Done in collaboration with ETH ZÜRICH | Crowther Lab, Treevement is an interactive touch display that allows users to experience the potential of global reforestation in the fight against climate change. Using tracking objects, users can explore how a lack of action will negatively impact the climate and the world’s ecosystems. In addition, users can plant trees in a mini time trial game to better understand their individual impact.
In this module we worked in cooperation with ETH ZÜRICH | Crowther Lab, whose research has quantified the potential of global reforestation in our fight against climate change. Their data reveals that in addition to the 3 trillion trees currently existing, there is still room for another 1.2 trillion. If planted these trees could capture approximately 200 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Over the course of 3 weeks our role was to visualize their data and create a story which would grab the user’s attention.
How we could make this information more accessible to the general public?
In order to familiarize ourselves with the topic and prepare for our visit with the Crowther Lab, we have absorbed relevant pieces of knowledge from different resources. Further, we had a lecture with Timo Grossenbacher from SRF to discuss how we define, as well as how we process data. Next, We are required to develop a visual concept and story based on our research, the visit to Crowther Lab, and available data. In order to remain on track we also had the following five key messages to consider and reflect back on throughout our process:
- Forests play a huge role in regulating the climate;
- The climate is changing - if we continue business as usual, the area of the world’s forests will shrink;
- Increasing forest cover will be a critical tool in combating climate change (we estimate 0.9 billion hectares can drawdown 2/3’s of anthropogenic carbon in the atmosphere);
- There are many other benefits to forest - it’s not just about carbon drawdown but also air filtration, water cleanliness, wider biodiversity;
- There are many ways for citizens to get involved - restore, fund, invest responsibly.
As a result of three concept narration, we decided to create two modes for the touch display: explore and game.
In the explore mode the user can gain a more nuanced understanding of the effects of climate change (e.g. risingtemperatures, loss of forest cover, etc.) as well as the power of trees to capture and store carbon. The game mode on the other hand is meant to impress a sense of urgency upon the user. As the time runs, the user will have to plant as many trees as possible to see their individual impact on climate change. Additionally, the trees planted in the game will be planted virtually on the touch display map. The game would then somehow lead the user to a website, where they can convert their virtual trees to real ones by donating to NGOs and organizations around the world.
What is the learning or takeaway for the user?
After we produced a wireframe for the “Schulterblick” with Crowther Lab, several constructive feedback was received, accordingly we made iterations, one of them is to simplify and refine our story of the concept.
Once we had discussed and taken all the relevant feedback into account we began to create the final design of the interface and implement these changes. The final design started as a wireframe to ensure all elements worked together.
While constructing the design we considered micro-interactions such as how the buttons would look when selected, how the user would use the zoom function, how the zoom would appear (i.e. a rotating ring) the timeline slider, etc.
These lead to all the micro-interactions and animation I created for the project.
How to communicate our idea with multiple stakeholders effectively?
For evaluation, we are introduced to the form called "Schulterblick"(shoulder view), which offers us an occasion to communicate our ideas with multiple stakeholders, in our case, people from the Crowther lab and our mentors.
To communicate our concept during the Schulterblick session effectively, we printed out our visual concept prototype in the original size and did a "walk-through" of the interactive user flow. To better the experience, we prototype the first version of the tracking objects with wood materials, which intend to provide the user with a tangible connection to trees, and also offer a clear picture to our project stakeholders.