[Research] Transitions + Flow of “Ensign” and “Night Sky” Apps – Mai Saito


Ensign is a text-based app that I discovered a couple of years ago and is a predecessor to A Dark Room, a similar web text-based game.

Though the design is pretty minimal, the interface and its ability to capture the user is clever and interesting.

Each gameplay begins the same with a start screen (Image 2). It leads you through a couple of screens afterwards that introduce the user to the story and to get the player to get used to the text-based choice interface of the game. The occasional inspirational pop up appears before each gameplay, which gives some character to the app (Image 1).

You are then placed onto a map made of symbols. Pressing the NSEW buttons lets us begin to understand that the @ symbol represents the player. As you continue moving around the game, more of the map is revealed.

Once the player hits icons like C and H, you are taken to more choice screens.

Some choices lead to fights, and if the user loses or if they run out of food or water, the game is over. Once the player dies, they are redirected to the start page and begins again. Different decisions in each play cause for different outcomes and eventually furthers the user into the game.

Though the design and choices are pretty simple and the goal is unclear at first, the mysteriousness and initial urge to discover more of the map, engages the user. The minimal graphics of the game also allow the player to imagine the majority of the storyline which makes for an addictive play.

Here’s a flow chart on Ensign:

Ensign User Flow



Night Sky is an augmented reality app that shows objects in space such as stars, planets, and satellites through the perspective of your location on Earth.

The app’s main page is an orientation sensitive map of the stars. Zooming into areas of the sky will show further detail such as constellations and minor stars.

Pressing an AR icon starts the augmented reality feature where the map converts to one that corresponds with what your camera sees (Willoughby views though). Further information of the star or planet can be see by clicking the info icon on each space object.


Pressing settings directs the user to other features like “Tonight in…” where you can see what celestial objects can be seen on today’s night sky. Others include tours of particular segments of the sky such as solar systems and constellations.


Here’s a user flow chart of Night Sky:

Night Sky Flow

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