaction design to visually flesh out Exo-plorer.
Playing as a cargo runner for "The Resistance", kids must complete quests for their alien contacts, and along the way they find and learn about different exoplanets. Once found, the exoplanets can be reviewed to learn more detailed information about the newly discovered planets.
In a recent survey kids were more interested in becoming a Youtube star over an astronaut.
They’re becoming increasingly less interested in space and NASA wants to change that by getting them interested and excited about space again and nurture that curiosity.
Since I didn't know anything about space outside of the basics that I learned in school, research needed to be done to understand exactly what NASA JPL has been doing and to catch up on space topics.
From the list of possible topics that were given to us and doing individual research, it was agreed upon that exoplanets was the most interesting topic to dig deeper on and develop the app around.
Unfortunately because of the amount time given to us and the age group, we weren't able to find people to interview so we worked off of assumptions.
Gamifying the knowledge seemed like the best route to go in order to keep the information fun, easy to digest, and most importantly interesting. Crazy 8’s were done to brainstorm different ideas and solutions for the problem presented.
Traveling to planets and identifying exoplanets was the common thread between my partner and I, so it was decided to develop this idea further.
Having users learn about exoplanets was the MVP for this project and to do that, users would have to complete missions in order to discover and learn about new exoplanets.
Users are able to work through missions by identifying exoplanets using the same methods NASA does.
Once a mission is completed, the newly found exoplanet is added to their collection and can be viewed for more in depth information.
Moving forward I would like to build out:
Interviewing The Target Audience
Finding kids or teachers in the target audience would have helped immensely in truly understanding what they’re into and how they learn.
Creating a proto-persona might have helped guide us better.
Designing For Younger Age Groups
This was a hard age group to design for because they’re in-between two very different groups.
Next time I would do a little more research into designing for specific age groups.
Understanding Game Design/ Gamification
Game design and gamification was a new experience for me and it’s something I’d like to explore more to better understand the patterns of.