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In Fall 2020, the Georgia Aquarium will open a 45,000 square foot expansion which will be home to a new shark exhibit titled ‘Predator’. The aquarium currently houses eight shark species, and this could expand with the opening to the new gallery. The additional sharks will arrive from a variety of sources, including accredited zoos and aquariums which share a common vision with the Georgia Aquarium.
The Aquarium wants to incorporate Augmented Reality in the new exhibit to present immersion about these sharks and incorporate immersion. This project was a collaboration between Georgia Tech and the Aquarium, for our “Research Methods in HCI” class.
A Change in Perception
The aquarium came to us with a specific problem regarding the perception most people have of sharks. The aquarium is aware of the fact that most people have a negative perception of sharks. Sharks are often feared and are considered dangerous predators.
The problem statement given to us by the aquarium was of changing this perception:
How might we change the perception of sharks from “Fear to Fascination, and then to conservation and celebration”?
The aquarium aims to bring about this change across all people of all ages since the fear of sharks is a very common emotion among everyone. The aquarium wants to change this perception and wants everyone to understand that sharks are an integral and necessary part of the ecosystem.
An AR Experience
We designed an AR Checkpoint experience designed exclusively for the Magic Leap 1 as a storytelling medium to help understand the importance of sharks.
User Personas Empathy Maps Storyboards Jobs-to-be-Done
Divergent Designs Prototypic Walkthrough Low Fidelity Prototype High Fidelity Prototype Interactive AR Prototype
Expert based Tesing User based Testing
Our initial desk research focused on how technology was being used in different aquariums and museums around the world. We performed a competitive analysis considering The Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, The Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo, The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and The National Museum in Singapore, High Museum of Art, Paper Museum.
We uncovered the use of kiosk systems, installations and the use of AR and VR solutions. Also, we understood the budgetary and technical limitations of using certain technologies.
We used observations as an exploratory research technique to understand how the visitors in the aquarium behave and how they interact with the different artifacts in exhibits. Each member had an individual observation session that lasted around 1.5 hours, followed by a group observation session to better understand the visitors’ behavior in each exhibit.
Following the observations, we launched a survey to get more information about the visitors and study their experiences in a very short period. Our survey was conducted by recruiting individual participants in-person at the Georgia Aquarium.