This week is only 2 days for me. Wednesday is a holiday, we have Thursday off, and I’m gone for Friday through Monday for a wedding in Oregon. AJ, our newest team member, will also be gone on Friday. Hopefully we make it far enough in these two days to do some work independently until we’re in the same place again.
Monday, July 2
Today we welcomed our new team member: AJ. He should have a blog listing soon, but I’m not sure if he’s required to post. He’s an undergrad who’s done some research for one of the overseeing professors here at VRAC, so he’s familiar with a lot of the people (albeit not the REU students). He happens to fill some gaps in our team’s knowledge about web design.
I made some UI sketches that Jacklin loved, which closes out the majority of the pre-programming work. We should be able to get a solid start tomorrow!
Tuesday, July 3
Today was the first real work with AJ (and consequently the first work with a full team in over a week). We picked out some technologies to build our program with. We’re currently planning to make a React.js website with a clean separation between the user interface, backend, and data (this separation promotes better organization, extensibility, and task separation). Our first block of work will be divided into 3 parts; Victoria will make the visual layout of the first iteration of the interface, I will make the backend that handles how the user selection modifies the data, and AJ will do the tasks in the middle, like specifying which buttons call which functions and how the graph is generated from the backend-served data. For this pilot study, the data file isn’t very important. We only need to provide plausible information to measure how well the interface can teach people.
I’ll back up a bit, since not all of my readers at home know much about this project. We’re creating an interactive website that will let you see how various changes (decreasing the A/C target temperature, opening windows at night, upgrading your insulation, etc.) impact your indoor temperature during extreme climate events. The goal is to help marginalized populations get a better sense of how to handle these situations, but in a more individual way. Current efforts to do similar things instead focus on brochures, billboards, or other one-way communications which have proven to not be very effective. Our research question is basically, “does this interactive thing do a good job of teaching these climate concepts?” This requires two components: the interactive thing, and the means of measuring understanding. We’re focusing on the first piece right now, but we’ll get to the second one before the end of the summer.