London College of Communication’s DigiLab – an interdisciplinary research laboratory – is behind the user experience of FetchClimate, a web tool designed to improve data access for environmental scientists. Principle Investigator Amanda Windle worked with Jason Rainbird to deliver the user experience and design.
Developed by the Computational Science Lab at Microsoft Research, in collaboration with the MSTLab at Moscow State University, FetchClimate brings together existing environmental datasets from agriculture, biodiversity, climate and oceans and enables access to the data in a streamlined way.
With FetchClimate users based at over 40 global sites, a stress-free user experience was key to the project’s success. LCC’s DigiLab designed several possible interfaces and conducted user interviews before creating a visual navigation that is both intuitive and engaging.
DigiLab fellow and Principle Investigator Dr Amanda Windle explains:
“One of the biggest challenges we faced while working on FetchClimate was discerning how environmental scientists understand time; specifically climate time, which has its own logics.
“Scientists refine their searches over and over which means this tool has to be robust enough to deal with refining searches and entering the same data many times without the scientist gaining repetitive injuries.
“As a result, FetchClimate has many possibilities and is flexible to including more environmental data as it evolves over time.”
As FetchClimate is a significant asset to the scientific landscape of environmental knowledge, DigiLab have ensured that using it to find and understand environmental data is as easy as possible.