Using citizen science to track patterns in declining bee populations
Create a prototype for an app that will allow citizens to contribute data about animal populations in urban areas
To start this project, I brainstormed different animals to study and different citizens who might be interested in an animal census app. After brainstorming, I narrowed my project down to one group of people and one animal to collect data on.
I chose to collect data on bees, because the bee population continues to dwindle, which harms biodiversity and ecosystems, and census data in that field could potentially help revive them.
I chose to cater my app towards gardeners because I believe that gardeners would be among the most motivated to report bee behavior. Also, because gardeners spend lots of time outdoors, and depend on pollinating insects to keep their gardens alive, they may be more likely to notice bees than other citizens.
"gardeners" and "bumble bee sightings: what can we do to help bee populations?"
This brainstorm allowed me to narrow down the functions of my app. After brainstorm, I decided that I wanted my app to be able to collect data for number of bees, time and location of observation, and information about the environment. I also decided that I wanted a function for single bee sightings along with the ability to register a full hive.
Lastly, I explored ways to motivate users. Reporting a bee sighting is a hassle. Why should citizen gardeners take their time to to report the time and location of bees?
I decided to build intrinsic motivation into my app. I want users to be motivated by the real need for data on bees and the ability to help global biodiversity with the information gained from animal census apps. In order to facilitate this intrinsic motivation, I decided to add two extra features to my app. One shows scientific research and articles about the effects of a declining bee population, and the other shows results of the data collected by the app, including graphs of bee population and research conducted using the apps data. I believe that seeing and understanding the effect of their contributions, users will be motivated to continue contributing.
Brainstorm on"types of data," "additional features," and "user motivation"
After brainstorming the functions of my app, I organized the features of Bee Everywhere into a usable and understandable structure.
Individual screens laid out in a way that flows through the process of reporting a bee sighting.
Flowchart of app organization
I organized the individual screens into an interactive prototype using Marvel, a tool that creates a digital prototype by linking photos.
I loved working on this project. BeeEverywhere was one of my first experiences with the design process, and it made me more confident about my design career goals.
I was really happy with the concept of BeeEverywhere because it allowed citizens to participate in research that interested them and it helped support the study of bee populations.
While this is clearly a very salient issue, my app failed to address it in a feasible way. In the future, I would be very excited to explore more reasonable solutions to this important environmental problem.