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Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC), which has been recognized by its peers as one of the top nature centers in the country, is home to over 14 miles of hiking trails winding through woods, wetlands, and prairies. There are numerous places in KNC that have an interesting and impressive history besides being home to a variety of animals and hundreds of wildflowers and other plant life. To improve visitors’ experience at KNC, we built a mobile app using React Native via the senior design project at the Department of Computer Science at WMU.
The app encompasses five main screens, namely Discover, QRcode, Trails, Current Exhibits, and Past Exhibits, providing a seamless and interactive journey for users. The Discover screen serves as the app's hub, featuring a captivating image and quick-access buttons, including "About KNC," "App Guide," "Opening Hours," and "Support." Each button leads users to informative sections, such as the mission and origin of KNC, a user guide, operational hours, and technical support details, respectively. The app ensures a user-friendly experience with a consistent header displaying the KNC logo and a footer facilitating easy navigation between the five main screens.
For nature enthusiasts, the Trails section offers a detailed exploration of individual trails, presenting names, images, loop lengths, difficulty levels, and descriptive content. Leveraging Firebase, data is dynamically loaded, and a QR code scanning feature immerses users in specific trail experiences, seamlessly integrating audio guides and trail maps. The Current and Past Exhibits screens showcase KNC's rich history, with images and titles of each exhibit. Users can delve deeper into exhibits by clicking, revealing a carousel of images and descriptions. The integration of Firebase ensures up-to-date content retrieval, and an Access Story Map button provides a web-based journey through the exhibits. One of the app’s main focus is the QR code scanner, which allows users to scan codes along the trails. The app checks the validity of the codes, providing an error page for invalid ones and ensuring functionality even in offline conditions. A carefully designed audio player enhances the immersive experience, complete with play/pause functionality and a progress bar. This project not only caters to the immediate on-site needs of visitors but also establishes a digital connection, enabling remote exploration and enjoyment of KNC's natural wonders.
Tye, Wei Shun, "Kalamazoo Nature Center Mobile App" (2023). Honors Theses. 3769.
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