An Audio-Visual Experience to Warn of Climate Change

for Blue Trail / Adaptive Path

Collaborating across disciplines to raise public awareness of a global climate challenge

The Blue Trail event at Adaptive Path San Francisco invited dozens of groups to participate in a day of collaboration, ideation and critique to come up with constructive, real-world ways to help the ocean.


Our team consisted of two sound artists, one ocean scientist and myself. Together, we targeted the crisis of ocean acidification.


The Problem:

Ocean acidification is the result of global warming, the result of which is whole swaths of ocean life literally suffocating to death because of loss of oxygen in the ocean water. This largely affects shorelines and areas close to the surface, with entire regions becoming graveyards for ocean wildlife overnight. One of the challenges for those trying to confront this issue, is that it isn't a widely known one. The general public remains unaware that this is one of the side-effects of global warming. Our team's goal became to educate and inform the public about this crisis.


The Process:

We began by learning about the problem from our resident scientist, and generating ideas for ways to communicate the problem to a passerby on the San Francisco pier. We created 3 personas to represent the public we anticipated would encounter the installation, focusing on their needs and goals while passing through the space. After this, we began ideating proposals for ways to engage these persons, get them thinking about the process, and leave them interested in learning more.


The highly-interactive nature of the event allowed us to join efforts with other teams, compare ideas and get feedback before ideation began. It was a valuable part of the process and gave us insight into the user flow and intuitiveness of our proposal. 


Our team came up with an 8-foot backdrop with 4 "breathing stations" where people could connect with a different ocean species and learn how it is being affected by acidification. The installation had audio-visual elements and also tactile interfaces, designed to engage those passing by the installation. Working with my team, I illustrated and created flowcharts for the proposal, which we presented to the entire floor at the end of the day. Our project was well-recieved by the audience and recieved a place amongst the runners-up for the competition.



Project date: 2011


-FastCompany Article

-Blue Trail Design Jam


Group Photo
Adaptive Path Design Jam
Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
Our process
Discussing the pain points


Human-Centered Design, Teamwork, Collaboration, Experience Design, Public Engagement, Presentation, Visualization, Communication


Tools & Techniques

Personas, Critique, Brainstorming, Illustration, Feedback, Flow Charts

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