12/5, 2012 ZooXperience: Claus’s Designing mobile user experiences

This is a report on a workshop held at The University of Tokyo on designing mobile user experiences at the Zoo. The workshop, which was planned and coordinated by Claus Østergaard (visiting Ph.D.-candidate of Shin Mizukoshi lab from Aalborg University, Denmark), Shin Mizukoshi and Ryo Yoshikawa (Master student of iii at The University of Tokyo), was held on December 5th 2012 facilitated by Claus Østergaard and Ryo Yoshikawa.

The workshop had two goals. First of all the workshop aimed at giving the participants insight into the aspects of user experience of mobile devices at theme parks and zoos. Secondly the workshop functioned as empirical data for the workshop facilitator Claus Østergaard.

The workshop was divided into two parts. The first part focused on experiencing an existing mobile solution at a nearby Zoo. The second part focused on designing the concept of a new smartphone app for the Zoo.
Ueno Zoo mobile solution
In the morning the participants and facilitators meet at Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, as Ueno Zoo have a “Portable Information System” (from now on PIS). The participants was divided into two groups consisting of three participants, and the goal was to let the participants experience the PIS on their own as these experiences would be used in the second part of the workshop. During the test of the PIS the two groups was observed by the workshop facilitators who documented the groups’ behavior and interaction with the PIS.
After the test the participants’ experiences of the PIS was discussed in plenum.
Visualizing good and bad experiences
Based on the visit to the Zoo and earlier experiences of visiting Zoos, the participants were asked to draw a customer journey of their visit. The focus of this exercise was to identity the users’ good and bad experiences during the visit.
The participants each drew their own customer journey after which the participants were organized into the same groups as they were in Ueno Zoo. The participants were then asked to choose 2-4 bad experiences based on their customer journeys, which they all could agree on.
Designing a smartphone app
After drawing the customer journeys Claus Østergaard gave a presentation on user experience of mobile apps for theme parks, museums, zoos etc. based on research and existing theories. Then he presented a framework for designing mobile user experiences for zoos. The framework was divided into six areas of focus, which the participants should focus on during the process of designing the new smartphone app-concept for Ueno Zoo.
Besides explaining each of the six areas of focus each area consisted of a small exercise, that the participants could do in order to get inspired to work on the concept. The participants were asked to convert the earlier identified 2-4 bad experiences in the zoo to good experiences by designing a smartphone app-concept for those situations based on the framework.
When the participants had designed the concept of the new smartphone app for the zoo, they were asked to draw a mock-up of the different screens of the app on large A3 paper. During this process they had to constantly take into consideration the social and physical contexts of the given usage situations, as this affected the visual look of the different screens of the app.
■Presentation and reflection
The participants then presented their concepts including their identified bad experiences in the zoo. After the presentations the two groups and the facilitators reflected on the value the apps would give to the visiting experience. They also reflected on the overall process and methods used during the workshop in order to get a deep knowledge about the value of such kind of workshops.

(Reported by Claus Østergaard)
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