Skip to Content

Helping aquarium visitors identify and connect with aquatic life.

The National AquariumBlacktip Reef Consulting Digital Strategic Planning

The National Aquarium team brought in Night Kitchen Interactive to lead a digital concept design process with the goal of re-envisioning Blacktip Reef's digital identification strategy.

Visitors of the National Aquarium are mesmerized by the dozens of species that live in Blacktip Reef, the largest exhibit in the Blue Wonders gallery. They often ask, “what's that fish?” as the exhibit's inhabitants dart, shoal, and float past two observation levels. Alongside the National Aquarium team, we unpacked the goals of this gallery and identified approaches to inspire conservation action and environmental stewardship through game design and interactive storytelling.

A man looking at an aquarium sign.

Night Kitchen engaged the National Aquarium in an extensive Discovery to hone in on a solution that met the interpretive goals and audience needs. The hustle and bustle of Blacktip Reef can resemble a vibrant city. Unlike human cities, delicate coral reef ecosystems rely on biodiversity to create a resilient and interconnected system.

A balanced population of producers, predators and prey can help the ecosystem rebound from natural threats like storms and algae blooms. But even these natural events have had their effects exacerbated by climate change.

Cards with fish on them laying on an illustration of a reef.
Night Kitchen team members working.

We made multiple trips down to Baltimore to meet with the team, whiteboard ideas, and test concepts with audiences through paper prototyping. By experimenting with gamified systems before a single line of code has been laid down, our designers were able to gain valuable user experience insights and refine concepts prior to the design development phase. Stay tuned for further updates as we move into development with these exciting new additions to Blacktip Reef!

People silhouetted against an aquarium tank.