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Feb 05, 2019 Article
Panel-based exhibit using participatory design elements may motivate behavior change

by Lisa Lundgren, Kathryn Stofer, Betty Dunckel, Janice Krieger, Makenna Lange and Vaughan James

Meaningful science engagement beyond one-way outreach is needed to encourage science-based decision making. This pilot study aimed to instigate dialogue and deliberation concerning climate change and public health. Feedback from science café participants was used to design a panel-based museum exhibit that asked visitors to make action plans concerning such issues. Using intercept interviews and visitor comment card data, we found that visitors developed general or highly individualistic action plans to address these issues. Results suggest that employing participatory design methods when developing controversial socio-scientific exhibits can aid engagement. We conclude by recommending participatory strategies for implementing two-way science communication.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Jan 28, 2019 Article
Does the messenger matter? Studying the impacts of scientists and engineers interacting with public audiences at science festival events

by Todd Boyette and J. Ross Ramsey

Over the past decade, science festival expos have emerged as popular opportunities for practicing scientists to engage in education outreach with public audiences. In this paper, a partial proportional odds model was used to analyze 5,498 surveys collected from attendees at 14 science expos around the United States. Respondents who report that they interacted with a scientist rated their experiences more positively than those who reported no such interaction on five categories: overall experience, learning, inspiration, fun, and awareness of STEM careers. The results indicate that scientists can positively affect audience perception of their experience at these large-scale public events.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Jan 22, 2019 Article
“Going to these events truly opens your eyes”. Perceptions of science and science careers following a family visit to a science festival

by Cherry Canovan

Young people's decisions to study post-compulsory science are strongly influenced by the attitude of their parents, but many families, especially those from deprived backgrounds, see science as ‘narrow’ and ‘not for us’. We asked whether family attendance at a science festival — a growing but under-studied activity — could shift attitudes. Our mixed-methods study found parents from more deprived areas were disproportionately likely to say attendance had improved their perception of science. Parents from the most deprived areas were significantly more likely to feel increased positivity about their children pursuing science careers. Participants also reported learning about the breadth of careers in science. However we found no evidence that attendance boosted informal science activity in low-SES families.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
Comparison of mouse and multi-touch for protein structure manipulation in a citizen science game interface

by Thomas Muender, Sadaab Ali Gulani, Lauren Westendorf, Clarissa Verish, Rainer Malaka, Orit Shaer and Seth Cooper

We developed a multi-touch interface for the citizen science video game Foldit, in which players manipulate 3D protein structures, and compared multi-touch and mouse interfaces in a 41-subject user study. We found that participants performed similarly in both interfaces and did not have an overall preference for either interface. However, results indicate that for tasks involving guided movement to dock protein parts, subjects using the multi-touch interface completed tasks more accurately with fewer moves, and reported higher attention and spatial presence. For tasks involving direct selection and dragging of points, subjects using the mouse interface performed fewer camera adjustments.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
Everyone counts? Design considerations in online citizen science

by Helen Spiers, Alexandra Swanson, Lucy Fortson, Brooke Simmons, Laura Trouille, Samantha Blickhan and Chris Lintott

Effective classification of large datasets is a ubiquitous challenge across multiple knowledge domains. One solution gaining in popularity is to perform distributed data analysis via online citizen science platforms, such as the Zooniverse. The resulting growth in project numbers is increasing the need to improve understanding of the volunteer experience; as the sustainability of citizen science is dependent on our ability to design for engagement and usability. Here, we examine volunteer interaction with 63 projects, representing the most comprehensive collection of online citizen science project data gathered to date. Together, this analysis demonstrates how subtle project design changes can influence many facets of volunteer interaction, including when and how much volunteers interact, and, importantly, who participates. Our findings highlight the tension between designing for social good and broad community engagement, versus optimizing for scientific and analytical efficiency.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
The role of digital user feedback in a user-centred development process in citizen science

by Ulrike Sturm and Martin Tscholl

In citizen science, user-centred development is often emphasised for its potential to involve participants in the development of technology. We describe the development process of the mobile app “Naturblick” as an example of a user-centred design in citizen science and discuss digital user feedback with regard to the users' involvement. We have identified three types of digital user feedback using qualitative content analysis: general user feedback, contributory user feedback and co-creational user feedback. The results indicate that digital user feedback can link UCD techniques with more participatory design approaches.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
What do volunteers want from citizen science technologies? A systematic literature review and best practice guidelines

by Artemis Skarlatidou, Alexandra Hamilton, Michalis Vitos and Mordechai Haklay

Although hundreds of citizen science applications exist, there is lack of detailed analysis of volunteers' needs and requirements, common usability mistakes and the kinds of user experiences that citizen science applications generate. Due to the limited number of studies that reflect on these issues, it is not always possible to develop interactions that are beneficial and enjoyable. In this paper we perform a systematic literature review to identify relevant articles which discuss user issues in environmental digital citizen science and we develop a set of design guidelines, which we evaluate using cooperative evaluation. The proposed research can assist scientists and practitioners with the design and development of easy to use citizen science applications and sets the basis to inform future Human-Computer Interaction research in the context of citizen science.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
A sociotechnical system approach to virtual citizen science: an application of BS ISO 27500:2016

by Robert Houghton, James Sprinks, Jessica Wardlaw, Steven Bamford and Stuart Marsh

We discuss the potential application to virtual citizen science of a recent standard (BS ISO 27500:2016 “The human-centred organisation”) which encourages the adoption of a sociotechnical systems perspective across a wide range of businesses, organizations and ventures. Key tenets of the standard concern taking a total systems approach, capitalizing on individual differences as a strength, making usability and accessibility strategic objectives, valuing personnel and paying attention to ethical and values-led elements of the project in terms of being open and trustworthy, social responsibility and health and wellbeing. Drawing upon our experience of projects in our laboratory and the wider literature, we outline the principles identified in the standard and offer citizen science themed interpretations and examples of possible responses.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
From citizen science to citizen action: analysing the potential for a digital platform to cultivate attachments to nature

by Nirwan Sharma, Sam Greaves, Advaith Siddharthan, Helen Anderson, Annie Robinson, Laura Colucci-Gray, Agung T. Wibowo, Helen Bostock, Andrew Salisbury, Stuart Roberts, David Slawson and Rene van der Wal

Identifying private gardens in the U.K. as key sites of environmental engagement, we look at how a longer-term online citizen science programme facilitated the development of new and personal attachments of nature. These were visible through new or renewed interest in wildlife-friendly gardening practices and attitudinal shifts in a large proportion of its participants. Qualitative and quantitative data, collected via interviews, focus groups, surveys and logging of user behaviours, revealed that cultivating a fascination with species identification was key to both ‘helping nature’ and wider learning, with the programme creating a space where scientific and non-scientific knowledge could co-exist and reinforce one another.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
Citizen science and the professional-amateur divide: lessons from differing online practices

by Liz Dowthwaite and James Sprinks

Online citizen science platforms increasingly provide types of infrastructural support previously only available to organisationally-based professional scientists. Other practices, such as creative arts, also exploit the freedom and accessibility afforded by the World Wide Web to shift the professional-amateur relationship. This paper compares communities from these two areas to show that disparate practices can learn from each other to better understand their users and their technology needs. Three major areas are discussed: mutual acknowledgement, infrastructural support, and platform specialisation. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of differing practices, and lessons that can be learnt for online citizen science platforms.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019