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Calamity Control

Course: ITGM 723 Human-centered Interactive Design Team Member: Na Li; Yang Zhou; Andrew Linscott; Yuxian Tian Professor: Gustavo Delao

Usability Testing

Design Question: How might we enhance the learning environment in public education with regard to the natural science through mobile technologies?

Research Questions: 1. What mobile technologies do students currently use in educational settings? 2. What mobile technologies do teachers use in education? 3. What type of education apps are available on the market? 4. To what extent are parents involved in their kids’ education? 5. What areas of natural science in education currently could benefit most from additional external supplements? 6. To what extent do students comprehend the material of class?

User Research: Define Stakeholders:

Historical Analysis: In the first step, we need to have a general understanding of the big environment and the target users. We chose historical analysis to know the background of geography education.

Surveys “Ask a series of targeted questions in order to ascertain particular characteristics and perceptions of users.� The survey of our project focuses on the attitude of parents about education technology use with kids. The responses come from our targeted users who has child having finished the 4th grade.

Word-Concept Association We went to the park, using technology and education as the key words, ask people to associate them with different design concepts or features in order to show their perceive about using technology in education. Most of our participants are parents and children, their perceptions help to evaluate our design concepts. Many respondents noted negatives to using technology in education as being an unnecessary distraction if not presenting useful or engaging information as well as issues with a lack of social skill development when the child only interacts with the device. On the other hand, many respondents felt that, when done appropriately for the setting and age group, such digital technologies can provide a stimulating educational experience that can engage a young student more effectively than traditional lessons.

Interviews For our interviews, we met with several families with children mainly in our target user group(some outliers a year or so younger). Thus far we’ve spoken with three families(3 parents and 6 children). From these face-to-face conversations we were able to derive useful insights that have helped us to refocus our design question. We discussed with them the children's use of technology for education both at home and in the classroom as well as their parent’s attitude towards such. We also asked questions related to the children's understanding and perceived value of the subjects of geography and natural sciences, as it pertains to natural disaster situations. These interviews have been a great way for us to really get the kids’ perspective on our topic. Anecdotes of how they use educational technologies which described their personal wants and needs from the experience helped us see pain points and opportunities to address with our design concepts. Having the parent there involved in the interview too also helped to keep the children honest and allowed them to feel more comfortable and open up a bit more to us.


Role-Playing Journey Map: We role played as two students who are represent two types of students: active learners and reluctant learners. By simulating their daily life, from waking up to sleeping, simulating their activities in different times(such as class, lunch, homework, before bed time etc.), to assess their positivity and mood. The persona roles we played as we based on insights we drew from secondary research of our target user group as well as primary research interviews.

We separate weekends and work-days because students have different lifestyles during holidays and school. We hope to get their different attitudes in learning and other activities, and explore our opportunities through role-playing, how can we using technology to encourage them to actively access knowledge.

Affinity Diagrams “Cluster design elements according to intuitive relationships such as similarity, dependence, proximity, etc.. This method is a useful way to identify connections between issues and reveal innovation opportunities.� We did secondary research from the online searching categorized as methods of teaching geography, current teaching apps/digital platform, what tech are kids/teachers using in class, parents’ attitude towards the children use app, what age kids are using which tech and geography information. Next, we separate the research data for each point, and wrote it down separately. Then we group the similar responses and begin to find the relationship between each group. In the process, we find the geography learning which is not mostly related to their life. However, when disaster happens, children should know these knowledge and how to protect themselves. Therefore, the topic should be focus on the awareness of natural disaster situation throughout the United States.

Design Requirements: Application supported on tablet devices and web browser Social system that engages users(kids) to interact with one another Catalogue of natural disasters across the U.S. throughout history detailing primarily; where, when, and what transpired Catalogue of safety protocols for emergency disaster situations Catalogue of different types of natural disasters that affect the U.S. including; wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and volcanoes Games that utilize the catalogues of safety protocols and types of natural disasters to engage and improve students’ problem solving skills as well as fine motor controls Interactive Map of the U.S. Redefined Design Question: Original: How can mobile technology enhance the learning environment in public education? Redefined: How can digital interactive games enhance the understanding and awareness of natural disaster situations that occur throughout the United States for grade school students aged 9 to 13?

Rationale: Through our initial research, we recognized specific needs within the context of educational technology usage both inside and outside the classroom. Our findings showed that while many schools already incorporate laptops and tablets into student lessons during school hours and most parents saw great potential for these technologies to better engage their kids with the information, there were some reservations. Primarily, these were regarding the possibility of media activities not stimulating their child’s mind as well a fear of not engaging their social skills enough. From these insights, we’ve decided to focus our attention towards instilling useful and practical knowledge of natural disaster situations such as hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, and the like throughout the United States(in public schools world geography does not come into play much until after 5th grade) in order to not only give the kids a better understanding of the challenges people face in other parts of the country, but to help them better prepare for challenges they may face in their own local regions. Our targeting of students aged 9 to 13 is because kids in this age range fall into grades 4 through 6. At these ages, parents have expressed they feel their child is mature enough to handle the gravity that these types of situations carry and an understanding of what to do in such events is knowledge they feel their child should possess or at least be familiar with.


Sketch This concept is composed of two components. The first is an informational system about the types of natural disasters that have occurred across the US throughout time as well as safety information pertaining to them. Users can select from 6 different categories and explore on a state-by-state level the various calamities that have happened there. The second is a game simulation in which the user plays the role of a “disaster response coordinator�. This component will exist as a persistent system that would spontaneously generate natural disasters situations that the user would be alerted to and would need to resolve by playing related mini games. There scores from these games too would be pitted against other online players as a competitive element.

Site Map

Paper Testing

UI Design

Usability Testing


Calamity Control Design Doc  

Calamity Control is a prototype application that would allow young students to learn in a fun and engaging style about the various natural...

Calamity Control Design Doc  

Calamity Control is a prototype application that would allow young students to learn in a fun and engaging style about the various natural...