NCEO

Crafting a fun game for primary school children showcasing the extraordinary images taken from the ISS.

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The National Centre for Earth Observation wanted to engage young children in learning about Earth observation through fun, educational games. The NCEO had a collection of images from European Space Agency satellites, NASA and from Tim Peake’s Principia mission on board the International Space Station, which they wanted to use to inspire the next generation into a career in the space industry.

Services provided

  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Native Development

The Brief

We were tasked with creating a fun game that would educate primary school children on what Earth Observation can reveal about our planet, utilising the extraordinary images the NCEO have available to them. Our user experience and user interface designers held many discovery workshops to identify the methodologies and approach that we would use to bring these amazing images to a new audience.

Our user experience and user interface designers held many discovery workshops to identify the methodologies and approach that we would use to bring these amazing images to a new audience.

Our user experience and user interface designers held many discovery workshops to identify the methodologies and approach that we would use to bring these amazing images to a new audience.

Our user experience and user interface designers held many discovery workshops to identify the methodologies and approach that we would use to bring these amazing images to a new audience.

Our user experience and user interface designers held many discovery workshops to identify the methodologies and approach that we would use to bring these amazing images to a new audience.

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Our Approach

We explored different concepts, game mechanics and reward patterns as potential avenues to engage young people with rich content, as well as providing players with a sense of pride and accomplishment as they progress through the game.

With our concepts we ran a small user trial with children within the age range to understand whether they would enjoy the games and whether they were being engaged with the content.

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UXing for kids

We undertook in depth research on how to design for children. As we were delving into the details, we became aware of a number of important details that we needed to take into account while designing for children. One of our core takeaways from our research was that interactive elements should be tangible and have meaningful feedback. As we developed a breadth of research and built an understanding of our audience we produced a sitemap and set of wireframes. We iterated on the wireframes until all our stakeholders were satisfied – both adults and kids alike!

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Educational and engaging

The players visit different locations around the globe, completing a range of missions from different Earth observation staff members. As the players complete the missions they collect satellites, once they collect all the satellites and complete the game they are inducted into the Principia team; just like Tim Peake.

The app build was designed so new content, games and imagery can be added. Expanding the game, ensuring continual engagement and learning.

iOS development

The development process involved us adopting a number of iOS development tools, including Realm database, which saves users data between app sessions, meaning users can never lose those precious high scores.

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Deployment

Installing Firebase analytics allows in-depth reporting regarding user engagement levels and other important analytical data.

Our adoption of ReactiveX ensures the codebase is fast, robust, easy to modify and reactive, making sure we offer the best experience for all users.

We had so much fun working with Bulb, they are professional, creative and full of excellent ideas and suggestions. They took our very rough idea and turned it into something beyond what we could have imagined at the start of the project. Thanks to all of the team.

Dr Rosie Leigh
NCEO - Centre and Public Engagement Manager

If we could measure happy faces

The response to EO Detective has been amazingly positive. Our skills in user research, interactive designs and iOS development has helped us strike a balance between creating an app that is educational as well as entertaining. Helping children learn more about the planet we live on.