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PlantGo: Tech Cares For Nature



PlantGo:


My Role:

UI & UX Designer


Skills:

UI/UX Design, Design Research, Branding, Data Analysis, Design Thinking, AR, Mixed Reality


Tools:

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Figma, Figjam, Miro


Objective: 

To create a cohesive platform for Georgia Tech's student community to actively participate in the conservation and protection of biodiversity on campus.


Research Question: 

How can students use observation data to explore and appreciate the natural world around the Georgia Tech campus?


No Unified Platform, Fragmented Conservation Efforts, Low Engagement:

Problem Statements:


  • Lack of a unified platform for students and staff interested in biodiversity conservation of one of Georgia's greenest campuses

  • Fragmented efforts among student clubs and organizations focused on environmental initiatives

  • Untapped potential of existing biological data sources like iNaturalist for campus conservation and sustainable development

  • Missed opportunity to engage a large student body in caring for and conserving campus wildlife including plants, trees, and animals

  • Over-dependency on the university's landscaping team for maintenance and upkeep of green spaces


Community-Driven Biodiversity Conservation:

Target Audience:

Georgia Tech students who are interested in environmental conservation.


Primary Use Case:

Data recording, observation, and engagement with student clubs and organizations.


Ideation:

  • Selected 'Paul G. Mayer Memorial Gardens' as a test location for the app prototype

  • Focused on creating an interactive and immersive mixed reality experience to foster community engagement and exploration

  • Leveraged the potential of iNaturalist's data to enhance learning and transform how students perceive the natural environment

  • Designed UX to provide a collaborative experience with the ability to follow students, receive notifications, and join student organizations


Effortless Navigation:


Explore With Ease: Designed for easy navigation, the app guides students with directions to the green spaces around campus, here, the Paul G. Mayer Memorial Gardens.



An interactive experience is initiated upon arrival.



Augmented Reality Profiles: As students scan the garden through the app's camera, student profiles appear over observed plants or animals, encouraging exploration of the biodiversity within the garden.



Connecting Through Eco Diaries:

PlantGo seamlessly integrates iNaturalist data within the Georgia Tech campus, retrieving detailed information for each plant and animal, including scientific names, observation counts, locations, visual identifiers, native zones, and the number of followers for each species. For every species, the app presents a 3D model, providing a visually immersive experience for students.



Dynamic Model Detailing: The level of detail in the 3D model is directly correlated with the number of observations made for that species of plant or animal.



Highly observed species result in more detailed 3D models.



Detailed Journal Entries: Observation journals provide insights into the health and condition of the observed plant or animal. Students can report distress or document thriving conditions, fostering a collective sense of care. These entries also include date and time stamps, and icons indicating observation health.



Social Connectivity and Club Affiliation: Students can follow or unfollow peers, receiving notifications for new observation journals posted by those they follow. This enhances a sense of community. They can view if the observer is part of a student club or organization.



Joining Campus Communities:

Clicking on a club or organization's name provides a quick overview of their work in and around the Georgia Tech campus.



Comprehensive Information: Students can access additional details such as the organization's website, meeting timings, and social media links. They can also view the organization's active members and group pictures.



Joining Option: A link to join the organization directly from the app streamlines the registration and onboarding process.



Wireframing & Prototyping:


User Testing:

I engaged in a collaborative user testing and review process of the app's prototype. The app's design benefited from diverse perspectives.



Impact:

  • Encourages hands-on experiences, environmental understanding and education, and a sense of accomplishment

  • Connects students, fosters collaboration and community engagement, and promotes shared commitment to environmental stewardship

  • Actively involves students in data collection, contributing to the conservation of rich and diverse campus flora and fauna


Takeaways:

  • Wore multiple hats as UI/UX and visual designer, actively contributing to research and design execution

  • Realized the transformative potential of interactive mixed reality experiences in fostering community engagement for environmental conservation

  • Honed design abilities, deepened understanding of crafting immersive experiences, and boosted confidence in prototyping


Credits:

Faculty: Prof. Yanni A. Loukissas, Prof. Charlie Bennett

Team members: Ruoyi Liu, Vyshnavi Namani


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