Maker of the Month: Lauren Atwell, app designer

Maker of the Month: Lauren Atwell, app designer

2nd December 2015

Author: Biju Belinky

Lauren Atwell, app designer

First up in our new interview series with people making their mark in the creative industries is Lauren Atwell.  Her love of the great outdoors was the inspiration for her award-winning app, Project Locon, which uses gamefying to help children explore local wildlife.

Our friends at ARTS THREAD caught up with Lauren to find out more.

So talk us through your app.

It’s a nature journal app for kids. So when they go out and about with their parents on a walk it makes the learning about the local wildlife a game. There are three different sections, there’s Challenge, which is to identify the species, Explore, which is a nature treasure hunt and Create which teaches how to build bird houses, bug hotels and things like that to help the local wildlife.

This prototype is situated for Scotland, featuring things you might find there. If you find one of these birds you’d take a photo and upload it to the journal, so it’s something you can take back inside and show your parents and store it for later use. If you name the bird and upload it, you get a little fact about it as well so you collect badges, like scouts, in a task-and-reward kind of system.

And what inspired you to start working with wildlife exploration?

I started with the idea of conservation and wanted to create a really good learning tool for kids to explore. I found that kids nowadays know more about fictional creatures rather than actual creatures that are outside in the wildlife so that inspired me to get them to learn about it and interact with their wildlife more. They know the dangers of the environment and everything that’s happening around the world, but they don’t know how that affects them locally and what animals are there locally that are endangered. So this would be a stepping stone for the first process of learning about it and getting interested. That’s what made me interested.

Did you use to explore nature when you were a kid?

Yeah! I’ve always loved going outside and exploring. On talking to parents, I found that the kids sometimes find that boring so gamefying that experience was a good option I think.

And what are your plans for the future?

I want to get into New User Experience design, get work experience and see where that takes me. Applying for jobs in that area, those are my plans.

Find out more

Lauren Atwell was awarded the Cyber-Duck Associate Prize at New Designers 2015, the annual showcase for design graduates.

Explore icould videos on working in design.

Creative graduate website ARTS THREAD bridges the gap between education and the creative industry, bringing together, design students, graduates, universities, schools and the worldwide creative industry.



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