Drew Tozer, Julian Pohl, Katharina Payr
We sought to create an app for students aged 15-18 who are learning the basics of physics. We wanted to help them understand one of the most fascinating and complex theories from Albert Einstein, his Special Theory of Relativity. Our main challenge was in understanding every component of the theory ourselves to allow us to break it down for students. The app needed a firm architecture of information that could synthesize this massive topic into digestible pieces. The other challenge was to create accompanied visual interactions to aid students grasp the topic through demonstrations they could participate in.
Our research into the Special Theory of Relativity revealed that the theory could be broken down into postulates. We used these postulates as milestones in the student’s linear experience using the app. The subtopics within the postulates are explained through exercises, animations, and quizes.
Our interface’s visual design system was built to guide students through the app with colour coding. Navigational components were coded green, while interactive actions were coded blue. The overall user experience was designed to be incredibly simple. We made gestures clear and intuitive. Absorbing the educational content with ease and delight was our main goal.
We tested our app frequently with our target students to ensure its accessibility.
The app’s information architecture is broken into three sections: The two Postulates, Effects of the Theory, and E=mc2.
Below you can see the topics we assigned to each section. When students move through the information, from left to right of the diagram, they’re building on previously learned concepts to better grasp the new material.
The reading material can be a bit dense. To bring play to the interface, we created a series of illustrations and animations that are lively, informative, and youthful.