As an avid birdwatcher for many years, I used to take several friends out in the field for birding hikes. The biggest challenge in the field was identification of species.
Realizing that there was no good application to identify Indian birds, I set out to learn development to make my own.
I quickly realized the challenges of making the interface given the constraints :
1) The app needed to give results in very little time before the bird flew away
2) The app had to be usable by both professionals and newcomers.
This was a great start as I had never dealt with "User experience" before this, but I really had to understand my user base to figure the next steps out.
Some insights came quickly after casual conversations with a few birders :
1) Regular birders usually had no problems identifying the family but could struggle with determining exact species.
2) Novices usually could identify general characteristics : such as waders, birds of prey, finches etc.
3) The parts regular birders were more interested in were the differentiators, small details such as wing barring, feet coloration, eye rings and so on.
4) The parts novices usually noticed were overall size, shape, color
I started creating the algorithm to identify specific differentiating characteristics of the birds. After a long list I made a database to map out each different bird.
And then it became clear as to the ideal flow of the program :
1) The app was to flow from most noticeable to lesser noticeable features
2) The app would be able to give suggestions and results at any time, so that novices could reach results quicker based on less detail
3) Frequent birders would be able to enter more detailed characteristics towards the end to get a more granular and refined result of the species
The interface was then designed with a very quick, visual format so that it was easy to use. Using images, color wheels and patterns instead of text helps quickly navigate the interface.
Thanks for reading. For a demo of the algorithm, please reach out to me!