Zoo Environment Redesign

A collaborative project by Evan Passero, Stephanie Hoffman, and Josh Marvin

Bats & Aardvarks? Yes please!

This school assignment required us to visit the Cincinnati Zoo and find an aspect of the zoo that needed a redesign. The decision was to be based around our observations of the visitors to the zoo, survey data collected during the visit, and our personal experiences. After developing user profiles for a primary and secondary user, we worked through various solutions to try and bring forth a positive user experience while keeping the needs of the animals in mind.

One of the first things we noticed during our observation of the site was the traffic flow through the exhibit was less than optimal. The zoo had intended for people to exit the enclosure through a poorly marked door, which most people seems to miss due to it being poorly marked. This lead to a traffic jam at the entrance of the exhibit, as people were trying to enter and exit through a small door. We felt having a specified entrance and exit with a wall between the two would help keep foot traffic flowing in one direction.

By adding the dividing wall between the entrance and exit, we now had a canvas that we could install an interactive learning exhibit in. Since most of the animals highlighted in the nocturnal enclosure use echolocation to navigate and stay safe, we felt visualizing how echolocation works would serve perfectly as an introduction to the enclosure. A combination of infrared cameras, pressure sensors in the floor, and an LED wall would work in tandem to display how echolocation works to the visitors of the zoo.

Finally, we wanted to ensure that the visitors to the zoo would be able to learn from their trip. We noticed that there were a wide variety of plaques inside the enclosure that provided a plethora of information, but there was no way to take the information home with you. We proposed replacing the static signs with digital touch panels, which would allow for greater exploration of information while in the zoo and for visitors to be able to take information home with them by email, SMS, or QR code.

The full brief with video demonstrations and multiple interface screens can be downloaded below.