Week 8: Back on the road

This week (Mar.14 – Mar.20) we get back from Spring break and start picking up threads left before the halves. We scheduled an office hour with Carl to get more feedback from him and the rest of the faculty. We also had a discussion with Samira about the feedback and made some shifts in our goals.

Meeting with Carl

We summarized our meeting with Carl into below:
1. The faculty thought our project is way over scoped. Building a huge environment and populating it with content that not only makes sense but also attracts people’s attention is too much work for a semester. And the online messaging system is going to take much more time than we thought to build and test.
2. The messaging system is going to take a lot of public traffic to actually work. Carl took YouTube as an example – only less than 1% of the video audience actually leave comments under the video. So we would probably need more than thousands of audience to generate just a single conversation. And an empty message board will make the audience feel the world is a wasteland and therefore hurt the overall feeling of our experience.
3. Carl suggested that we should narrow down the target audience even more. Nowadays, there are millions of ways for a man to spend time surfing the internet. And even the experts in the field of science engagement will target a small and precise group of people when they are designing a product.

Shifts and Compromises

After discussing with Brenda and Samira, we shifted our ultimate goal from ‘generating conversation between scientists and the general public’ to ‘providing an entertaining experience as a platform for scientists to showcase their work’. And we will specify our target audience to high school students, aged 15-18 years old, who might be interested in learning scientific knowledge in a more entertaining way.

We will cut the plan for implementing the messaging system as suggested by the faculty, and leave it in the design document for the client’s need in future development.


Valerie has finished the model for the Plaza. The Plaza is covered by a huge transparent dome and the inner is divided into 2 layers which will later be connected by an elevator at the center of the Plaza. Peter is still tweaking the layout and lighting for the environment. But for now, it is already a warm, clean, and joyful environment just as drawn in the design document.

Plan for the next step

For the next week and the coming week, we will finalize the Plaza and start to build the 2nd and 3rd departments (they are designed to be 2 opposite departments – dark side and bright side about CRISPR).