Project Report Book
0 - Topic Definition
Part 1 - Understanding the Problem
Part 2 - Design Alternatives
Part 3 - Prototype/Evaluation Plan
Part 4 - Evaluation
Part 2 - Design Alternatives
One of Zoo Atlanta's primary goals is to provide their visitors with an educational experience that keeps them entertained. This project aims to design a system that would improve the communication of educational information. It should also provide entertainment for the parents and children that visit Zoo Atlanta. The system is designed for the new Children's Zoo (Appendix A) at Zoo Atlanta. The fundamental objective of the new Children's Zoo is to convey information about animal empathy to children. Additionally, this new addition is going to provide information about animal behavior, diet, habitat, sounds, physical characteristics and explain that animals and children have similar needs. The Children's Zoo is intended for families with children ranging from 3-7 years of age and Zoo staff, which includes both the volunteer and professional staff members.
1. Provide Educational experience: System should educate children about animal empathy because it is a primary goal for the Children's Zoo. It should also provide information about the animals' diet, behavior, habitats and physical characteristics to the children in a way that allows them to relate to them.
2. Quick Response: Children have a short attention span, so the system should respond quickly to inputs.
3. Support for multiple users: Zoo Atlanta is generally very crowded. The design should allow multiple users to interact with the system or allow for easy duplication.
4. Ease of use: Children comprise the target population for the system. They only understand simplistic interactions.
5. Updateable: Over a period of time, exhibit information can become irrelevant and will need to be replaced. It should be easy to change the information conveyed by the system.
6. Low Maintenance: Zoo Staff may not be very comfortable with technology, and it may be expensive for the zoo to hire maintenance personnel. Therefore, the system should have very low maintenance needs.
7. Multimodality: The system should try to employ a multitude of perceptual channels and multimodal interfaces to enhance task performance. This is to increase the users involvement in the system.
8. Non-interference with staff interactions: The system should not interfere with Zoo Atlanta's staff interactions. There should be a provision to silence the system or it should be in an area where it will not disturb the staff.
1. Inviting in both interactivity and appearance: The physical appearance should attract children as well as adults. The interactions provided by the system should be engaging and captivate a child's attention.
2. Safe: The design should be safe for the users, and must meet safety guidelines provided by Zoo Atlanta.
3. Sturdy and Durable: The design should be sturdy and must be able to withstand children kicking it, climbing on it or simply trying to break it. The system must also withstand changes in weather conditions.
4. Fit within Physical constraints of given area: The system should fit within specified space constraints of the Children's Zoo. Its size should not pose problems to the visitors or to the Zoo staff.
Design Space description:
In order to utilize the full design space, the group concentrated on brainstorming for designs based on three possibilities for who would guide the experience. Those were zoo-guided, parent-guided and child-guided. It was then decided that the zoo-guided interaction could be split into Zoo Atlanta staff and a programmed avatar. Zoo Atlanta is trying to increase onsite parent-child interactions though parents might be looking for a chance to let their kids play without bothering them. That provides some difficulty for us designing a parent-guided system. An apathetic or tired and distracted parent may not assist children in understanding the system or may assist functionally, but fail to provide the higher-level concepts and morals of the story. Zoo and child-guided experiences rely on excellent communication of ideas for them to be of any use.
For all of the designs the usability criteria of Robustness/Durability, Familiarity and Predictability had to be considered. Each of these criteria posed problems. Robustness/Durability was found to be difficult because every level of complexity added to the potential maintenance and shortened the life of the system. Familiarity limited the design space to those things an average 3-7 year old child would have had experience with. This did not pose a real problem, but it influenced the system interactions that were considered. This includes the fact that children 5 years old and under cannot read text. Predictability affected the design space in the same way as Familiarity, it limited the interactions to those that would be understood by 3-7 year old children. This meant designs had to have direct correlations between action and feedback. Bellow is a graph of the final designs and a relative adherence to the usability criteria.
With the designs, a range of exterior human involvement was explored. Shown below is a scale of our final designs according to these criteria.
Staff-Led interactive systems would rely almost exclusively on the personnel; especially considering the system would likely support multiple children simultaneously (staff is expensive). Parent-Led depends on the parent or older sibling to convey high-level messages about respect for animals, or even to help the child explore the ways the graphics are similar. Avatar-Guided and Child-Exploratory do not involve parents in their current designs, and Child-Exploratory is almost entirely child-initiated dialog, making it furthest from requiring other people.
Another criteria which were explored was the depth of interaction. This involves the quantity of both modalities (tactile vs. audio) and methods (button push vs. petting) for interaction, as well as the similar variety in system state and response. Below is the scale of our final designs.
The Avatar-Guided paradigm has only button presses, but the input fundamentally changes the state of the system. Staff- and Parent-Led designs include people as components of the system. This means added flexibility, improvisation, and tailoring to children's needs. Child-Exploratory involves a variety of recognized input methods and haptic, video, and audio system changes and responses.
The range of feedback was also explored in the designs. The scale below shows the final designs according to this criteria.
Avatar-Guided has the downfall of relying on children's memory of the choices so far and their effects to convey the overall message. The feedback, at least for children who can't read, is the visual animation and audio narration. At the other end of the spectrum, the Parent-Led paradigm's feedback includes not only the lights and sounds, but the individually tailored feedback from parents that can help maximize understanding of the system and the overall concepts. Of course, the makes the important assumption that the parents will be engaged in the activity and in their child's learning process. This may not always be the case, and the multimodal and directly metaphorical feedback provided by the Child-Exploratory system is also an example of useful and visible feedback.
The final question about the systems being designed was whether they should support multiple children or not. There will always be many children near the system, and most families include more than one child. The system will not have as personal an experience if multiple children are allowed to interact at the same time. This may result in a loss of effectiveness in communication of the desired information. This is especially relevant for a parent-guided system because parents cannot assist only one of their children with the system and ignore the rest. However, it also would be hard for parents to manage and teach multiple children using the same system.
We discussed a large number of designs alternatives for the chosen problem. A brief description of the design along with the reason for not choosing it is given below:
1. Staff Initiated: In this approach a staff would teach children about animal empathy and characteristics. However, we felt that there was not much room for improvement in this approach. Also, the best part of this design is the human element that facilitates natural interactions between staff and children. We felt that augmenting or altering it may hamper the natural interaction process. The ways by which this could be augmented is letting children feed in questions using keyboard or a screen with buttons. Staff could have also been used to guide interactions with or teach children about the technical component. However, this approach would be expensive.
2. Jumping Station, Kangaroo Pouch: Since, the outback in the petting zoo would have kangaroos we explored the ways by which children could be taught about them. A jumping station could be designed where children could jump and compare their height with the kangaroo's jump. The jumping station would detect both sideways and vertical jumps. Children could also be educated about nurturing and parent-children relationships by letting them get inside a modeled kangaroo pouch. Both these designs were not selected because they conveyed very little information and had limited functionality.
3. Sheep Shearing: Children could be taught about sheep shearing by giving them a virtual sheep to shear. They would shear the sheep by interacting with the statue and “erasing” wool from the sheep. This design also had the same pitfall as the one mentioned above.
4. Avatar with Voice recognition: We thought of designing an avatar with a wide database of information. It would have a voice recognition system to recognize the questions asked and would search the database and provide the most appropriate information. The main disadvantage of this design was that it would require implementation of a large number of system models and would be very expensive.
5. Variations on the Parent driven approach: We came up with many variations on the parent-led matching game that is presented in the Design Alternatives section. One of the major decisions involved the style of interaction between the multiple users. In the alternatives we favored, there may be multiple stations for children and one for an adult. In this case, the adult chooses a graphic or question first, and the children go second. For older children, this is an opportunity for parent-supervised competition to see who can make the correct selection first. For younger children, a correct answer at any time yields corresponding feedback, so cooperation and taking the time to understand with parents' help may be more important than speed and competition. One of the designs we did not choose was another wall or another mode in the same wall which would display a problem, in the form of a central question or graphic. The child or multiple children would then have to find the corresponding graphic, as would the adult. We decided that this may make it more exciting for some children, but the parent in competition is not a parent acting as a teaching component in the system, which was the original goal. Also, the parent and children would have to have the same set of blocks. If it were one mode of the game, the parent would have 2 sets of blocks to accommodate both modes. Two walls for the slightly different games would be confusing, and the petting zoo does not have enough space.
TOP THREE ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS
Parent-Guided System: The Matching Game
One of Zoo Atlanta's goals is to increase the amount of parent-child interaction through interactive systems. This lead to a parent-guided system that encouraged those interactions. The block part of the design was decided upon because children are used to interacting with blocks and enjoy playing with tangible objects. The pictures were chosen to be on the sides of the blocks as an easy way for children to understand the ideas that we are trying to convey. These are the reasons we chose to develop this Parent-Guided System.
This system is in the form of a wall space, perhaps 5 to 7 feet in width and 7 to 9 feet high. To be attractive and entertaining to children 3-7 years old, it has a wildlife or landscape photograph or mural related to the Outback theme of the petting zoo. There is a large light in the center near the top of the wall, and painted-on connecting lines to two cubic holes in the wall. In front of the wall are two bins of different heights: children easily reach the top of one; most adults easily reach the top of the other. In each bin, there is a set of cubes with graphic images on them. In the child's bin, the images are depictions of various petting zoo animals performing life functions, as well as some images of the food they eat and the places they live. In the parent's bin, the graphics are of human children in analogous activities and some blocks depicting what humans eat and where they live. Some of the parent blocks also could have questions on them. Each block is connected at one corner by a thin, plastic-coated steel cable that is also secured to the bin itself. Finally, underneath the light in the center of the wall, simple instructions for the game are written in big bold text, along with suggested abstract concepts for parents to communicate to their children, like “Animals are like you and me in many ways, and should be treated with respect.”
There are a couple of ways a child and parent (or older sibling) can use the system. When the parent puts a larger block in the larger, higher hole, the child's task (assisted by the parent) is to find a corresponding smaller block in their bin and place it in their smaller hole. If the parent block is a question, the parent helps the child understand the question and the child searches for and places a block with the appropriate graphic answer. If the parent block is a graphic of human children in certain activities, the child's task is to find a block with a petting zoo animal in a similar activity. Alternatively, the child could place a block first and the parent could recruit the child's help in picking a big block that corresponds. The system could support both methods by simply testing for a match when the second block is placed, regardless of order.
When a matching pair of blocks is in place, the central light turns green and a pleasant sound plays. With the placement of an incorrect second block, the light turns red and a slightly unpleasant sound plays. The child visually learns some similarities between himself and the animals, hopefully planting the seed of an empathic understanding. At the very least, with the parent's help, he learns to treat the animals with respect.
In place of cubic holes and graphic blocks with cables, there could be small and large wheels with different images alternating like pie slices. The line connecting the wheels to the central light could have an arrow as an indicator of which “pie slice” graphic is selected. Another design could use two sets of blocks that are on a rod and can rotate on one axis. Each available side could have a different graphic, and moving them along the rod and pushing them into a defined answer space could select them. Finally, families with more than one child could be supported in using the system simultaneously by adding multiple child block sets and holes (or wheels). The system could then have a feedback light above each hole to let each child know if they made a match. With younger children, it supports multiple simultaneous efforts or collaboration. With older children, it affords competition. This general system could also be modified to fit in the child-driven or avatar-guided methods of interaction.
(a) The system waits for someone to play with it. (b) The parent puts a big block in the big hole. (c) The child puts the matching little block in the little hole. (d) The green light turns on and a positive sound is played.Scenarios:
Scenario 1: Simon, age 5.
Simon has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. His medication helps him in school, but in open park spaces with lots of stimuli, he bounces from interest to interest. He has come to Zoo Atlanta with his father Ben, 34, and his sister, Natalie, 18 months. The family is there as an entertaining activity together, but Ben would also like to help Simon pick up even a little bit of knowledge he finds interesting.
So far, Simon's trip has been frustrating. He feels held back by his father catering to Natalie's needs. He quickly loses interest in the signs at the exhibits, although he may briefly touch the 3-dimensional ones, like the lion skull. He likes the exotic animals, but at each viewing point he only stays if he can find the animal and it's doing something interesting. Most of the animals are asleep in the afternoon so he quickly loses interest and dashes off to the next exhibit, only to wait for his family.
When they get to the petting zoo, Simon is excited to be able to touch some animals, but he doesn't yet understand that they have needs like he does. Just before entering the queue before the petting pen, the family sees a wall with a flashing light and an outback landscape painting on it. There are two cubic holes in it of different sizes and large bold text between them. Two sets of cubes, of sizes corresponding to the holes, are sitting in their own bins, and have bright graphics of different things on them. Attracted by the light, colors, and physical objects to interact with, Simon rushes up to the wall and picks up one of the blocks in the lower bin and, since the hole is so inviting, puts it in. He Then tries to toss the block to his sister, potentially hurting her, but a steel cable connecting the block to the bin makes it fall short and bang the ground. Fortunately, the light block is made of plastic. The graphic image is beneath layers of laminate so it is still intact. Ben parks Natalie's stroller nearby and walks up to investigate. It seems clear to Ben that the higher bin with larger blocks go with the higher hole, and that this set would be more difficult for children to use. Ben sees the simple instructions for the matching game, and in red text underneath, the object of the game: help to teach that animals are like us, and deserve respect.
Ben takes a big block and places it in the higher hole. It's a picture of a mean older brother pulling the hair of a crying younger sister. The big central light stops flashing and Ben tells Simon to pick a block with a similar image in the hole on his side. Simon quickly scans his set of blocks and sees one with a mother and child goat graphic. He picks it up and puts it in the hole. The big light turns red and a parabolic speaker directs a short, slightly annoying noise down. Ben tells Simon to look at the large block again, “Do you see one of your blocks where someone's hurting someone else?” Simon takes out the first block and looks a little closer at his set. He spots a block with an image of a child's hand pulling the ear of a goat that looks upset. The backgrounds on this block and the large block are red, and both have a similar theme. He puts this block in the hole and the light turns green. Having read the sign, and happy that his son is spending time on something, Ben takes advantage: “See? Goats don't like being teased either. When you get in there, make sure you treat them how you would want to be, if you were a goat!”
When allowed in the petting pen, Simon beelines to the nearest goat but his father calls, “Don't scare them, Simon. Remember to be nice.” Simon pets and feeds the goats in a respectful manner. When they leave the exhibit, Simon wants to take one of the blocks with him, but a steel cable connecting the bin to a corner of the block allows it to be put in its hole, but not be taken away.
Scenario 2: Hedy, age 3. This scenario includes the discussed alternative for multiple child interaction.
Hedy is very interested in all the animals but is a little afraid of them all. She gets upset when she hears birdcalls or the mourning lion's cry. Hedy is at the zoo with her mother and father and older brother, Peter, age 7. The parents took the children to the zoo to get out of the house and get some relief from the children. When they get to the petting zoo, the parents anticipate being able to sit back and relax while the children are occupied with real animals and watched by zoo staff. Non-animal components are unexpected, and when the children rush over to the interactive wall with holes because of the light, the mural, and the easily turned wheels, the mother reluctantly follows while the father sits down on a nearby bench.
While the children are playing with the wheels: spinning them and trying to stop each other's, the mother glances at the instructions but doesn't care to worry about the abstract concepts behind the game. She turns the larger parent wheel and says, “Children, see if you can find one of your blocks that matches.” She then backs off from the interaction to take a break. Peter immediately spins Hedy's wheel very fast and begins to scan his own for the correct graphic. Hedy stops her wheel but Peter keeps interfering. At 7, Peter quickly sees the similarity between the larger selected graphic of a child drinking from a glass and a graphic of a pig drinking from a trough on his smaller wheel, and spins it to the right place. Hedy doesn't know what's hit her and she becomes frustrated. She had no time to understand the idea of the parent graphic, and couldn't play with her own wheel because Peter interfered. The big green light comes on, and so does the smaller one over Peter's wheel. Hedy's does not light up because she hasn't caught up. Peter celebrates by bonking Hedy on the head and spinning her wheel some more. Then he rushes over the larger wheel and manages to reach up and spin to a new graphic, telling Hedy to get the match. Hedy tries a couple turns, but doesn't quite understand. Eventually, Peter comes back over and spins the wheel to the correct graphic, turning the light green and bonking Hedy again. Hedy may have seen how some images are similar, but she does not learn the concept of the matching game, nor does she understand the empathy principles behind it. Then the children get in the queue and go to pet the goats. Peter pokes a goat in the eye, and Hedy is too afraid to approach one, because she hasn't learned how they are much like her. Peter is promptly kicked out, Hedy runs after him since she is too scared to be there alone, and the parents' break is cut short.
§ Simple and direct interaction
§ Will maintain interest easily.
§ Physical things attract 3-7yr olds, esp. w/pictures.
§ Chains will get tangled, so try to keep design to one chain for each set.
§ Maybe a ring at the end of the chain with lots of big plastic punch cards instead of blocks would be a good idea.
§ Maybe have an array of blocks lined out and push them down like buttons to select them.
§ Color-coded backgrounds sound helpful. Same context for the pictures might be better.
§ Doesn't seem like there's enough of a reward to keep people interested.
§ A sound associated with each block or each correct answer might enhance interest.
§ Screens with picture illustration of concept when blocks are matched might be a better reward for a match than just a light and sound.
§ Relationship between block pictures and real life, might be to difficult to understand.
§ Some parents might not want to participate.
§ Takes advantage of involved parents that are trusted by children and have experience teaching their children the way they learn best
§ Parents have many opportunities for teachable moments, as the child is happy to play with tactile objects and colorful graphics.
§ Families with multiple children may be able to use the system at once
§ Parents can help guide the game to cooperative or competitive based on interest and behavior
§ Children that cannot read can see simplistic semantic and color-coded similarities between two graphics.
§ Children informally learn similarities between themselves and animals, and graphics can convey specific messages about how to treat them respectfully
§ Could be modified to fit in the child-driven or avatar-guided methods
§ Graphics can be changed in matching pairs—semantics need not be coded by the system, only matches and non-matches
§ Parent goals conflict with zoo/game goals. Rest versus cooperative and guided learning.
§ Without adult guidance multiple children may deliberately interfere
§ Competition in older children may take over, and the benefits of cooperation and taking time to explain may be lost
§ Unmotivated parent or no parent may not teach concepts behind the game
Avatar-Guided System: Choose Your Own Adventure
This Avatar-Guided System was chosen because children are attracted to cartoons. We decided children would easily be able to learn from the central character, especially if the child had control of the story. From the zoo's perspective, this system would be easy to install and maintain, and the stories could very simple to update.
There will be an onscreen barn owl that tells the story and aids in the interactions. The story will be presented as a cartoon-style animation. There will be buttons next to the screen, which will be of different shapes and colors, which will have onscreen representations next to their respective values. There will also be a button below the screen, which will restart the story. The system will be at a height low enough for children to reach. The interaction will happen between story segments. The owl will explain the story-line choices and buttons, and they will appear onscreen with small animations and pictures of the corresponding button next to it. The child will press a button, and the chosen part of the story will be narrated and illustrated onscreen.
(a) Barn owl asks for child input to story. (b) Child presses button for the direction they want to story to go in. (c) Owl narrates animation of story chosen by child. (d) Owl asks for next input into story.
Scenario 1: Sally, age 3.
It's been a long zoo trip, so Sally is kind of impatient and a bit tired. She wanders into the barn in front of the petting zoo. Near the exit, there is a display that seems to be just Sally's height. She wanders over to see what it's about. On the screen is an animation of a barn owl and some text she can't read (the text says “Press any button to begin the story”). Confused about what to do, Sally presses a few buttons until the barn owl says hello and begins telling the story of a child named Joey visiting the petting zoo. The owl then asks what animal Joey wants to pet, a goat, a sheep or a pig. Onscreen there is a line of shapes that look like the buttons next to the screen, and animations of the three animal possibilities as well as some text (the question and possible answers). Sally's still not sure which button to press, so she randomly presses the sheep button. The barn owl then continues the story with Joey entering the petting zoo gates. He asks whether Joey runs or walks up to the sheep, and the appropriate options, text and animations appear onscreen. Sally, still confused about the button correspondence, presses the button for Joey running toward the sheep. The owl says the sheep ran away scared and hid. Then gives her the same options of how Joey could approach a different sheep. Sally seeing the animations are the same hits all the buttons. The system decides the first one that was hit was the button for Joey walking toward the sheep. The barn owl tells Sally about that being the right way and asks how Joey should touch the sheep. Sally notices that her parents are calling her over to the real petting zoo, and runs to join them. The display resets to the start screen after five minutes of inactivity.
Scenario 2: Joshua, age 6.
Joshua loves learning about the animals at the zoo. He enters the petting zoo area excited about getting to be so close to the animals. When wandering through the barn, he sees a display with a barn owl asking a question. After getting a bit closer, he notices that there is a button labeled “Reset the Story.” He presses the button and the barn owl says hello and begins narrating the animation of a story about a boy named Joey visiting a petting zoo. The owl asks what animal Joey wants to pet, a goat, a sheep or a pig. Onscreen appears a line of shapes that look like the buttons next to the screen, and names and animations of the three animal possibilities. Joshua presses the button which has the same shape and color of the shape next to the goat option. The owl then proceeds to narrate Joey entering the petting zoo gates. At this point, Joshua's little sister wanders over. She tries to climb onto the display, which can easily hold her weight, but she has a cup of liquid in her hand which spills all down the front of the display. Luckily the display has a protective laminate and the buttons have a rubber layer which protects their circuitry. They run off afraid they've hurt something, but later the zoo staff just cleans the surface off.
§ Needs to be very colorful with simple art, very cartoony, lots of animations.
§ Children like to watch television and this might be similar enough.
§ Children might want to press the animals or animations instead of the buttons, so touch screen might be better.
§ Children prefer tactile things to pictures or displays.
§ Owl voice should be synced with story and button feedback.
§ Keep each section of the story small, children need to interact because of short attention span.
§ Trial and error is a good learning form, but might not work for a kid with a mean streak.
§ Might be boring for young boys who like excitement and things blowing up
§ Reinforces good habits.
§ Maybe should include some parent humor to encourage their participation.
§ 3 year olds would have difficulty understanding the interactions.
§ Explains all “morals” without outside help.
§ Easy interaction (buttons).
§ Familiar premise (children understand stories).
§ Parents can rest while children learn from owl.
§ Easy first-time use.
§ Need spill proofing.
§ Not very active interaction. Might get boring.
§ Might be hard for 3 year olds to remember the choices.
§ Might not appeal to some children since it's not very novel.
§ Only one child can interact at a time and the story might be too long for other children to wait.
Child-Exploratory System: The Mechanical Goat
This system was chosen to be developed because of the novelty of a mechanical goat as an input. This goat would also provide a direct metaphor to the animals the child is about to encounter. Part of the novelty of the goat is the tactile interaction. This allows children to practice their animal encounter without causing a real animal distress or injury.
The system will be inside a three wall room with an Australian outback scene painted on the walls. An outback scene was chosen to match the future theme of the petting zoo area. The focal point of this system will be a mechanical goat. The goat will be covered with a soft fur-like substance to imitate a real goat as close as possible. There will also be sensors or similar devices imbedded inside the goat to detect such things as touching/petting/hitting intensity, tail pulling and feeding. The goat will be of similar size to the real ones in the petting zoo. This will help the children get a very realistic sense of what they will be interacting with later. There will also be a screen to one side of the goat to display a cartoon goat. Speakers will also have to be placed so that the children and parents both can hear the goat's dialog. There will be a small accessible box which will hold objects, such as fake corn or a water pail, that will be used to meet the goat's different needs. These objects will have to be attached with a cord so that children don't throw, hide or take them from the area.
(a) Onscreen goat calls for children to play with the system. (b) Child pets the mechanical goat nicely and onscreen goat positively reinforces this behavior. (c) Child pulls on mechanical goat's tail and onscreen goat tells child this is not appropriate behavior.
Scenario 1: George, age 5.
Little George excited about visiting the petting zoo with his parents. When he first enters the barn next to the petting zoo he notices what appears to be a goat who has gotten loose from its pen. On closer inspection he realizes that the goat isn't real, but part of an educational game. His parents show him a screen near the goat that is displaying a cartoon goat that is sleeping heavily. When first touched the goat wakes up and speaks directly to the children and parents. As the goat wakes there are displays of the goat's needs, such as food/water, being petted correctly, etc. When the goat's food meter gets too low, for example, George can get a fake pile of corn and place it near the goat's mouth. This will make the cartoon goat get his energy back and become visibly happier to George and his parents. He will also verbally thank George for feeding him correctly. George likes feeding the goat, but is most interested in how to pet him. The display shows the proper way to treat the goat and explains that punching, poking, or other rough behavior can scare or harm the goat. George starts to realize how the little goat has very similar needs as he does. He is well prepared to enter the petting zoo and treats the animals with kindness and respect.
Scenario 2: Andrew, age 6.
Andrew is not the model child that George is. He doesn't want to learn about how to treat the goat. He is most interested in treating the fake goat as a play toy. He pays no attention to his parents' requests to feed or pet the goat. You see, Andrew is a little bully. The display shows the goat becoming sad and Andrew's parents show this to him. Andrew hears the goat telling him that he is being hurt, but Andrew finds it funny and doesn't change his behavior. His parents tell him he can't treat the real animals like this and decide to take him to the petting area. Upon entrance to the area Andrew tries to jump on, poke, and scare the animals. The zookeeper is enraged by his behavior and kicks him out of the petting zoo. Andrew is a very sad little boy now and wishes that he would've treated the animals better.
§ Gives children a chance to make mistakes and be taught the correct behavior.
§ If used properly, should be easy to transfer learned behaviors to real petting area.
§ Reward for completion – sticker badge like the national park junior ranger program
§ Might not be life-like enough.
§ Statue will attract attention easily.
§ Onscreen goat is a good idea, but mechanical input goat might be overkill.
§ Seems very breakable.
§ Cartoon can call out to play with it.
§ Onscreen goat could be a friend of the mechanical goat. “Hey, that's not a nice way to treat my friend!” Since goats they are about to pet can't talk.
§ Definitely need the onscreen goat. Mechanical goat talking won't be as effective.
§ Don't have to worry about children reading.
§ Learn by experimentation.
§ Might still require parent guidance.
§ Could maybe use a parent guided checklist.
§ Might be too unsanitary, parents might not want children to touch it.
§ Children relate to cartoons easily
§ Easy to map behaviors between mechanical goat and live animal
§ Children can learn without parental guidance
§ Likely to be high maintenance
§ Most likely system to break
§ May not discourage bad behavior
§ Durability / Robustness
Since most of the exhibits in Zoo Atlanta are outdoors or have minimal shelter, this system must be able to withstand a variety of weather elements such as high temperatures, rain, and even snow. Since this system is tactile and geared toward education it must be durable. It must maintain operability and consistent functionality, such as responsiveness, under the stresses of such interaction. The system should also be responsive to the interaction with both a child and an adult. The type of feedback given in such as response is likely to be different for both user groups.
This system should be easy to use for a first time user, since it is likely that this system will be encountered during a visitor's first trip to Zoo Atlanta. The system should perform somewhat as a young child might expect given their experiences with similar tactile educational systems. For instance, a button on the system should provide the affordances of being pressed because many educational tools for young children that involve buttons provide that same affordances. A predictable system is more likely to retain a child's attention span for a longer period. This same predictability should also give adults the ability to assist a child with the system. If an adult is able to predict the systems actions then they are likely to feel more comfortable in assisting their children in using the system thus accomplishing the educational goals of Zoo Atlanta in the process.
This system is intended to leverage a child's existing knowledge of animals in order to enhance that knowledge. It is assumed that a child who would come into contact with this system would recognize the animal in our system. The goal of the system is to leverage a child's familiarity with animals in order to teach them about animal empathy as well as how they and animals are alike. This will be measured by determining if the system was able to convey that information to a child such that the child is aware of how to treat the animals in the petting zoo at Zoo Atlanta.
The Children's Zoo is located in Zoo Atlanta close to the Educational Center. The theme of the Children's Zoo is the Outback and currently the animals scheduled to be in this area are a kookaburra, pot-bellied pigs, kangaroos, goats, and sheep. The children's zoo consists of both petting and viewing areas. There is a trail for the children to take which allows for multiple viewing stations for the kangaroos. There is a barn that leads the children the petting area, and other planned small exhibits. There is only one entrance/exit to the children's zoo, and a hand washing station is purposely situated right next it. The exhibits in the children's zoo are directed toward teaching children about empathy for animals. Zoo Atlanta also has the goal of teaching children how they are similar to the animals, which in turn teaches the children how to treat the animals in the petting zoo.
The educational goals for the Children's Zoo:
§ Animal Empathy
Map of the new Children's Zoo:
The problem space of the project is vast and has many interesting problems we could focus on and design for. Therefore, choosing a specific problem was a tough task. We discussed two problems in great details and developed designs for them. The first problem incorporated teaching children the importance of hand sanitization as well as designing the hand washing station. The second problem required teaching children animal empathy and animal characteristics etc. We decided to focus on the second problem because we thought that it was more interesting. We also felt that we could come up with better ideas for the chosen problem as it offered more room for design development. However, we would like to present our design solutions for the first problem here.
1. Zoo Staff Guided Approach: In the simplest case a zoo official can teach children about the importance of hand washing. He would guide them through the use of the hand washing station and explain why it is important. The hand washing station would be simple and would have hand sensors for water, soap and air flow. The main advantage of this design is the human factor. However, depending upon the volume of visitors this approach could be very expensive
2. Parent Driven Approach: In this approach the parents would guide the children and provide teach them about its importance. The hand washing station would be attractive and would probably model an elephant using his trunk to provide water for the hand wash. The advantage of this design is that it already exists and it is inexpensive. However, the design relies heavily on parents and if parents forget or are apathetic then the system would fail.
3. Child Driven approach: In this approach the information would be provided in the disguise of fun. We thought of having pictures at the hand washing station of a dirty goat becoming cleaner, a sick man getting healthier or bacteria disappearing as the child progressed through the hand wash. We thought about many ways in which we could step through the hand wash and even tell them a small story about an imaginary child who did not wash his hands. The advantage of this design lies in the fact that it provides the information in a way that children can relate to and have fun. But if the design is not attractive and engaging then it might fail.