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This is a working document intended to track design issues and possible solutions related to track construction using pre-determined track pieces for the PhET Energy Skatepark: Basics sim.

The Goal

Design an inclusive experience for Energy Skatepark track construction that allows the user create unique tracks with pieces of predetermined track shapes.


  • How would you describe track pieces and built tracks programmatically?
  • When constructing a track, how would you orient a non-visual user?
  • What would keyboard access be like?

Discussion and Design notes

June 1 and June 2:

Scene description for freeform track construction may be informed or derived from predetermined track piece construction design.

A prototype was designed to support the understanding of the process of constructing a track during team discussions and solo exploration:



Point of track pickup may include Labels (name of piece such as RAMP, LOOP), Sonification, and/or Earcons (auditory equivalent of an icon).

Once a track is formed, do the "pickup" identifiers change given that the track is now the primary element and not the individual pieces that make up the track. If so, how do the identifiers change while maintaining auditory cohesion throughout the experience. 

Consider the path traversed by the skater as a whole and complete experience.

relative frequency using grid coordinates (Y) to relate hi and lo

NEXT: Co-design session with elementary students using prototype and Keezy, an app that easily records collections of sound bites that can be played back in any order you choose.


grade5 student track pieces sounds.m4a

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