The prompt for this question was to identify and create a tool for an individual with a “Consuming Passion.” We chose Meagan who is a senior animation major at Hampshire College. She is a creative, artistic individual who writes stories and draws comics. After interviewing with Meagan, we concluded that a representation of diverse identity/ culture was an essential requirement for any product we create for her.
Meagan Point of View statement
“Storytelling artist seeks a way to learn about other cultures to positively and accurately represent them.”
Gaining insight from the interview
Throughout the interview with Meagan, we found out why her consuming passion was consuming. Below are a list of quotes from Meagan that further explains her consuming passion and why.
“I really enjoy these stories that I make up in my head… I want other people to experience these stories and learn something from them as well, and… develop a more open, loving community where everyone can share in happy experiences”
“I want to make my stories as racially, sexually, romantically, religiously diverse as possible… I want there to be no boundary and no negative portrayal of any race, religion, sexuality… just anything… I want everyone to be positively portrayed in the media”
We also asked her to give examples of individuals and corporations who were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Individuals who portrayed diverse identities versus those who did not. The quote below explains her belief of these individuals and why she believes that.
“Disney is the worst… a lot of his original, old animations were extremely racist… He has the amount of popularity and worldly influence that I want to have, but he used it in the most wrong ways possible. He used it to spread hatred and bigotry instead of love.”
“I really look up to Rebecca Sugar right now. I want to do what Rebecca Sugar is doing with Steven Universe but on a bigger level… it has a multicultural cast.”
“Children are the future… our generation was influenced a lot by the cartoons we watched when we were kids… Like, we were exposed to Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Ed Edd and Eddy, and that shaped our generation in a lot of ways, and I feel like Steven Universe is doing that for a new generation by exposing them to positive portrayals of gender, race, and sexuality.”
Link to interview:
Gaining insight from Observing
Our user alternates between four tasks:
Sketching (in notebook)
Drawing (on tablet)
Notes (in a notes app)
Draft writing (in a document)
Observation Day: Meagan three methods of taking notes, drawing, and writingAfter the interview, we developed two different solutions for our user.
- A program for makers of comics/cartoons that combines drawing, word processing, notes, and sketches
- An app or website to connect creators from different cultures
- An app that combines both of these functions
Failures & revisions
- The comprehensive, professional-level drawing-and-word-processing-combined program proved to be too complicated to prototype at a higher level of resolution with the time and resources we had – and we realized it was unnecessary: This application would be for sharing rough drafts. We simplified the drawing feature to a few basic tools.
- So, people draw or write, then upload their work, and people read it and write comments in response. This isn’t a new idea: There are already websites where people can do this.
- But what if collaborators or sensitivity readers could also draw/write notes directly in the sketch area, in real time? It would allow a more natural conversation.
Failures & revisions, part 2
- For Prototype 1, we had a click on the flag for location, but the “click on flag” for location selection would require the user to scroll through hundreds of flags, so we replaced it with a spinning globe with clickable regions – more intuitive and engaging.
- The search function was vague – we needed to decide how people could filter potential collaborators/reviewers (by age? Language? etc)
- After roleplaying an interaction on the app, we realized people might want to keep in contact with each other. We were going to add options to link social media profiles to the app, but then scrapped this for several reasons: region specificity, legal issues, privacy, an unnecessary complication.
- Instead, added an internal “friend” list
User testing prototype #2: Navigating the filters
Failures & revisions, part 3
- Megan pointed out that there was an undo button but no redo button, so we added one
- Concern: It would be distracting to draw while someone else was also drawing in the same space. We added a “hide” option
- We had been working under the assumption that people would use the app with good intentions – but this is not always the case, so we added “block” and “report” functions.
The last prototype included all the changes that we revised in the previous prototype. In this prototype, we also included a feature where the user can choose to hide when an artist is working on a project as to avoid distractions.
To conclude, this project gave us the ability to prototype a tool for a user who wants to incorporate diverse identity and ensure cultural accuracy, not only in her work but the media in general. Through the design thinking process, we have prototyped a tool that may have a significant impact on the art world. After presenting this prototype in the class, we have learned that it may also be used to connect the artist with specialists in order to ensure information validity.