Adobe + NASA JPL
Who is NASA JPL?
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) helped open the Space Age by developing America's first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to the solar system. JPL continues its world-leading innovation, implementing programs in planetary exploration, Earth science, space-based astronomy and technology development while applying it's capabilities to technical and scientific problems of national significance.
Space is a subject that engages children and encourages them to ask questions about the world around them. Through learning about our Solar System, children can apply and build on concepts they have already learned and develop an understanding of the vast world beyond our planet.
Inclusive Duo Team
We are two Bootcamp graduates who joined forces to compete in the Adobe + NASA JPL Creative Jam. The name "Inclusive Duo" was inspired by Boston's and Dara's desire to create universal experiences and love for superheroes. Our Alligator Astronaut avatar's were inspired by NASA JPL Certified Ambassador Zach Thomas's childhood in Florida near Kennedy Space Center.
Team Lead - UX Designer
Boston attended Spring board Bootcamp and focused on UX Interactions and Research. She always dreamed of being an astronaut and exploring space. On Earth, she lives in NYC and spends time tracking comets. One of her favorite sightings is Hailey's Comet!
Dara attended General Assembly and is a UX Designer with a background in graphic design. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an avid art collector. Dara is obsessed with VR and gaming.
The Challenge + Constraints
Our challenge is to help kids learn more about space exploration by teaching about a single or multiple NASA JPL missions. Design a third-party (not NASA JPL branded) Android tablet or Apple iPad app that provides an engaging way for kids to learn and share space stories, facts, and topics.
Zack Thomas, NASA JPL Ambassador and General Assembly Staff Member
The Judge Panel
Jared Spool, UX Thought Leader
Krys Blackwood, Senior Lead User Experience Designer at NASA JPL
Shannon Slocum, Director of Product Management at Adobe
We had one week to complete our mission, which did not leave much time for traditional research. So we spent one day doing desk research to discover how NASA JPL currently was targeting our user audience, and what kids wanted.
We used the crazy eight method to distill ideas and decide on a mission and theme. With the goal to inspire kids to geek out on space and create engagement, we selected Summer In Space. We felt it aligned with the journey of kids having fun in the summer.
We identified experiences we wanted to create, and then red routes. Next we mocked up the paths with wireframes. Then we created the high fidelity screens and added interactions. We wanted to make our design accessible and inclusive, so we created an accessibility inspired by UserWay and included gaming and voice automated interactions.
We tested our app with moderated interviews with teenagers and teachers. Everyone was able to use the app with ease and found the app to be fun. The teachers appreciated the educational aspect and would use it in class. Based on the feedback, we tightened up the UI and interactions. Then we submitted Summer In Space to stakeholders Jared Spool,
In order to what direction to go in, we researched the missions on NASA JPL site. We felt strongly that the mission to the Moon would be something kids could easily identify with, as they can already see it in the sky. And then to push their thinking power, we wanted to excite them about Mars. This way they could envision beyond what they can see from Earth. For inspiration, we gathered ideas from YouTube videos and NASA JPL's educational page.
Explore: Crazy Eight + MVP Phase
Team mate Dara and I created several design ideas using the Crazy Eight's method. Over Zoom we share these ideas, and then narrowed it down to one MVP concept. The whiteboard sketches below demonstrate the beginning of screens for Summer In Space. I developed the red routes for landing on the Moon, while Dara created the screens for Mars.
Design: Prototypes + Micro Interactions
We wanted to create an interactive Summer in Space camp for kids, that started from lift off to landing on the moon, then exploration on Mars. Our design was aimed to include everyone, as we felt a journey to space should be an equal opportunity for all kids. We vicariously did this with city pigeons, rats and Florida gators. Inclusive Duo selected two missions, the first is to visit the Moon and second land on Mars. We created red routes for these two distinct experiences.
Low Fidelity Prototype
High Fidelity Prototype
Wire + Micro Interactions
Keynote speaker Zack Thomas discussed NASA JPL's mission Artemis to return to the moon, and that the goal was for all to be able to one day make the journey to live on the moon. Inspire by these words, we decided to make this app accessible to all. We added voice and gaming to make it easier for those who are disabled. Also, we adapted the accessibility menu from UserWay to include sign language. Accessibility menus offer more control of the user experience and are easier to find than built in accessibility. Our menu pops up in the app, but is not functional due to time constraint. This is something we definitely would like to develop. My portfolio site is equipped with UserWay. To see how it works, simply click on the icon to the right.
UI Elements + Graphics
In order to create unique graphics, backgrounds and UI elements, we utilized Adobe Photoshop and Procreate. It was fun to see deep space come to live using the pen and layers. And it was especially useful in creating posters for kids to download. We used this as a way to spark sharing on social media. Kids could share those they collected or even create their own to upload to the "Time Capsule" on the home page.
Test: Summer In Space
We shared our Summer In Space app with five participants to get feedback on usability and likability. All five said they would use and share our app design. One was a teacher in special education who loved the accessibility menu. She was excited to share with her class so that they could feel included in space exploration.
100 % Adoption Rate
If we had more time, I would have liked to develop the accessibility menu to be fully working. And I would use dScout to do a diary study to better understand how kids would actually use the app in a real environment. I also, would leverage the "Express" feature in dScout to quantify my findings. Express allows you to ask a quick fire question or task to their entire data base of testers. This way you can get a large pool to validate qualitative key findings.