MacroCards  🃏 is a deck of 50 introductory flashcards to Entomology education with both tactile and digital ways of interaction and learning.

Timeline —
3 Weeks
Discipline —
Print Design
Interaction Design
Illustration
For —
Stroud Water Research Center
National Science Foundation Fund #1623969
With —
Advisors: Marti Louw and Stroud Water Research Center
Team: Karis Wang


OVERVIEW
Designing for Young Learners
MacroCards is a deck of 50 introductory flashcards on common freshwater macroinvertebrates found in Eastern North America. The cards allow tactile and digital modes of interaction through scannable QR codes that jump you to an interactive and zoomable collection of macroinvertebrates.

This project is under the umbrella of the Macroinvertebrates.org and PocketMacros tools and was designed in collaboration with Stroud Water Research Center to build an engaging and friendly educational resource for middle school volunteers.

ROLE
Design + Branding + Illustration 🙋🏻
Working closely with my partner Karis, we lead the development of the illustrations, card designs, and branding.

01. The MacroCards Deck
What are all the various components and parts of this card deck?

BOX DESIGNThe MacroCards Box
MacroCards comes with a box that utilizes our illustrations on the front while using the other sides to provide details on the assortment of cards, the type of information they can learn from them, and their educational purpose.

BOX DESIGNThe MacroCards Box
MacroCards comes with a box that utilizes our illustrations on the front while using the other sides to provide details on the assortment of cards, the type of information they can learn from them, and their educational purpose.

THE FULL DECK
52x Cards Total
The deck includes 50 introductory cards on the field of Entomology and key macroinvertebrates to know plus 2 extra cards: additional cover and closing card.

THE FULL DECK
52x Cards Total
The deck includes 50 introductory cards on the field of Entomology and key macroinvertebrates to know plus 2 extra cards: additional cover and closing card.

CARD DESIGN 1
5x Introductory Cards
There are 5 introductory cards that were created to support basic entomology understanding through what macroinvertebrates are, the concept of pollution tolerance values, different insect body parts, and the various functional feeding groups that exist.

CARD DESIGN 1
5x Introductory Cards
There are 5 introductory cards that were created to support basic entomology understanding through what macroinvertebrates are, the concept of pollution tolerance values, different insect body parts, and the various functional feeding groups that exist.

CARD DESIGN 2
10x Order/Class Cards
There are 9 Order cards for the Insecta Class, and 1 card for the Non-Insect group, which consists of 4 Classes. These are to provide contextual information on the taxonomy hierarchy before jumping into the individual insects on the Family level.

CARD DESIGN 2
10x Order/Class Cards
There are 9 Order cards for the Insecta Class, and 1 card for the Non-Insect group, which consists of 4 Classes. These are to provide contextual information on the taxonomy hierarchy before jumping into the individual insects on the Family level.

CARDS design 3
36x Family Cards
There are 36 Family cards with our high resolution images on the front and our freshly made illustrations on the back. These are the main cards of the deck with QR codes that are paired directly with the PocketMacros app.

CARDS DESIGN 3
36x Family Cards
There are 36 Family cards with our high resolution images on the front and our freshly made illustrations on the back. These are the main cards of the deck with QR codes that are paired directly with the PocketMacros app.

02. Digital QR Interactions
How did we incorporate digital interactions to enhance the learning experience of physical cards?

FLOW DIAGRAM
Physical & Digital Use Cases
For these cards, we designed them to be suitable for dynamic learning. As just cards, they walk novice users through the field of macroinvertebrates with fun illustrations and facts to keep them engaged. However, to extend the physical cards to digital and interactive ways of learning, we built these QR codes.

FLOW DIAGRAM
Physical & Digital Use Cases
For these cards, we designed them to be suitable for dynamic learning. As just cards, they walk novice users through the field of macroinvertebrates with fun illustrations and facts to keep them engaged. However, to extend the physical cards to digital and interactive ways of learning, we built these QR codes.

HOW IT WORKS

Quickly Jumping with a ScanQR codes are added to the Order and Family level cards to jump the users to our parent resources, the PocketMacros app (if already downloaded on the phone) or Macroinvertebrates.org. This extends the learning for a range of expertise as users can also accessible more detailed text and imagery information or the zoomable images, which are missing features on the physical cards.

HOW IT WORKS

Quickly Jumping with a ScanQR codes are added to the Order and Family level cards to jump the users to our parent resources, the PocketMacros app (if already downloaded on the phone) or Macroinvertebrates.org. This extends the learning for a range of expertise as users can also accessible more detailed text and imagery information or the zoomable images, which are missing features on the physical cards.

03. Research & Iterationns
How did we get to the final designs?

RESEARCH
How are Other Learning Cards Designed?
When first building these cards, we looked into many existing example of scientific learning material that pair up text with image.

Since we already designed flashcards for the mobile application, we thought that it would be an easy translation to physical cards. But through our exploration, we found a breadth of its own challenges when dealing with printed, physical mediums.

RESEARCH
How are Other Learning Cards Designed?
When first building these cards, we looked into many existing example of scientific learning material that pair up text with image.

Since we already designed flashcards for the mobile application, we thought that it would be an easy translation to physical cards. But through our exploration, we found a breadth of its own challenges when dealing with printed, physical mediums.

ITERATIONS

Making 104 Different Designs
‍Here are some our iterations over time. At the beginning, there was no systematic way of building these, which made the whole set feel quite overwhelming. After we settled down on a design system, we were card variations that still felt like they belonged with each other and spoke the same language.

ITERATIONS

Making 104 Different Designs
‍Here are some our iterations over time. At the beginning, there was no systematic way of building these, which made the whole set feel quite overwhelming. After we settled down on a design system, we were card variations that still felt like they belonged with each other and spoke the same language.

04. Design System & Illustrations
There are 104 different designs, how did you keep it all within a consistent system?

DESIGN SYSTEMS

Building a System of ConsistencyThis is the word mark and design system for the MacroCards. A lot of similar typographical choices were taken from its parent resources.

DESIGN SYSTEMS

Building a System of ConsistencyThis is the word mark and design system for the MacroCards. A lot of similar typographical choices were taken from its parent resources.

ILLUSTRATIONsMaking Insects Cute ✨
A core aspect of these cards are the fun illustrations that humanizes the various macroinvertebrates that may initially seem intimidating to engage with. In the end, Karis and I drew 36 different illustrations for each macroinvertebrate to highlight their characteristic body parts as well as presenting them in a fun and playful manner.

ILLUSTRATIONsMaking Insects Cute ✨
A core aspect of these cards are the fun illustrations that humanizes the various macroinvertebrates that may initially seem intimidating to engage with. In the end, Karis and I drew 36 different illustrations for each macroinvertebrate to highlight their characteristic body parts as well as presenting them in a fun and playful manner.

05. Distribution & Impact
What did you do with these cards?

LAUNCH DAYTesting with Real Users
For the launch day of the app at Stroud Water Research Center, we printed out 7 full prototype decks to user test with the diverse stakeholders that were attending the event.

We were able to get detailed feedback to revise before sending our cards to the printer for mass production, and teachers also had a participatory co-making session in which they imagined various games and activities these cards could be used for.

Now, the cards are in final editing phase before hundreds of them are produced to be sent to teachers, camp, and museums.

LAUNCH DAYTesting with Real Users
For the launch day of the app at Stroud Water Research Center, we printed out 7 full prototype decks to user test with the diverse stakeholders that were attending the event.

We were able to get detailed feedback to revise before sending our cards to the printer for mass production, and teachers also had a participatory co-making session in which they imagined various games and activities these cards could be used for.

Now, the cards are in final editing phase before hundreds of them are produced to be sent to teachers, camp, and museums.

Reflections and Next Steps

MacroCards started off as small project but it quickly turned into something much more impactful and loved by the community. Working on this alongside with the mobile app really helped us understand the different types of user demographic that value our resources, and how we can better design for younger and novice users.

As for next steps, we received a lot of exciting feedback and design ideas for the final iteration. After making the changes to the design, copy, and illustration, we plan to print a 1,000 full decks to be distributed as an educational resource to teachers, camps, research centers, and museum!