Everybody shapes education

UI&UX Design, Branding, Campaign, System

How do we define and communicate a mission statement to bring the citizens of Pittsburgh to take action?

The Environmental Charter School(ECS) approach me and my teammate, Dan Kim, with the problem of convincing the board of education to expand the current curriculum that only continues to middle school all the way to high school. My role was to design an informational website and collaborate with my partner to create an engaging visual system. This was a 3 months long project.

Understanding what the audience groups are and what their wants are to create convincing arguments.

I first started off my doing a general research on ECS. I gathered information on the current curriculum, why they need an expansion, and what they want to communicate to the citizens of Pittsburgh. They have already tried many methods to get the expansion request approved, but they were not successful. After reading through the information, I realized that it was because they didn’t communicate their mission statement and benefits clearly.

My partner Dan and I defined their mission statement into a more concise and understandable form. Then we defined our target audience groups into two groups to communicate the appropriate selling point for each:
Parents: ECS prepares students to solve real-world problems and helps them to think about their future careers and interests earlier than the generic education programs.
Non-parents: ECS students will be the next generation that leads our economy and how the program prepares the students to become healthy leaders.

Initiating 1:1 interaction through physical activities to connect with the audience and provide information.

In the research findings of previous ECS campaigns, face-to-face interaction brought the most result in successfully communicating to the audience. For this reason, we decided that a traveling booth with hands-on activities would show how ECS promotes creativity and engage the audience in a fun, memorable way.

We also brainstormed on how we can approach the broad range of audience. Dan and I thought that having a website would also be a good idea because it could easily be shared anywhere. The website would provide information about ECS and let people sign a petition to convince the Board of Education. We decided to have a tablet or a laptop at the booth to bring the audience to take action on the spot.

Introducing and bringing a large piece of information to life through engaging storytelling.

Every interesting article has a punch line. we wanted to communicate the idea that everybody takes a part in shaping the education and the future of Pittsburgh. We wanted this to be a pleasant storytelling rather than sitting through a boring information session. For this reason, we focused heavily on creating visuals that brought delightful surprises and anticipation. We decided that our visual language should communicate our idea through a friendly and approachable voice. We created graphics that remind people of education, youth, and growth.

Public locations to set up the traveling booths:
Each location appeals the positive aspect of ECS.
- Farmers market: promoting local business
- Library: approaching the educational side of ECS
-Point State Park: showing appreciation for the environment

Continuous flow for the website structure:
I felt the user workflow should be continuous in order for the story to feel more cohesive. I felt that the process of reading through this information should not be tedious but more like the experience of reading through a story book.

Clear and concise navigation system:
If the user doesn’t know his place, he/she might easily get tired of going through the story. I decided to make a navigation system on the left to make sure the users don’t feel overwhelmed or stuck. If they wish to skip certain sections, they would have the freedom to do so. The red line indicator not only serves as visual element but also a place indicator.

Petition sign link always available:
With our wireframes we got the feedback that access to the petition form should always be visible. The main purpose of the site is to get the users to sign the petition. While we would like them to read through the story to fully understand, the users who feel confident about the cause should be able to access the petition form without having to go through the story.

Message sharing feature:
We felt that showing the message that the users have left on the site would create a sense of community. By curating the messages, it would make the users to feel that they have contributed to their community and their voices are heard. This could also serve as another way to convince the new users to join the community and sign the petition.

Concise petition form:
We wanted the experience of filling out the petition form to be as concise as possible. If the process is long and tedious, users may feel hesitant unless they feel really strongly about the expansion.

From this project, I learned how to engage users into a large amount of information. I realized that the right amount of interaction brings a piece of information to life and tells an engaging story. I also learned how to convince users and bring to take action through not just storytelling but also through design. The organization of the workflow patterns, the placement of the CTAs, the amount of interaction and visuals all have to balance out in order for the users to have a pleasant experience.