Course: PPU095 Project Industrial Design Engineering, Master in Industrial Design Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology
Project team: Ebba Hellberg, Sara Lindgren, Kristofer Löfvenberg and Anna Olander

Background

Nordens Ark is a nonprofit foundation that works for the preservation of endangered species. Since 1989 the foundation has succeeded in increasing the population of many endangered species, such as the peregrine falcon with as much as 175 individuals. The 383 hectare large park is situated at Åby manor in Bohus county. Over 120.000 people visit the 90 different species annually, and these visitors are important for the endangered species. As a part of working for biological diversity the foundation is educating both children and adults about taking care of animals and nature for future generations. Many kids of today have low knowledge about animals and where different kinds of food come from, and this is something that Nordens Ark wants to change.

The education at Nordens Ark is done by both educational guides and educational stations in close proximity to the animals. 20 such stations are situated around the park, and many of them are malfunctioning and need daily maintenance which is very time consuming for the staff at Nordens Ark. One of the places where such stations can be found is called Lantgården (The farm). This area houses around 20 species such as cows, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks and pigs. Lantgården has a café open during the summer, a slide, a sandbox for the small children and some educational stations about the animals. New ideas and well functioning stations was needed in order for Nordens Ark to continue to improve their education about animals and nature

Project description

The aim of this project was to design an educational concept for Lantgården that provides knowledge about animals, nature and nature conservation benefits to both children and adults.

The educational concept should:
– Contain educational stations.
– Help to spread the purpose of Nordens Ark.
– Make sure that the visitors have fun.
– Catch the visitors attention.
– Encourage collaboration.
– Act as a red thread throughout the farm.

The final concept

The final concept consists of nine different stations, bound together by a challenge and graphic elements creating coherence.

The challenge

After evaluation and discussions with Nordens Ark and user testers an optional challenge was created. This means that the challenge does not affect the interaction with the stations or the graphical expression but is there as an extra motivation for the visitors. This challenge consists of a paper or app integration (in Nordens Ark’s current mobile application) containing questions. The answers can be found when visiting and interacting with the educational stations at Lantgården. When finishing this a reward can be collected at Nordens Ark’s store, since rewards just as challenges motivate the visitors.

By offering this optional challenge the hope is to engage the visitors and make them learn more as they have to search the stations for information in order to answer the given questions. As the challenge is optional it does not affect the stations and the users can choose to interact with the stations with or without the challenge.

Elements creating coherance throughout Lantgården

Elements creating coherence

It’s been stated that the pedagogical stations should catch the visitors attention and act as a red thread though the farm. In conclusion the educational stations should create a coherence among the educational stations at Lantgården that make them easily recognizable and noticed by the visitors. This can be done in various ways. The final concept has a uniform graphical character and visual expression. The stations are marked out by station markings. These graphical elements can be seen below. The stations are bound together by animal tracks acting as a physical red thread, see image 2 and 3. They are also part of a challenge (see above).

Rendering of station markings

Stations

Nine stations were created to be included in the educational concept, all of which were evaluated with the client and in user tests. During discussions with the client and user tests, mainly positive feedback was given. Nevertheless some minor changes have been made afterwards such as station selection, construction, objectives and formulations. This to ensure that the stations suit the visitors even better and creates a more positive experience.

In the image below an overview of Lantgården can be seen, with blue dots marking the placement of the stations. The stations are numbered due to the challenge and the first one will be “Are the statements correct?” by the bees, and the last one will be “Change the environments” by the horses. They have been numbered clockwise through Lantgården as this is the most common route taken by the visitors, but all stations can be visited in a random order despite this numbering.

An overview of the different stations and their placement

Animal tracks

The animal tracks will work as a guideline between the educational stations as well as a separate station teaching the visitors about the animal tracks.

Are the statements correct?

This is an interactive information sign where the visitor can test their knowledge about bees, and learn their importance for the nature. The visitors answer a question by opening either a yes door or a no door. Behind the door a symbol will show if the answer was correct or incorrect together with a text explaining why or telling the visitor to open the other door.

Which one does not belong?

At this station the visitors get to consider which of the four animals that does not belong. To check if the answer is correct the plaque of the animal in question is turned. On the backside the answer can be found together with an explanation.

Compare yourself with animals

This station is constituted of animal silhouettes in scale one to one, where the visitors can compare themselves with the size of animals. There are size measures next to the silhouettes so that the visitors can measure themselves as well as the silhouettes.

Connect

At this station the visitors are supposed to connect the right animal with the right food and poop, and thereby close the electrical loop. This will result in that the little lamp underneath turns green and the visitor gets feedback. On the other hand if the connection is wrong then the lamp will turn red instead. The connections look like regular electrical leads on purpose, to make them feel technical and cool.

Find animals in the environment

At this station the visitor is invited to explore the physical environment outdoors between the different parts of Lantgården by looking for and counting small 3D models of animals. The animals are all placed in heights corresponding to the vegetational level they live and eat in, and an information sign containing this information graphically is there to guide the visitor.

From egg to chicken

This educational station uses a wheel to show how a chicken is growing inside an egg. When the visitor spins the wheel it changes between six different stages with a picture and corresponding text, with the last stage being day 21 when the chicken is hatched and born into the world. This educational station is also possible to expand with another wheel, possibly showing the development of a mammal, enabling the visitor to compare the development of birds and mammals.

Build a fantasy animal

At this educational station the visitors get to build their own fantasy animal by combining pictures of different animal parts, an activity that is creative, encourages collaboration and provokes thoughts around the fantasy animal’s properties.

Change the environments

This is a touch screen based game where the visitor can choose between different nordic environment types and learn about endangered species in these environments. The goal is for the visitor to insert different animals into the chosen environment and by this making it possible for the endangered species to live there again. By doing this the visitor will get an understanding of how different environment types look, change and how this change in turn affects the biological diversity.

Conclusion

It was a challenge to design for such a large user group and with such a large amount of stations. Despite this the educational concept and its’ educational stations make sure that the set demands are met. With stations spreading information about things close to Nordens arks purpose such as endangered species and the farm animals influence on the environment, a clear message is given to the visitor at the same time as they have the chance to have a fun experience. With animal tracks, station markers and uniform graphic character the stations both lead the way and stand out of the farm environment.

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