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Space travel is becoming increasingly popular in the design and science field. They are looking into how to design and build pre-trip, mid-trip and post-trip components to allow for commercial space travel. The brief was to design an interactive screen-based application or system that could support multiple commercial

travellers on a long trip that could take anywhere from a month to years. As a team we decided to develop a system and a wearable device that monitored the pilots mental health, to provide the correct amount of assistance to ensure they make the most informed decision whilst navigating.

‘Nova’ in latin means “new”. This is a fitting name

for an interface that has taken a “new” approach to navigation, that focuses on improving mental health to ensure that users are able to make the most informed decisions. Users health and sleep will be tracked through the wearable device and the data will be sent to the system. When the users log in the must complete a

mental log. The results from these and the wearable will impact the percentage of assistance provided throughout their shift by ‘Nova’.


Developing Nova provided me with insight on the importance of  developing personas to represent your stakeholders, conducting multiple iterations and constant testing to ensure the stakeholders needs are being addressed in the design! In total my partner and I completed 5 iterations to get to our final product. To test each of these we utilised a range of techniques including; interviews, heuristic evaluations, persona based walkthroughs, think-aloud, sus table, and feedback from professionals. By using such a diverse range of testing techniques I was able to identify different flaws and weaknesses in each iteration to then improve upon. 


Nova has a massive impact on pilots mental health and decision making by allowing them to manage their workload.



The main focus for my research was to look into how pilots navigate mid-trip and what they have in place to assist them whilst making decisions. To develop an understanding of the problem and all the stakeholders involved I conducted research utilising interviews, online ethnographies and competitor analysis. For the interviews I wanted to gather a range of stakeholders with different abilities in terms of piloting and navigation. As I did not have access to current pilots I chose to interview regular car drivers; city, country and regional drivers.  By doing so I was able to see what people require when navigating in a busier place than space. I utilised online ethnographies to get feedback from pilots on the current navigation systems, as well as the conditions for pilots. To analyse this data I constructed an affinity diagram, as seen bellow. 

Affinity diagram.png


As seen in the affinity diagram, two users were developed; Trekkie and Veteran. Both of which were then turned into two extreme characters, these were helpful when developing the overall target user. By identifying the two extreme users within this problem space the target user was able to be determined, that fits in the middle user. With the full extent of long-term implications of space still to be determined, it is vital to consider the extremes. To visualise these two extremes I developed two scenario based story boards, as seen below, to identify how Trekkie relied too heavily on technology, whilst Veteran did not utilise enough technology.






From these characters I was able to develop a persona to design for that was the median of the two extremes. Samuel Dunn was then referred to after each iteration to ensure that we were designing a solution that suited his needs and wants.  



We completed 5 iterations to get to our final design. Our process was non-linear, we repeated each stage of fidelity (low, medium and high) multiple times to ensure we were planning and incorporating all the feedback provided from our test users. Bellow is just a small sample of the multiple wireframes developed for both the wearable device and the system screens. 

Wearable Device

System Screens


Each iteration was tested by a range of stakeholders to ensure that we were developing a product that was useful and easy to understand. During the first iteration we utilised a walk through of both initial sketches to explain the concept and design, followed by an interview to gather feedback. From which we placed both into a decision matrix and combined both concepts; ship personification with mental assessment to develop Nova. From there we re-sketched the wireframes and sent them to an expert for feedback. The feedback encouraged display the content in a more visual manner so that the screens are less cluttered. All feedback was taken on board and placed into interactive wireframes.


These were then tested using our extreme personas in a walkthrough. To do so we had one of our team members take the role an each character (as seen in the 2nd photo) and think aloud how they would interact and think whilst using the product. This was selected to ensure that we were referring back to the original needs identified in the research phase. This was then followed up with a heuristic evaluation, complete by experts in the field. By utilising both techniques we were able to get feedback from both users and experts. 


We implemented more changes and increased to a mid fidelity prototype. These were then tested by 5 users, who once again completed a walk through, then filled out a SUS table. By referring back to our users we were able to identify where we needed to improve using both verbal and non-verbal cues. By taking note of how long they took to complete a task and their body language, we were able to identify confusing and weak aspects of the design to improve upon for the final iterations. 

Finally we worked with a professional to increase the fidelity of prototype. Utilising the correct colour scheme and visuals to develop a clean and professional product. Creating an appropriate and cohesive interface was our main focus in the last two iterations. We developed an extremely new and unique orbital menu for our interface. To ensure we could implement this into our design we needed to test this with users to ensure that they understood how to interact appropriately. Therefor we developed a paper prototype (as seen in the 3rd photo) and asked the users to complete a range of tasks to see how they interacted and responded to the change. All users were interested and able to pick up the interaction, so we implemented this into the final design. 


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