Wildlife Sighting Chatbot
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Wildlife Sighting Chatbot

Background

WildIsrael is a non-profit organization that runs a public participation database for wildlife sightings.

This geographic information system, or GIS, is useful for several reasons:

  • It adds to scientific knowledge;
  • It informs conservation planning; and
  • it promotes public engagement with nature.

The Problem

Contributors could report wildlife sightings in two ways:

  • By filling out a webform privately; or
  • by describing the sighting in natural language in a community discussion channel.

By and large, each of these approaches catered to a different stakeholder:

  • Webforms generated tabular data that was easier for admins to process;
  • But writing in natural language appealed to contributors in two ways:
    • it was more intuitive to write than fill out a form, and
    • sharing sightings on community discussion channels fostered competence and belonging.

Hence, the organization sought to find something that would combine the best of both worlds.

The Solution

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After conducting competitive analysis and user interviews, I designed a bespoke WhatsApp chatbot for wildlife sightings.
  • The chatbot yields tabular data that is complete and easier for admins to work with, compared to reports given in natural language. This reduces the admin workload.
  • At the same time, the chatbot makes for a more conversational experience for contributors, compared to filling out forms.
  • Additionally, each wildlife sighting can be given a different level of privacy, meaning it can either be:
    • posted publicly to a community discussion channel (which can contribute to engagement), or
    • kept private, for the admins’ eyes only (which some users prefer for several reasons, including their own sake and the animals’).

Research and Design Process

This presentation (in Hebrew) explains the research and design process:

Prototype

The prototype only works with the following input:

  1. Species: Hedgehog
  2. Where did you see it: Haifa
  3. When did you see the animal: Now
  4. In what condition was the animal: 1 (Alive)
  5. Enter 1 again (to confirm)

Client Testimonial

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"It has been a privilege to work with Aviv as a UX expert on our public participation GIS dedicated to wildlife sightings. He performed a thorough examination of our project and provided excellent results: a creatively designed chatbot that is easy to use and is tailored to our association's needs. The value of his work extends well beyond the final product: Aviv helped us develop a better understanding of our contributors, which will be of great help in future projects." — Eyal Vanunu, Founder of WildIsrael (December 2020)