Noctools website masthead showing image of bats flying.


Design Research | UX Design | UI Design


Over 200 species of bats are considered threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Bats are essential to the health of global ecosystems, and the primary cause of their decline is human activity.

Tools Used

Miro, Adobe XD, Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects


Based on my research, the goal I set for myself was to create a service that not only raised awareness to help the bat population but actively worked to create real change for bats.


I created a citizen science project with an extensive website that will link the public to what the project has to offer. Community members can participate in hands-on citizen science in various workshops and programs where they are making a positive impact on the bat population.

Noctools website pages showing masthead, bat house page, tutorials, and profile page with live bat cam.


Noctools is a citizen science project that works to generate awareness of bats by organizing community programs and installing bat houses with artificial intelligence cameras to learn more about the species.

Trademark Design
Primary Logo (Stacked)
Noctools secondary logo of horizontal variation.
Secondary Logo
Noctools logotype without bat icon.
Noctools favicon showing bat icon without text.

Not a fan of research?

Initial Problem Discovery

I wasn’t initially familiar with the problem at hand, or how critically endangered bats actually were, so I started my research by diving into finding out more about the species. It seemed obvious that a species becoming endangered was a problem, but what made bats so special?

So, what is it about bats?

Turns out, bats do a lot for our ecosystem and most of us don’t even know it. Here are just some of the roles that the bat species plays in our lives:

Icon of flower releasing pollen.


Over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate their flowers (including the agave in your margarita!)

Icon of globe to show biodiversity.

Indicators of biodiversity

With over 1400 species of bats in the world, they can be found on nearly every part of our planet and can tell us a lot about the state of the environment

Icon showing plant dispersing seeds.

Speed dispersers and reforesters

They play a critical role in spreading the seeds of trees and other plants, and help regrowth after forest clearance

Icon of insect to represent pest control.

Pest controllers

They consume thousands of insects and other athropods (including pesky mosquitoes) every night to keep those populations down

The Problem with Bats

Conservation Status

Bats live on 6 of the world’s 7 continents, all 50 US States, and are essential to the health of global ecosystems. Yet despite how valuable they are, their numbers continue to drop.

Conservation statistics for number of bat species that are critically endangered and vulnerable.Conservation statistics for number of bat species that are cendangered and data deficient.

Their Decline

While some of the factors leading to their endangerment are endemic to their order, like disease, the primary cause of their decline is human activity. This includes:

Icon mountains, trees, and pathway.

The ongoing destruction of natural habitats

Icon of rotating wind turbine.

The growing use of wind-turbine energy

Icon of "myth" sign.

The proliferation of harmful myths

How We Can Help

I started to research little things people can do in their daily life that would help the bat population, and was surprised at how much I found. This got me thinking that if it’s this easy to make a difference, bringing people together could create real change.

Icon of a bat house.

Install a bat house in your backyard to give them shelter

Icon of tree stump with an axe.

Don’t cut down dead trees—some species of bats love hanging out in them

Icon of pesticide being sprayed.

Don’t use pesticides—bats are natural pest controllers

Icon of a cat.

Keep cats in at night to avoid bat injuries due to cat attacks

Interview Findings

I met with Dr. Sarah Fritts, a wildlife researcher and bat expert, and professor at Texas State University in the Department of Biology, and gained a lot of insight into the problem at hand. Here were my main takeaways from our interview:

The tools we need aren’t the most accessible.

Dr. Fritts introduced me to tools she uses in her work that help us learn more about bats, such as Kestrel Drops, Echometers, bat houses, and more. However, the fact is that many of these tools are either too expensive or inaccessible to the general public.

Community is key to creating change.

In her own experience, Dr. Fritts explained that she’s found programs are far more successful when utilizing the help of the community (i.e. schools, cities, parks, etc.)

There are lots of things we’re still learning about bats.

We learn new things about bats every day. Tracking key pieces of information like migration patterns, behaviors, reactions to light and noise, etc. is vital for learning how we can help the population.

Takeaways / Pain Points

Because of the very specific problem at hand, it was difficult to be able to generate a survey or user interviews, but my interview with Dr. Fritts along with research into other conservation efforts helped me to figure out what prevents people from contributing to these efforts.

Icon of hands shaking.

They don’t know how to help

Icon of hand with money.

They don’t have the financial resources to donate

Icon of person silhouette with lines around head.

They aren’t aware of the problem in the first place

Icon of a small piece of a pie chart.

They don’t feel like their contributions make a difference

Problem Statement

So, what is the problem?

Many bat species are endangered and without our action, their populations will continue to fall, driving many species to extinction.

Why does this problem matter?

Bats are vital to our ecosystems in terms of pest control, pollination, reforestation and biodiversity. Without the bat species, our natural ecosystems would be devastated.

Target Audience

Whose problem am I solving?

I’m solving the bat population problem, but what audience am I targeting? I created multiple user personas to show the different types of people that could help the cause in their own way.

User persona for "The Family-Man"
User persona for the "Social Environmentalist"
Competitive Analysis

What’s being done to help the problem currently?

My research introduced me to citizen science, which is described as the “collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public.” In other words, it’s a collaborative way for people help scientists learn more about a species. There are a number of websites like this out there currently as well as other non-profits working to help bats.


Offers: Although not specifically for bats, Zooniverse is a website that currently hosts over 50 active citizen science projects. Members of the public go through images of different species and answer questions about what they see to help researchers more easily sort through data.

Lacks:Interactivity, community connection, reasons for users to return to the site

Bat Conservation International

Offers: Memberships and accepts donations to help make a difference, holds community events and talks to raise awareness, adopt–a-bat to raise awareness about different species of bats and profits go to research.

Lacks:Interactivity, community connection

Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

Offers: Resources to learn about bats, donation and membership options to contribute to the cause, and various projects to gain involvement from the public in helping the problem.

Lacks:Interactivity, community connection


Offers: Various resources to raise awareness and help the public learn more about bats, and specialize in creating high-quality (and expensive) bat houses for people to put in their yard, which helps provide shelter to bats during a time when their habitat is suffering.

Lacks:Interactivity, community connection, reasons for users to return to the site

Artificial Intelligence Cameras

AI camera technology was something that came up in my interview with Dr. Fritts. We discussed its emerging possibilities in helping endangered species. Here’s how it’s being used currently to help save wildlife species:

Icon of retical of a gun

Stopping poachers

Icon of water droplet

Tracking water loss

Icon of many dots

Counting species


How Might We...

Based on my research, I started to list out How Might We questions to start brainstorming how to get the public involved, eradicate the stereotypes regarding bats, receive funding for a nonprofit, and more.

How Might We post-it notesHow Might We post-it notes

Opportunity Statement

The public needs a way to increase their awareness of the bat population problem, and become involved in the solution in a fun, educational, and hands-on way so that they can create real change and keep coming back.


I created Noctools, a citizen science project that generates community involvement to raise awareness of the decline of the bat species. The project will host community events and workshops and offer an interactive social platform for members to build their own bat houses and track their colony with AI camera technology.

The name comes from the word, noctule, a common species of bat, combined with the idea of building the community to create change for bats.

User Journey Maps

I developed two user journey maps to lay out the main features of the website that both user personas would be interacting with.

The Family-Man
User journey map for the "family-man"
The Social Environmentalist
User journey map for the "social environmentalist"
Final Outcomes

Workshops & Classrooms

Noctools holds community workshops and classrooms to gain citizen involvement. The public can come together and build bat houses and learn about the importance of the species through interactive, outdoor hikes. The site offers a search function to browse through local events and programs happening in their area.

Issues addressed: community connection, non-monetary donations, raising awareness, not knowing how to help

Building Bat Houses

Bat houses are a proven way to help combat the habitat destruction that’s contributing to the decline of the bat species. Noctools offers various ways to get more bat houses in more yards around the nation—people can join a workshop to build one, follow a tutorial to build one at home, or customize and order one on the site.

Issues addressed: non-monetary donations, hands-on interactivity

Connecting with the Community

Noctools’ social media platform helps passionate environmentalists connect and share their experiences. This is a way to organize community participation and allows people to see what others in their area are doing with their own backyard bat colonies.

Issues addressed: community connection

Tracking Your Bats

Utilizing AI camera technology was a way for citizens to help experts learn more about bats by tracking vital information. Since the technology is new and still learning however, users will periodically update their bat colony’s stats to keep it as accurate as possible and allow users to have a more hands-on experience.

Issues addressed: hands-on interactivity, helping people see how their contributions make a difference

Saving bats is easier than you think.
Feel free to interact with this prototype.

Or click here to open the prototype in a new window.

Lessons Learned

The power of design in educating people.

The project I created was to help the general public learn more about an endangered species, but I learned so much about the problem myself. It was exciting to learn about a critical problem and how I could help as a designer, even if the project was hypothetical.

There are always ways to improve existing systems.

I love being able to use extensive design research to solve real problems, and I was surprised to find that such a huge problem like the one I was tackling didn’t have a concrete solution in place.

With More Time & Resources, I Would...

Conduct user testing to validate the clarity of my designs.

For a hypothetical project like this, user testing was difficult to do, but as a UX designer I always want to test my designs with real people to make sure my designs are easily understood.

Extend the project to it’s full potential.

I would love to explore how this program would operate in other ways, such as: an outdoor advertisement campaign to gain awareness, citizens holding their own workshops, pop-up events, packaging design for the bat houses ordered through the website, and more.

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