(a brief) design brief

The project so far has simply been referred to as “The Interactive Walkthrough” because we haven’t really come up with a title. Since the project if the first of its kind for our organization, we haven’t really needed to call it anything else. We’ll probably come up with a better title as we work more!

The project we are working on is meant to achieve the goal of presenting information to trans students and their families in a wholistic yet easy to follow manner. We decided a great way to do this is to create a choose-your-own-adventure style guide that gives information as users/players choose their paths in the interactive walkthrough. This project will be a lot more engaging than walls of text, and is a way to have all the necessary information in one easy to reach place.

Design brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Pax6V618WbVHR-4-zaBH75Z2ZLv9PxSLlOrWgSWVreQ/edit?usp=sharing

Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1l2DVwKvdRrkegA2z0zZIH2aNmBTV2m28AnsfZMiyeE8/edit?usp=sharing

 

ecosystem map

positionality

The organization I’m working with is the Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition (MTPC). This is my positionality regarding our working relationship.

  • I’m a college student, so more likely to be listened to than a child, but less likely to be listened to than a professional. However, I’ll be likely to be regarded as someone who will know how to reach people and be tech-savvy.
  • I am a White Mexican, so I’m already at an advantage of credibility over someone who maybe doesn’t read as White. (unfortunately so, but how working in the United States just happens to work.)
  • I have post-secondary education. I am in college, so that gives me more credibility in the eyes of Adults over someone who never went to college or finished high school.
  • My biological sex is female. Old White Dudes are prone to be patronizing because of this.
  • Sexual orientation is WEIRD, man. I feel like it’s hard to really talk about without addressing my own gender identity, which is also weird and in flux.
  • I have dual citizenship with Mexico. That has to be an advantage somehow.
  • I was raised as Catholic but am no longer practicing. This might help me appeal to religious people, since I’m familiar with Christianity and can draw from that.
  • I don’t come from a background of poverty, so I have more access to resources.
  • English is one of my first languages, so that is an advantage for me.
  • Gender identity is still something I’m figuring out, as I said before. BUT, I am working with MTPC, who is focused on the politics surrounding gender identity, so maybe I’ll figure myself out more when I work with them. They’re like the perfect people to work with.

What I hope to gain from working with MTPC:

  •  I hope to gain experience working with an organization who values a cause that is important to me.
  • I hope to gain design experience, and help people while doing so.
  • I am particularly interested in helping people like me, who are still Figuring Things Out.
  • I ALSO just hope to be a Force For GoodTM
the Power Flower!

the Power Flower!

network principles

Last spring, I was part of a research group that went to a local high school and taught the students computer science principles through digital games. We had created a platform with which they could make their own maze-type levels, and the way the players would get through the levels was by implementing simple code. We also had different versions of the platform that allowed the students to create their own avatars, some of which looked like them and others which did not.

While we taught the students these CS principles and aspects of level design, we also picked their brains regarding how playing avatars based on themselves affected their performance in-game. A lot of them liked to be able to see themselves in their games, especially since they’d never really had the chance to play characters that represented them before.

After we finished interviewing the students, we started designing a curriculum for computer science teachers based on the project we had done. The curriculum is meant to get students interested and engaged in computer science, while also addressing themes of identity representation. We designed the curriculum so we could share the tools we had created with students and teachers all over. We also regarded the students’ responses with importance, so that when designing the curriculum we would be sure to include what they responded well to and downplay what they didn’t.

Even though our subjects were “just” high school students, we recognized that being high school students makes them experts on what students would respond well to and what they would like to learn. These kids had a lot of interesting things to say about playing games where they saw themselves represented, and how that made them eager to do well in-game and learn more about computer science. A lot of them said they’d like to continue finding out more about CS as well as identity representation, and that was pretty cool to hear. :)

storyboards

Since I am a person who likes animation, I sometimes like to plan things out using storyboards. Storyboards to me are a great way to think about situations or plan things out. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end, so things are easily compartmentalized. With a storyboard, it’s easy to think of a chain of events from point A to point B.

Even if things in life are rarely easily planned, or events happen concurrently, I’ve always found a storyboard a great way to visualize things. That’s why when planning out a project, storyboards can be helpful. Present the topic at hand, goal, or question as the first panel. Then draw the following panels as steps you want to take before you get to the final panel, which would be the end or result. You can keep adding new panels, or have panels branch off from each other, but the storyboard will stay an easy-to-follow sequence of events.

You can even leave panels blank. There’s some times when you don’t really know how you’ll get from point A to point B. Maybe you’ll come up with that later, but maybe things will just play out in ways you didn’t plan. Or, maybe panels you had drawn out end up not happening at all, or end up turning out way different than you thought they would. Maybe your goal even changed or you ended up achieving it in a way you hadn’t imagined. And that’s ok too.

However you go about planning for the future, it’s important to know that life does keep moving forward. Sure, time is relative, but today’s society still likes to think of it as linear. No matter what you do, the world will keep moving around you. Point B will be reached. It’s just up to you to figure out how to get there.

Edit: oops, realized I forgot to include a pictureIMG_7390