Gotham Space Agency
The Gotham Space Agency, is a group dedicated to exploring the frontier of space and inspiring the next generation of citizen scientists. GSA will utilize a 2U Cubesat deployment with a crew of 3d printed characters to educate kids about space and scientific experimentation in the space environment. The work is UX design for the character selection part for GSA’s website.
October 2015 – November 2015
Client Project (5 team members)
- The Avatar navigation bar brings them to this page.
- Avatar already created float in a cloud of thumbnails.
- The more votes a design has, the larger the thumbnail.
- Clicking a thumbnail brings up a pop-up with the astronaut’s name and biography.
- Vote for the design by clicking the portrait in the pop-up window.
- Create an Avatar, takes the kids to the astronaut selection process. It leads them to a page that shows a 3D skeleton structure of the astronaut.
- Customize the features section to change each part of the body.
- A gallery of images of everything from gender, face, body, color, style, shape, everything.
- Click on each body part of the 3D skeleton to take them directly to the section of the gallery with the selection made.
- Add a little biography of the custom made avatar
- The training part is a series of questions on astronaut training process which deals with things about the space about Anti-gravity, space walking or swimming training.
- This leads to kids interacting with the different ideas and concepts of space training and how it leads to curiosity and eagerness.
- Once hit complete, they can share their Avatar to the Gotham Universe, which brings them back to the main landing page, where they can other floating Avatars.
The Gotham Space Agency, is a group dedicated to exploring the frontier of space and inspiring the next generation of citizen scientists. GSA will utilize a 2U Cubesat deployment with a crew of 3d printed characters to educate kids about space and scientific experimentation in the space environment.
Astronaut Selection and Training (Group B): Kids will have the opportunity to select and design the Astronauts and will help the Astronaut participate in Astronaut training. Ideas for this section include; possible voting system for the crew selection, one crew member per class/school, input from “real-Astronauts”, and other edu type ideas. An important aspect of this section is to create an engaging experience and tie it in with other sections of the site (pre-launch, mission, and post-launch). Heavy emphasis should be placed on character development. Additionally this entire process should be a one of kind learning experience for kids. Material for astronauts: The crew members may be printed from a special material currently being tested MIT– if radiation hits the crew member, while on an EVA, the material glows. Photos and videos of the glowing crew member will appear when the satellite is on the side of the earth where the glowing material can be seen.
Target Audience: middle school
Character Design and Selection Process Ability for kids to custom design and submit characters. There would be some type of selection process for the characters that get to go on the mission.
Partial Character Development / Character Prompts General characteristics of the character personalities such as certain phrases, personality traits, area of expertise, appearance, history, voice, etc. How it looks like shape wiese. More specific about what they need to design. they want kids in school to design the character full color and full personality.
Astronaut Selection and Training Process Identify criteria for which astronauts get to go to space and the training they will need to go through in order to prepare for the mission. Look at resources such as Star City and NASA.
Student Engagement How can students and schools be part of this.
The design process for this client project has been really amazing yet challenging at times. Our group had to struggle a little with showcasing exactly what the client wanted. Initially we went all out with the character selection process, including facial recognition and really hi-tech stuff in it. But, getting feedback at all times from the Client and our Prof.Dana, made the whole process of changing and making things minimal and simple for middle school students has been really enriching.
We have worked, reworked, iterated and reiterated our designs/wireframes a couple of times, with the guidance of the faculty and positive feedbacks to making everything much better.
Our Initial Idea
- Character selection that mimics many popular games such as The SIMS, NBS 2K15, World of Warcraft, and FIFA.
- All the images will be presented to them as sliders for gender, skin color, hair, accessories, and weight.
- Applying their own face onto their avatar(facial recognition) using computer camera/uploading picture.
- Background story of the character, which leads to creating different roles of the crew members.
- Next, training section of the game begins, which is an interactive assembly line( with animations).
- Goal of these characters is to obtain the”unknown glowing material” as a medal for completion.
Feedback From Client
“Let me be the voice of Calm. Simplify. Strip down. Bring the experience to its essence.”
This helped us in narrowing down the whole process and make it more simple for the middle school students to come and use this website, create a character, make it fun for them to interact with it, customize it a little with their personal biography to each character created. And then go through some fun based questions about the training process of these astronauts, getting them to get to know a little about space and stuff like anti-Gravity, swimming, space walking and all.
Our initial sketches were primarily intended to storyboard the user’s process through the character creation process. We wanted everything to be completely customizable, on the scale of the commercial games from our competitive analysis. This meant that the shape, style, weight, hair, nose, eyes, accessories, space suit, and color of each attribute could be customized.
Once the user was satisfied with the look of their astronaut, his/her avatar was dropped (down a slide) into training. Training consisted of ten questions, each relating to a part of real astronaut training. The kid’s answers would affect what role the avatar would take in the crew.
Once training was completed, the kid would share their design on Instagram and vote for the best designs.
Our initial prototype was a medium-fidelity version of the paper sketches. We cleaned up the customization process a little so that the body and face were clearly separate sections, and within those sections the shape, color, style were subsets of the bottom navigation.
User Personas & User Flows