Case Study

Explore Data Science

We helped Booz Allen Hamilton make their first foray into the product world by pairing space with data science and instructional software.

Project Goals

The Times, They Are A Changin’

When Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) predicted that data scientists would replace the role of data analyst (they were correct), they needed a new tool to enhance training for thousands of their own internal analysts.

When Worlds Collide

BAH wanted to cover knowledge gaps in training, with hires typically coming from pure statistics or pure computer science backgrounds. A new tool could lay a solid foundation for both new and existing employees, and set a high standard for internal training.

Data Scientists Just Want To Have Fun

Even learning something as dry as data science with Python can be fun and entertaining when video game elements are blended with narrative storytelling.


Suiting Up

While BAH created course content, we focused our energy into dressing up the experience to be as fun as possible. Candidates including Space Oregon Trail, sports, and microbiology came and went. In the end, a spaceship-building, space exploration theme won. Space always wins.

Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky

For about as long as Envy Labs had been around, we’ve been scheming to build better educational interfaces (such as Code School). Explore Data Science proved to be the perfect opportunity to employ a number of new ideas for world domination.

Best of Both Worlds

One such new idea was long-format content: combining the best parts of readable textbook-style content with interactive challenges placed exactly where needed.

Explore Data Science long-format challenge

What’s My Age Again?

When you combine challenging content with fun space-themed collectibles and friendly leaderboard competition, even the stodgiest adult loosens up and has a little fun while learning.

Explore Data Science user achievement dashboard

Design + Develop

Signs of Intelligent Life

Thanks to the D3 visualization library, exploring a new universe felt a little more real than staring at flat images.

Intergalactic Planetary

The login experience is something to behold: instead of presenting users with a boring array of chapter titles and lesson plans, we show them an entire solar system to explore.

Ready To Roll Out!

While in the system, users transition in and out of the textbook-style content into a full Python executor at opportune times. Users are left with the best of both worlds: readable long-format curriculum and interactive code execution.

Brave New Worlds

Each level of Explore Data Science has a unique theme, from Earth-like environments to inhospitable lava planets and undersea planets, memorably distinguishing chapters from one another.

Putting Myself to the Fullest Possible Use

Just because some aren’t motivated by collectibles doesn’t mean it hurts to throw in trophies, leaderboards, and even a custom emblem designer for your ship for the completionists.


The Results

Ground Control to Major Tom

With the launch of Explore Data Science, Booz Allen Hamilton was able to significantly boost their training quality for new and existing employees. BAH’s previously scattered approach was quickly replaced by the ability to track employee progress and completion across the entire organization.

See You, Space Cowboy

The platform became even more popular than Booz Allen Hamilton anticipated, resulting in a 2015 SXSW Interactive Innovation nomination as well as the eventual sale to Metis in early 2016. This validated BAH’s investment in the data science profession as well as the quality curriculum they prepared for the course.

Up Next

Real Thread

Envy Labs helped Real Thread break into a new tier of online retail.


We’re just as excited about your idea.

Say Hello