TIDESS Museum Learning Project Update: Grant Funding and Prototype Changes!

Since the last update , we have been funded by the National Science Foundation under the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program (Check out this blog post!)! This funding will enable TIDESS to investigate how children and adults can engage with data visualizations about science concepts on touch-interactive spherical displays. To support this investigation, we’ve changed our project name to TIDESS (Touch Interaction for Data Engagement with Science on Spheres). We will be getting a Pufferfish spherical display by the next year to use in this project, which will be really exciting.

It is still important to consider design insights from touch table interactive displays like the one we used in the study last semester because these insights will help our investigation of designing engaging experiences on the spherical display. We’ve taken the feedback from our observational user study at the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) to work on another iteration of the prototype. We have implemented using Open Exhibits [link], which has allowed for efficient prototyping and is flexible for defining new gestures. We are currently in the process of piloting different versions of the prototype to finalize a design. From this prototype, we plan to conduct a lab study on the University of Florida campus to see how family groups interact and engage with this visualization. This will inform our investigation into designing natural user interfaces that support engagement and learning, rather than interfering or distracting from it. Again, these insights will be helpful when we investigate similar interactions on a spherical display.

I am a 3rd year Computer Science student at the University of Florida. It has been a great experience working on the TIDESS project and learning about new technologies and designs that will promote engagement with a touch-interactive display. I’ve especially learned a lot in regards to considering user interactions (from the swipe to the tap and so on) and designing to afford those interactions.