How to outreach scientific knowledge to tourists' families?
Created for the Service Design course at the UID Interaction Design programme, Abisko Adventure is service platform, proposed to engage tourists' families with the work of scientists working at the Climate Impact Research Station in Abisko, Sweden.
As designers, we had the opportunity to explore Abisko from the touristic and research related point of view. From the touristic point of view we chose to focus on research around families as a target group. During this phase we identified a lack of activities that guarantee safety and give confidence to parents to explore nature, while considering the interests of all family members.
From the CIRC’s point of view, we saw researchers as individuals who have a personal investment in their job and a lot of passion for what they do. This passion was described to us through the stories they used to explain their research in depth and expand our understanding of scientific facts to a global scale.
To address that, we designed a platform for storytelling, that demonstrates a celebration of science and research conducted in the area. The platform is targeting families, to address various age groups, where the knowledge gained can be absorbed and then spread towards different receivers.
Abisko Adventure: "Anyone can be an ambassador of Science"
The first designed interaction with the system is the reception of hotels around Abisko, where the visitor can find information about activities offered around the place. Materials such as posters and leaflets will be available, and the receptionist can present, explain and direct them to Naturum where they can find out more about the adventure.
To trigger curiosity from the visitors passing by, we initially suggest the positioning of installations outside Naturum that might raise questions and attract visitors. The museum plays an important role in the suggested service: using nature as a meeting place, the researchers can reach out without compromising their work routines or workplace.
The museum already displays information about fauna, flora, phenomena and culture of Abisko, therefore a natural step would be to integrate an explanation of the research conducted in the area as part of the exhibition. To guide the visitors, our service can be divided in four parts. Each part compliments the other, but the visitor can choose what suitstheir interest and be selective of what they experience.
The Adventure Pack
One of the offered activities is a pack with different hiking options that we called “adventures”. Each adventure consists of a researcher’s story, featuring the experiment performed by him or her, scientific information from their field and their favourite places in Abisko. These information is communicated through a package with a set of cards and suggestions that encourage the visitors to explore the place by hiking. The receptionist at Naturum can help the family choosing a hike, exposing the experiment and content displayed at the exhibition and giving them hints regarding the difficulty level or time they wish to spend on the activity.
To allow diversity in the topics and prepare the visitor for a more scientific content, the cards start with information about the landscape and progressively deepen into science, displaying the experiments connected to the journey. At each location, signage connected to the cards will inform the visitor about the topic of interest. Moreover, they give information to other visitors about what is displayed and act as teasers for the service. The journey’s recommended closure is back at Naturum.
Participate in an Experiment
The experiment that is placed outside of Naturum, used to trigger the curiosity of the passers-by, can be used to engage visitors in hands on learning through data collection. In the example used in the video and pictures, the OTC (Open-Top Chamber) can be explicitly designed for interaction with visitors, to make its importance and meaning easy to understand. The data collected by the experiment can be inserted in a system at Naturum that will register the measurements collected over the year on a screen. This activity can be perceived as a small journey, providing an alternative to smaller kids for days when hiking is not suitable.
Diving into CIRC Research
We envisioned the creation of an extra layer of content for the ones interested in learning more about one of the available experiments associated with the hikes. This information, however, should be transmitted with the same adventurous tone of voice, portraying researchers as explorers and highlighting the value of their current activities. Since CIRC has seasonal researchers, this material as well as the guidance and storytelling pieces could be updated accordingly.
Experiment @ Home
The fourth part of the service is based on the experiment, the element that we envision to variate the least. It refers to an experiment that the visitor can purchase upon arrival and set up at home. Our goal is to allow the visitors to interact with the same artefacts multiple times, to gain familiarity with the terminology and activities around the experiment. The visitor can purchase the DIY experiment at Naturum.
The experiment is intended to be used by the family and maintain children’s curiosity and enthusiasm regarding research. Combining simple electronic elements, such as sensors and transmitters, the experiment can be connected to a digital platform through a computer or mobile device. By interacting with the experiment and monitoring the data, the visitors can reflect upon their actions.
"Anyone can be an ambassador of Science"
This project was a result of 10 weeks of research and iterations with mentors, teachers, colleagues and stakeholders. Our team decided to consolidate the research and explore the user group we found more effective for the purpose of outreach. To explore even more, we arranged workshops with stakeholders, experience prototyping with lo-fi service mockups and technique such as the SINCO Lab. Our journey through this process is documented at the final report, which can be downloaded here.