Welcome to INK.
We’re excited to share our work with you! We’ve documented our research and design process to help explain what we learned, how and why decisions were made, and give a head start to future teams working on the development of this project.


Our interdisciplinary team of master’s students brought years of industry experience in design, research, front-end development, and product management to this project, which was organized through the Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design (MHCID) program at UCI.


Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world-renowned institution dedicated to inspiring conservation of the ocean. To create INK, we collaborated with the aquarium’s education department, as well as aquarium-affiliated teachers and students.

a person taking a photo of jellyfish

global reputation

recognized throughout the world for its commitment to conservation

tourist destination

attracts 2 million annual visitors of all ages

$134 million

annual revenue through admission and donations


is a priority, with a recently opened $42 million education center

Why this project?

  • As a pioneer of STEM education, MBA advocates for building technology skills in students that will serve them academically and later on, professionally. 
  • Their teachers and education staff want to meet students where they are in today’s digital age, since technology is often more engaging for students.
  • The aquarium wanted to create a science notebook tool specifically designed for educational use, since there isn’t anything quite right on the market right now.
bechtel education center

Why now?

  • MBA’s education department is in a time of growth. They opened the Bechtel Education Center building in 2019, which demonstrates that education is an institutional priority, and that the department is quickly expanding.
  • Technology is one of the education department’s core values. They made sure to outfit their new building with plenty of tech including smart classrooms, an innovation lab, and recording spaces.
  • This digital notebook app is a dream project for MBA. They have been using other notebook apps in their education programs, but nothing has quite fit the bill in terms of features, platform, and price.

What are the client's needs?

  • MBA’s goal was to build one app that brings together elements of collaboration, ownership, and reflection.
  • The app had to be cross-platform, so that students would be able to use it in the field, in the classroom, and at home.

timeline 2019

This six-month project began with foundational research before the iterative prototyping phase.







foundational research
prototype draft
usability testing
prototype revisions
final deliverables


We started with the discovery phase.