Due to the complexity of the topic we decided that highschool students between the ages of 15 and 18 would be the ideal target group. The Interactive Communication System (ICS) should be accompanying or complementary to physics lessons. Profiting from the school as a calm environment, in which the students can be supported by their teachers, when necessary.
In order to determine the content, we conducted a broad research into the subject matter of the Special Theory of Relativity (SToR).
We divided the topics in such a way that each of us could devote ourselves to a small area of SToR and explore it in depth.
In a card sorting process, we divided the most important aspects of the research results into thematically related groups and then put them into a hierarchical structure.
In the course of the project, our understanding of the subject matter constantly expanded and manifested itself. This is why we had to make several content-related and logical corrections to the information architecture.
Defining a communication goal enables the group to work together on a concrete course in terms of content, narrative and visual design. Throughout the process, we adjusted the communication goal and its focus several times as our thematic understanding evolved.
Since the contents of the ICS partly build on each other and altogether form a learning process, a linear narrative form seemed to us to be the best way to achieve our communication goal.
For each of our three chapters we defined a local communication goal and, based on this, formulated take-aways that divided the chapter into sections that were appropriate in terms of content and didactics.
Through a large number of sketches, we have translated the didactic concepts into visual variants.
The initial concept of a physical exhibit that spatially separated the three chapters did not offer any didactic or informative added value. Taking into account the target group, the context of use, as well as the final communication goal, we finally decided on the tablet as the exhibit type.
The next step was to combine the compiled content and the narrative structure and translate them into a visual interface. We iteratively developed the layout in a total of seven versions. The feedback from small user tests was particularly valuable.
In order for the user to fully concentrate on the complex content, he should not have to worry about the navigation and operation of the ICS. When creating the navigation and operating concept, we focused on intuitive interactions that our target group has already internalised as conventions.
Clear colour coding helps to distinguish clearly between the elements of navigation and the interactive content.
We also relied on common conventions for the animations and transitions, which also underline the hierarchy of our system in terms of content and narrative structure. This should help the user to develop an appropriate mental model.
We derived the personality of the ICS from our theme and the selected target group. We translated a list of adjectives that describe the personality of the ICS into corresponding colours by associative assignment.
Based on the defined personality, we have compiled a selection of fonts. In a comparative table, we examined them for different criteria. Inter fulfilled most of the requirements.
We adapted the selected font to the use cases in our system and documented the final parameters in a style guide.
In the course of this project, I carried out user testing for the first time. I realised how valuable und essential user feedback is for the development of a well-functioning product.