DEA4700/6700   Spring 2000


Project Group: 
Kelley Dallas, Jared Farlow, Derek Kruse,  Haruhito Matsunami, Jonathan Puleio, Andrew Waxman, Cari Varner


In the spring of 2000 we, a project group students taking DEA 4700: Applied Ergonomic Methods, supervised by Professor Alan Hedge, took on the challenge of creating an interactive Kiosk for the Lake Source Cooling (LSC) project at Cornell University. The Kiosk will be placed inside of the heat exchange facility located on East Shore Drive in Ithaca New York. At the outset of the project our only guidelines were that the kiosk be interactive and that a section of the six foot underground pipe used for water transportation be incorporated into the design. After much deliberation we recommended to LSC that the pipe be de-coupled from the kiosk design itself and used as an additional learning tool within the facility. After this decision we were left with designing the interactive kiosk itself. The class divided the task into two main sections: kiosk physical design and kiosk content design. The content group decided that a familiar web based content presentation would be best for the kiosk. The following is the content rationale behind the slide show presentation that we presented to LSC as our final recommendation. This rationale is broken into three sections that are described below:



Our goals in preparing the content section for the Lake Source Cooling interface were to educate the naive user about what LSC was, how it worked, why it was necessary, and how it would impact the environment. We also wanted to do these things while entertaining the viewer and providing them with a visually stimulating experience. We chose to provide the user with a traditional interactive html layout plus a virtual tour which will be touched on in more detail later.

Site Content

We proposed that the pages be broken down into five main categories:

  1. What is Lake Source Cooling?
  2. What are the reasons for Lake Source Cooling?
  3. LSC: From drawing board to reality
  4. How does Lake Source Cooling work?
  5. Lake Source Cooling in the news

In the section "What is Lake Source Cooling" we recommended a brief and simple physical explanation of how LSC cools the buildings of Cornell.

In the section "Reasons for Lake Source Cooling" we suggested that a rationale for why this type of energy use has been chosen over other forms of generating power. Also, in this section should be an explanation of why the change was even considered. Issues of efficiency, cost, and durability should also be mentioned.

We envisioned an interactive time line for the section "From drawing board to Reality" showing all the critical events and stages throughout the course of the project. We suggested that the digital video clips of events such as the sinking of the pipe be used in this section as well.

For the section "How does Lake Source Cooling Work," we proposed the design of an interactive image mapping of the pipeline which would allow users to zoom in and explore sections of the project such as the water intake, the heat exchange facility, and the pipe itself.

The section "Lake Source Cooling in the News" was to serve as a voice for the community, the university, and the environmental issues involved in such a project. Articles written in local papers, and editorials would be presented here.

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Site Structure

The goal of the entire site structure was to move from simple to complex. This means that the site should have multiple levels, with more details imbedded in each successive level. This allows naive users to view the first page on a topic and then go back without having to sort through complex information.

The main page should be divided into areas that contain graphics and function as buttons. The buttons should be structured so that no topic is seen as much more important than the others (ie not a top to bottom list). The buttons should be made up of the five major categories using large circles with a button in the center for the virtual tour. Graphics in each circle should function as representative icons for each topic for the rest of the site. Rollover effects should be used to make it clear that each section button can be clicked, and what happens if it is clicked. This can be done by causing the text to change to a color characteristic of that section.

Content should be graphic based. A strong use of repetitive icons will aid user in navigation. For instance, the icons used as buttons on the first page should appear on all successive screens within that section. A side bar with links to the other sections should be used throughout the site to allow the user to move directly to any other section. A back arrow should be included on each page or on the controls to the kiosk that allows the user to get to previous level. The interactive map and time line should use roll over effects to illustrate that there is a clickable link, and to show the user exactly what they will get if they click. The home page is formatted to fit a 800 by 600 screen right now; that can be adjusted for monitor size.

Our stress in creation of the site was on content, not exact layout. It is up to the LSC computer team to decide what exactly each page says and how exactly the icons look.

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The major goal of the virtual tour is to give the nieve user the option of having a guided tour through the site. This allows the user to see what is in each section and how the site is organized. The virtual tour can be beneficial to those who just want a quick overview of what they can see. It is also important that this tour be optional. That is why we placed it in the center of the home page as on option to click on so that a familiar user can bypass this option. The virtual tour only takes a few minutes and will bring the user right back to the home page.

The virtual tour itself is meant to give an overview of each of the five main sections presented in the home page. We had three main goals when creating this tour:

  1. Make the tour simple and easy to follow
  2. Make the tour coincide with the rest of the site in terms of icon use and content
  3. Give the user an escape route if they don't want to see the tour.

The tour that is presented in the slide show does these three things. We used ergonomic guidelines for user-interface design in creating this tour. The tour has an escape button and it is a truly guided tour with no input from the user. This is in accordance with the user-interface guidelines. The slide show goes into depth about the rational behind the tour. This virtual tour should be designed to be very simple and easy to understand while being at the same time entertaining the user. There are many different types of software that can be used to create this type of tour. The majority of tours that are currently on the web that incorporate moving visual elements as well as audio are done using Flash software.

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The interface ergonomic guideline section of the slide show deals with issues of

displaying the multimedia site on a video display terminal. When displaying

information to users in this matter, there are many ergonomic considerations dealing with color, text and fonts, size of display, auditory displays and graphic and icons. Using these variables in an ergonomic manner, highly enhances the usability of the video display system and the overall experience of the user. The slide show goes into depth about how these variable should be incorporated into the LSC site.

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