During my senior year in the Interactive Media Design program, I collaborated with team members on a group capstone to create an Interactive beneficial platform that helps support homelessness. Connect is a dynamic digital application display that will help assist homeless users in the Greater Seattle area with useful resources and information around them. The content on our platform will include access to food, shelters, clothing, and hygiene support. It provides immediate and accessible information on the most needed resources. Through our prototype, Connect will provide availability regarding resources through partnerships and communication from shelters. With our limited time, and resources, we are focusing on research that helps us understand our users so we can potentially create a prototype that we can eventually launch into a physical totem or interactive application. We hope to provide accessible methods of supplies to underrepresented individuals and families that have difficulties connecting with specific resources. There are different generations of homeless people who have different needs and wants. We hope that our project will universally help alleviate their issues.
My contribution to the team focused on crucial and intense research in relation to our targeted audience. Growing up In the Downtown Seattle area has exposed me to the reality of lack of resources for homeless people. Through intense research, it has been well known that homelessness is a sensitive and important issue that has developed overtime due to lack of affordable housing, low income/poverty, addiction/substance abuse, domestic violence, racial inequality, and lack of available health services. I collaborated on a team in which we carefully thought out and planned to design an interactive application that will allow opportunity for homeless people to access the support they need.
During my Introduction to Interactive Design course during the fall of 2018, I collaborated with team members to create an interactive Mario exhibit plan. We distilled the essence of Mario to three main qualities: art, technology, and community. These are the same qualities we wanted participants to explore and experience throughout the exhibit in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the game.
My contribution to the team focused on creating an appealing public-facing website. This website was not only informational: it offered an interactive interface that users could use before, during, and after their visit to enhance their learning and build community. The homepage recreated the artistic style and feel of Mario, allowing viewers to navigate through all the relevant information with ease. Each part of the website is simple to understand and easy to navigate. This created an engaging interaction between the website and our audience. Instead of feeling overwhelmed from all the information provided, users could gain a better understanding of the upcoming exhibit.
Canvas is an application used by students to stay updated on their college courses. Professors can post schedules, readings, quizzes, grades, announcements, and more. Canvas is particularly useful because of its accessibility: students can access it anywhere on any device, including phones.
However, there are many challenges to the way Canvas is designed. In my own personal experience studying at two different campuses, I came to realize the ways the application quickly felt clunky and unusable. I could not see all of my classes at once, and I constantly had to log in and out of my different accounts.
Applying design thinking to my own experience, I redesigned the application to make it more appealing to college students that attend multiple campuses. In particular, accounts could be linked with a single login so that all course content for any school could be accessed from one account. This simple redesign could positively impact many students. Many students attend multiple campuses; this is especially prevalent among lower-income students who are looking to balance transportation needs, job schedules, course waitlists, and other challenges. Creating small redesigns such as these ones could thus help remove one source of added stress and complication, improving students’ experiences.
Every piece tells a story.
An Illusion of Boona.
This design shows the beauty of East African culture. Boona is a gathering where people socialize and share coffee together. More than just coffee, Boona allows people to come together to relax and be stress-free. Here, I have created a half-realistic, half-cartoon drawing of Boona in session. Authentically brewed coffee is being poured into small cups while the smell of coffee fills the air. This design highlights the depth of the ceremony – it is multidimensional, encompassing serious, joyful, and trivial aspects all in one. Comics and cartoons are often discarded as a “lesser” art – for example, graphic novels rarely get the critical acclaim of other genres. At the same time, comics are often the sources of our superheroes. Boona has a similar complexity for me – East African culture and ceremonies are often either viewed as “lesser” or fetishized by Western audiences. Yet to me, Boona’s ability and potential to build community is a superpower. Choosing graphically to mix together the comic and the real mirrors the complexity of Boona.
A Cure to Cancer.
What if the cure to cancer is trapped in the mind of a child who can’t afford an education? Or of a child funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline? While many people ask these questions, educational inequality persists and the voices of marginalized individuals are still systematically silenced. This piece shows a child that has the seed of knowledge needed to cure cancer. The only problem is that her knowledge is enchained by systems surrounding her.
March 10th, 2019 was a tragic day for many in the East African community. 157 passengers died as an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed 6 minutes after takeoff. On this day, many families, including my own, felt a piece of ourselves - and a piece of Africa - missing. This design represents the tragedy of the crash and the shattering hearts it left in its wake. Yet, the ascending figures also portray rebirth and healing. Ernest Hemingway said, “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.” Tragedies such as these, at every level from the personal to the continental, have the potential to make us stronger – more resilient.