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The Open University: Chips

Open University: CHIPS


Investigating Psychology: CHIPs - The Open University

CHIPs is an online tool for academic researchers to chart the influence of psychologists past and present. Using pins and nodes users can quickly see which psychologists influenced who and what their speciality field was.

By pinning a node any other nodes that are related to it become highlighted, allowing the user to further explore and reveal subjects, methods and interesting people of note. 



In order to simplify exploration the user interface leant heavily on colour, these were bold bright colours chosen to ensure that the user never struggled to discern what was being highlighted. The navigation also doubles as a visual key for the user to reference, every time a green node is highlighted the user understands that to be a person of relevance etc. Should the user need to directly search for a person or methodology etc they can hit the navigation button to reveal all or use the search box.

On a deeper level, once a user has found something of note they can go into the connection revealing an overview and a list of any other relevant connections, by turning on any additional connections the chart updates itself in real time. Where possible external 'further reading' links are provided should the user need them.

The 'narratives' tab is a curated list of interesting stories within psychology, version 1.0 allows a user to see an overview of a subject by pinning and highlighting all the relevant nodes across the chart. The upcoming version 2 will lead the user through the chart one node at a time, providing a more 'storyteller' experience. 

My role in the project was split between UI/UX.


Whilst CHIPs is set out to be a tool for academics, it proves itself to be great way to explore and learn by playing, by clicking around you're able to see patterns and relationships emerge and as there is no specific start point it encourages user exploration.