aquarium boy interactive display

Passport Stories

Creating empathy for aquatic organisms through interactive storytelling with the user.

Generating empathy for animals is an easier task when they resemble a cute animal with a face. The following case study shows the design process to build empathy for invertebrates for The Seattle Aquarium.

My Roles
Project Details

Interaction Designer

  • Personas
  • User Stories
  • User Scenarios
  • High fidelity prototype

2 months

  • Illustrator
  • Photoshop


Passport Stories is an interactive storytelling experience for elementary aged kids. Based around different in person interactive exhibits, we conceptualized a framework to connect kids to develop empathy for less popular sea creatures such as invertebrates. Interactions range from a personalized story building journal to at home activities connecting their journal to continue storytelling process.


Through interviews with Seattle Aquarium stakeholders and user research we discovered an age range where empathy building becomes difficult, especially for living organisms such as invertebrates. We needed to find a way to generate and maintain long-term empathy for these sea creatures, while also maximizing the aquarium's restrictive space.

The Problems and Proposed Solutions

Problems and Solutions to meet Seattle Aquariums and Visitor needs.


We found through interviews across stakeholders that empathy projects had been designed from past to present. Most of these operated around beach activities, with limited long-term effects. We knew we needed to create lasting impressions through accessibility both at the aquarium and at home. Adding a take home element to continue their activities once leaving would increase accessibility for those unable to visit a beach as well as afford the travel and cost of attending the Seattle Aquarium.

The Flow

I conceptualized a user scenario showing interactions and the general flow from arrival at the aquarium to interactions with the different artifacts.

user scenario

What I Learned

Soft Skills
It was a helpful learning experience regarding interacting with professional level stakeholders.
Designing for user interaction with an explicit goal such as empathy generation can be a tough, but useful practice

Hard Skills
Constructing user research
UX Writing