A project by 9 individuals that teaches inclusivity to children through both print and digital interaction.
Role: Illustrator / Prototyping
Duration: 15 weeks
Day 1 of the semester, our professor gave us this prompt: "Create an experience centered around teaching complex topics in a simple way through illustration and interaction." Our deliverables were 1 cohesive print component, 1 interactive experience, and 3 letters per person that were chosen from a random card draw.
Our original direction was to educate those coming into the workforce on inclusivity in an effort to create a more accepting, safe, and collaborative environment. Our target audience young adults ages 22-28.
To ensure that we were being as inclusive as possible, we met with The Center for Diversity and Inclusion here on campus. We got expertise input on a rough list of words we had put together ourselves, and other important words to include.
After an in-class critique, we realized we might be shooting so broad that we would risk missing our mark. We decided to recenter ourselves, and target children between 4th - 6th grade. This is a very pivotal time in childhood development, and we wanted to introduce these topics while they’re still learning.
To learn more about designing educational and fun experiences for kids, our group took a field trip to the Strong National Museum of Play. Here, we engaged with exhibits teaching us about everything from being environmentally conscious to how to work together.
Our main takeaway: The key to making educational content for kids is to make sure they are having fun while using it. If they are just focused on playing, the information is much more likely to be retained because it’s enjoyable. It’s about those delightful moments.
Before we got into designing our print components, we set up some constraints that allowed us to design cohesively, but still gave wiggle room for self expression.
1. We would be printing on a 7" book, but all letters would take a full spread
2. The body font would be Roboto Slab 24px
3. Our interactions would be through a tablet that is used to control a separate, main projection
There are so many different ways of expression that lie outside of the perceived gender binary. The characters are all comprised of the same shapes to represent the unifying idea that we may look different, but we are all made of the same elements. The light blue is spread throughout, and is representative of features or accessories that may typically be associated with a gender binary. The prism and light shining into it is a direct correlation to the spectrum of identity.
For this solution, I wanted to communicate the idea that we all have a different perspective. One is not more right than the other - they’re just different, and that’s okay. The different glasses are representative of the “different lenses” that we all view the world through.
My focus for "V" was emphasizing that we may all come from different places, but we should strive to share our cultures and truly make everyone feel accepted. I wanted to showcase how different these two figures are, but still are welcoming toward each other.
Our final interaction solution was heavily inspired by our visit to the Strong Museum. We decided to create a museum experience that would be controlled by a tablet, and projected in front of the user. We felt this was immersive, playful, and would allow for the highest learning capacity.
As we saw previously, the prism and light shining into the illustration is a direct correlation to the spectrum of identity. In the interaction, I chose to emphasize this prism metaphor, and allow the full spectrum to be revealed when the prism has been filled with enough light. Users can press and hold the button to "load" it with light, eventually displaying the animation.
I further explored the metaphor of different lenses by giving the user something to “focus” on. When no lenses are selected, the square displayed is just a square. Depending on which pair the user is wearing, the square animates into something different.
Continuing with the idea of accepting through differences, I wanted to showcase a welcoming gesture. Through this interaction, the user can drag the slider to make the character reach higher toward the creature, and trigger the creature’s acceptance of their gift.
This project was an interesting challenge of communicating complex and serious topics in a way that was easily understood by young kids. I wanted to strongly abide by the idea that we learn best by playing (as depicted from the museum visit in my process) in an effort to both keep children engaged, and teach them something valuable that would stick. Considering the full picture of how interaction could be utilized to further enhance this understanding gave me a new perspective and appreciation on the integration of the various forms of creation.
If you want to see the rest of the pages created, click here.