The maritime industry is very large, and causes a lot of CO2 emissions. Whilst captains are willing to make more sustainable decisions, they always have to put safe decisions first. It is difficult for captains to estimate their safety risks on route, so they often opt for route adjustments that are not close to the safety limit. But therefore they are not taking the most optimal route.
I created an interface that motivates captains to make optimal route adjustments, which is enabled through a motivational avatar and visualization of safety risks. Both have been created with the help of prior research by Marin, literature studies and (maritime and design) expert interviews. The interface maps out environmental data in a way that captains would feel more motivated to and confident with choosing the best route. The purpose of the interface is to playfully try out different route scenarios before a captain implements one.
Before getting assigned a squad and squad group for my FBP, I was already set on wanting to design for sustainability in order to reach my personal development goals. I got assigned a project with MARIN, which provided me with the challenge of understanding a completely new industry. The collaboration with MARIN did however give me the nice opportunity to lay the connection between sustainability and technical industries. The extra challenge of designing for change in this traditional industry, also gave me the opportunity to do something new in the field. It is very satisfactory to be able to set a starting point for sustainable sailing, and I am curious to see what the future implications of this topic will be.
Originally I was planning on developing data visualization skills. This was mostly applicable to visualizing the seakeeping issues, but not so much on self-gathered data. Due to some setbacks with finding user test participants, I was not able to gather the large dataset that I would want. Next to this, I would have also preferred to test my interface at MARIN in their bridge simulator to get closer to the actual user environment. Due to COVID19 outbreak, this was also not a possibility. So especially for research data visualization, I still want to get more expertise in this in my masters program. I did however learn more about data visualization through translating the poster from MARIN into an interface. Through deeper understanding of the initial design, I iterated on how the data could be visualized in a simple but clear way. I learned how important it is to understand the meaning of the data, whilst also iterating on the design possibilities.
The main take-away for me from this project, was how to design for a technical and traditional industry. During the whole project, I struggled with the fact that there is little research on sailing behavior and how to influence it. It was nice to collaborate with MARIN to gather knowledge on the maritime industry, but they did not have expertise on UX design within this industry. Looking back, it would have been worth investing time in finding an expert on UX design for the maritime industry. From this I have learned that it is important to map out your means at the beginning of a project, to get ahead of time. My limitation and challenge was having little expertise on UI design for vessels. I have learned that it is necessary to make a clear assessment of what information is available, and for what information you need experts. Through interviews with maritime experts I noticed that they are not very open for change and design. Therefore I would involve more context-specific design experts in a future project, to gather a more accurate assessment of a design than a maritime expert can give.
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
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