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Open Waters

My Role

UX Researcher and Designer

The Team (5)

Human Centered Design Students

Service Design Students

Industrial Arts Student

Tools Used




4 Week Studio

(September 2020)

My Key Contributions

User Research

Concept Ideation




Secondary Research

Primary Research (Expert Interviews)

Generate Insights


Basic Sketches and Experimentation


Final Sketches

Mockup on XD 


Presentation to a panel of faculty

As a part of the class ‘More Than Human Worlds’ , we were given freedom to conduct research on various topics and pick any topic that we were interested in as a group. We then had to delve into the topic and conduct extensive research to identify a problem space and come up with a solution.

Our chosen topic

Our research will surround understanding the philosophy behind human systems, to bridge the gap between innovation and evolution through the perspective of ecology and human psychology to further build an inclusive dialogue.


We further narrowed it down to 5 broad categories we’d like to conduct research on - Human Psychology, Biomimicry, Ecology, Ethics and AI/Tech.


In order to understand concepts like biomimicry and psychology are currently being used in the tech field, I conducted some secondary research.

We wanted to understand at what step these concepts are brought in and the different ways in which they can be used to benefit the design process.

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We then identified experts from the 5 fields we chose initially whom we could interview. We used a semi-structured questionnaire during the interview as we wanted a more casual conversation that could lead us in new directions as well.

Each interview ranged between 20 - 30 minutes after which we put up the key points from the interviews and colour coded them based on the 5 categories

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These were then further narrowed down to a few important points that could lead us to a problem area.

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One common theme that emerged during these interviews and our secondary research was the importance of marine ecology and how marine restoration is a field that should be given heavy importance to.  This then led us to our problem statement.

Problem Statement

How might we facilitate better awareness and empathy in the upcoming generations towards non-human species so that they create inclusive design interventions in the space of policy, governance, transport, living and consuming resources responsibly by using education as a tool.


We then elaborated on the specific problems obstructing marine restoration that emerged such as inadequate educational resources and unethical fishing practices. This in a way organically led to us brainstorming and ideating on ways we could intervene as designers. One point we got from an interview stuck with us during this process - implement micro steps that can lead to macro changes. At a student level we were unable to think on bigger lines on how we could physically help with marine restoration, however, that statement gave us an idea.

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Final Project brief

To facilitate interaction between humans and non-human species in the marine ecosystem through a gamified education model for students between 1st and 8th grade to create a sense of awareness and change behavioral perceptions in the longer run, allowing for the creation of inclusive design interventions.

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Welcome to Open Waters!

An interactive website for kids between the 1st to 8th grade, to learn about the marine life, it's wonders, beauty, hardships and more. Pick a character and get started on your journey in the deep waters!

Our Goal

Our goal is to bring about sustainable decision making in kids, as kids are most open to learning new things and ideas that would shape the way they think and make decisions in the longer run. The aim is to bring in a behavioral change in them, and lead to an inclusive dialogue between humans and other non-human living species.

Why a gamified interaction

Kids can learn about the adverse effects of human actions on the marine ecosystem  if we create fun, simple and interactive elements that facilitate this learning. Allowing the kid to feel like they can explore at their own pace and giving a feel of a game/comic they would willingly interact with and not something they're forced to "study".

Menu options with directions to a forum, fun quiz and an option to donate for parents
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Scrollable character selection

A storyboard (created by me and another business service student) depicts an ideal situation in which this platform would be used by a student.


Customer Journey map of Open Waters that shows the basic path a student would follow while using the platform, their touchpoints, goals and emotions while doing so.

Challenges we faced

Being a vast area of research, we initially struggled with understanding how to narrow down to a pain point and how to choose which pain point to focus on. Understanding which problem area would be more ideal to tackle and and provide a solution for took a good amount of time for us. 

Moreover, being on a time constraint of four weeks, we initially felt we took on a topic that was much too big for us to narrow down and choose a good enough pain point to work on. However, as we continued working on the project, we were able to clearly choose what to focus on and what to leave out

Final Thoughts

This is a project we are extremely proud of as a team as the amount of research and effort put into was immense and the outcome was well received. Though this may not be an immediate solution for marine restoration, it as an extremely important intervention that could drive the process as kids are the future and only if they understand the importance from a young age can they make better decisions in the future.

Going ahead we would like to make a coded prototype of the website and test it out with our target audience. Moreover, as a group we were extremely interested in VR and would like to explore VR and integrate it with our platform.

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