1. PROJECT OVERVIEW
The target users are young children and teenagers in two different places: the city of Bogotá and the rural Magdalena department. Due to budget and time constraints, usability tests were only run in Bogotá.
The team was made up of:
Environmental engineer, Software engineer, Scientific advisor
Four months, from October 2013 to February 2014
Researchers from the Universidad Sergio Arboleda see the need to create a community outreach project to raise awareness about the river care and show to the population how to dispose of waste and mitigate the environmental impact on the Manzanares River in the Magdalena department, Colombia.
We make a transmedia project called Saving the Manzanares River which consisted in three products: a video that was a brief presentation of the project, an immersive game that was presented at Expociencia 2013 in Bogotá and then taken to Santa Marta, and a board game that was distributed to public schools in Magdalena.
2. DESIGN METHODOLOGY
We used the Design thinking methodology for this poject:
3. UX RESEARCH
Each product has different users and scenarios. I created one persona for each product.
John represents the children from schools in different municipalities of rural Magdalena. Jennifer represents children living in a city Bogotá and Santa Marta:
John is 12 years old and lives in a house with two brothers, his grandmother, his mother, and an uncle in Minca, Magdalena. He goes to school in the mornings and when he goes out he likes to play soccer with his friends and cousins.
The river is a very important part of his life. Since he was little he would go to the river with his grandmother to spend time with her while she was washing clothes on the river bank.
Once a week he goes with his uncle to fish and then they sell the fish in the square, in local restaurants, and nearby villages.
Sometimes he spends the whole day by the river with his family and friends. They eat, swim, play, and dance. When it is high season, he takes handicrafts to the river to sell them to tourists.
Jennifer is 14 years old and lives with her family in Bosa, in Bogotá. She likes to study, listen to music, watch TV, play PC video games, and go out with her friends.
She is in 9th grade at a public school. In her school, outings she has been to different museums and fairs. This year they go to the Expociencia fair at Corferias.
She likes these outings because she goes with her friends, sees different things that catch her attention, together with the fact that she does not have a class that day.
Jennifer likes geography and knows that the Manzanares River is on the Colombian Caribbean coast. She has been to Santa Marta for vacation but she has never been to the Manzanares River.
INFORMATION DESIGN IN THE BOARD GAME
The following requirements were taken into account when designing the board game:
In the board game, the different ecosystems of the river are recognized: its source, the snow-capped mountains, the crops, the sea, etc.
Turning the luck cards towards the themes of the game relating to the river: problems, recovery, solutions, in its three basins.
Simulate a boat trip along the river.
Establish jumping or progress stations in sites of touristic, cultural and/or historical interest.
Take into account the river's endemic species and other endangered species that are included in red books or endangered or threatened species.
The design of the game needs to show its environmental dimension.
Image: Storyboards for two different games.
There is one scenario for each user.
Therefore, I created two different storyboards to understand how users interact with both experiences:
John is at school in rural Magdalena. There is an activity in his classroom. He teams up with two classmates. His teacher gives them the board game and two dice. They create their board pieces made by them: origami paper boats. They recognize the place where they live and start playing.
Jennifer goes on a school trip to the Expociencia science fair in Bogotá. She passes by the University Sergio´s stand. She sees the video and someone explains the project to her. She lines up and enters the room with this interactive immersive experience. She plays on her own.
FLOW CHART FOR IMMERSIVE GAME
We make a flow chart for the immersive projected game.
This is a game that lasts one minute. The main reason is that the game is shown on events where people line up to play.
The user reads the instructions.
The user plays for one minute.
The game is over and the user can decide if he / she wants to play more.
The final screen sees the maximum score obtained by previous players.
PROTOTYPE AND TEST
We had four months designing the transmedia experience. In this period, we had a deadline for the immersive game. So, we prototyped it and tested it before the board game.
We knew that it was very important to prototype and test both of the games:
Immersive projected game:We had three sessions with three users to test the immersive projected game. After their feedback, we changed the color of some elements to make them more visible.
Board game: I printed out the game and tested it a couple of times. One session was with a group of researchers at the University. The other time was with three kids from 8 to 12 years. We realized it was important to explain how to make a paper boat on the cover of the board game.
Image: Board game board pieces for each player are paper boats.
The board game represents a journey through the fauna and flora of the Manzanares River from its source in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Thus, the journey takes the player through the upper, middle and lower basins until it reaches its mouth in the sea.
The aim is to encourage the following while playing the game:
Awareness of all the actors involved.
Separation of waste at the source
Not throwing garbage in the river
Motivate reforestation, management of riverbank areas, park construction, ecotourism, river and beach sanitation.
Images: Board game details.
Vectorized cutout illustration.
Explanatory video to show the users the environmental problems of the river and the objective of the immersive game:
INTERACTIVE IMMERSIVE GAME
Interactive Game: Saving the Manzanares River:
Steps for playing the interactive immersive game which teaches how to dispose of solid waste in order to take proper care of the river.
IMMERSIVE GAME USERS
Users feedback about the interactive immersive game in Expociencia 2013:
4. WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS PROJECT
In this project, I enjoyed working with my team. They were experts in their fields and at the same time, they were quite creative, propositive, and open to ideas.
On the other hand, I loved to see the users´ reactions.