IxD301 – Exploration of the new brief
Our latest project for IxD301 is called “The Elements Project”. We have been asked to present five of the elements, designing them along with a home section. It can be either a webpage, tablet/mobile device or even something that doesn’t exist yet. It is very important to remember who you are designing for and remembering that “designing with Content” is the focus of this module, so how we present the information we discover is so important as well.
To explore the new brief, Kyle appointed us six tasks for the week, which would allow us to get a good focus which would allow us to move forward and begin to consider the visual aesthetic and prototype.
Week 1 tasks…
- Competitive analysis ( looking at other examples of how the periodic table is made )
- User Research, Interviews ( do you know a teacher, student or younger sibling – ask them questions )
- User scenarios
- User personas
- Site Maps / User Journeys
This was quite a lot to get done in one week, so I quickly got to work…
What is the periodic table?
The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of chemical elements, is a tabular display of the chemical elements. It is widely used in chemistry, physics, and other sciences, and is generally seen as an icon of chemistry.
Who designed the periodic table?
Dmitri Mendeleev arranged the elements in eight groups but left no gaps for undiscovered elements. In 1869, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the framework that became the modern periodic table, leaving gaps for elements that were yet to be discovered.
Chemists have always looked for ways of arranging the elements to reflect the similarities between their properties. The modern periodic table lists the elements in order of increasing atomic number (the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom). Historically, however, relative atomic masses were used by scientists trying to organise the elements. This was mainly because the idea of atoms being made up of smaller sub-atomic particles (protons, neutrons and electrons) had not been developed. Nevertheless, the basis of the modern periodic table was well established and even used to predict the properties of undiscovered elements long before the concept of the atomic number was developed.
From my research of the periodic table, I’ve come to remember it’s a very well thought out arrangement. One problem I have always had with science however, is that it is presented in the most boring way possible.
I decided to search the app store to see what apps there are already out there, about the periodic table. I found quite a few, however just as I had assumed, they are all very boring… No offence!
From reviewing both of these apps, I can see the potential and that they are both very informative apps, however the way they are laid out is a little complex and boring. Even their Icon designs are a bit too typical. This has set off some inspiration for an idea of mine.
Knowing that I want to design an app for students at GCSE / A level stage, I tried to think back to my roots, to the days when I was studying chemistry. One website I always tended to gravitate towards, due to my sense of trust towards them was BBC bitesize. I felt that the would be a reputable company with truthful facts, compared to say these apps above or other webpages. Since my time studying chemistry (which was a long time ago – not my strong point! ) BBC bitesize have now developed an app. The app had some really great icon designs and a smart layout which would definitely be usable for students of all ages, including primary. I also like how they’ve included a section to help parents with helping their children.
I like how they’ve used different colours to represent different sections of the periodic table…
Gathering some more inspiration…
Out on one of my walks through Belfast city centre, I ended up in a book shop where I discovered some cool children’s science books.
I really love some of the illustrations and would love to experiment with something like this for my app.
I also went to the Ulster Museum Elements exhibition. I done a separate blog post on it which can be seen here.
So far so good! I’m feeling super enthusiastic, inspired and ready to get stuck into the development of my ideas. I have quite a few ideas which I am going to discuss further in my next blog post. I really enjoy gathering information about certain user areas. From looking at these different apps, I can see that they are all successful in including the content, however I want to challenge myself to find a way more fun and lively way of presenting the work. I know myself from school, science was boring, when it could have been so much fun, because it’s interesting and such a broad area.