When I started at Azavea, the company was a year into the two-year SBIR, and had created both a Climate API and the Climate Lab. The latter was aimed at making the API more accessible to the project’s target users: climate adaptation planners.
Our team conducted interviews with 27 practicioners. At this stage, we asked open-ended questions in order to better understand the daily duties of our potential users, as well as any frustrations in their current workflows. It was through these discussions that we learned some key frustrations across the industry: tool fatigue, a lack of guidance, complicated data without clear next steps, and plans to upkeep in order to adhere to promises made to organizations like the Global Covenant of Mayors.
Insights gleaned from these discussions led us to develop a tool that would do more than just present charts and data. We embarked on developing a product that would:
- Actually guide practicioners through intepreting climate data.
- Help users develop a “vulnerability assessment” for their community.
- Offer suggested actions to take based on a user’s location and particular community needs.
The first item in that list became our product team’s north star: it was most important to us that this tool could provide value by making the data within accessible to non-experts.
I worked with our Product Manager to communicate goals of the MVP internally and with our partners through a product roadmap, happy path “descriptions” of a user’s journey through our application, and IA diagrams.
Once the product team and our external partner were all on the same page, we could begin building the product. I turned my attention to market and brand considerations. For more information about this process, please refer to the Branding case study of this project.
The application itself applies the bright energy of the brand. As our target users were folks tasked with planning for climate change, but likely without a background in interpreting climate data, I wanted to ensure that the interface was inviting, friendly, and unintimidating.
To assist with quick recognition of frequently dense terminology, I developed custom iconography to represent the various hazards, community systems, and types of policies that could appear in Temperate. While users would be unlikely to recognize these oftentimes complex concepts by the iconography alone, they assist with quicker recognition and add an element of polish.
The product has won additional grants and partnerships since its launch. It is one of the projects I’m most proud of having had the chance to work on at Azavea. Check out the final product by creating a free account. You can also learn more about the process of designing the product in the 1st part of a 2-part blog post I wrote for Azavea.
Or, check out the Branding case study for this project.