Making People Everyday Scientists - Designing a Context-Aware Smartphone Application for Citizen Science in Sweden
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Interaction design and technologies (MPIDE), MSc
Citizen science is at the periphery of the public’s attention, but sees some participation from volunteers primarily motivated intrinsically. Research in the field has identified a need to better adapt the practice to fit into the daily lives of potential volunteers. This led to the formulation of this thesis’ research question: What should be considered when designing a context-aware smartphone application intending to engage the general public in citizen science practice? The interaction design process that seeks to build knowledge around this problem is divided into two main phases. The initial phase focuses on extracting information and previous research on the subject, while the latter looks to implement and add to that knowledge. The second phase is an iterative design process, repeated three times, involving users to evaluate and inform the design. In total 39 user tests and 4 co-designers influenced or evaluated the final design, which is represented by an interactive prototype of a smartphone platform application for Swedish citizen science projects. The design includes substantiated ways for users to find meanings in their interactions with it, most notably through actionable context-aware suggestions, inspiration in planning excursions, and an understanding of their local area and community. If the design is successful in its intentions, which evaluations indicate that it could be, it would potentially represent a significant increase in public awareness and engagement in citizen science. This would not only advance research agendas but also be beneficial for volunteers’ informal science education as they can incorporate citizen science practice in their daily lives.
Data- och informationsvetenskap , Computer and Information Science