I’ll start off my talk with a bit of disclaimer. I am not a designer – not by education or profession.. Perhaps out of passion. I am a BA graduate - know the basic concepts of Psychology and I do a 9-5 job at a multi-national company. The title my friends say is complicated. And that I should spend time talking about what I mean. Participatory culture
Everyday on my way back home from work, there is this inescapable traffic light…
Long with the long lines of traffic and the usual honking, there is this one other thing that it has in common with most other traffic signals in India
Children. For those of you who are not from India or may not have the context, these children are not playing or reading under the street lights. They are either
None of which a kid should be doing. My co-travelers usually give these kids money. Perhaps they don’t think much of the fact that the next time they stop at the same signal, the kid is still there on the street and is still begging. So what are we doing here? We are helping these kids stay on the street. Out of our own good hearts we are providing them with a constant source of food and income. Why would they ever leave the street?
So may be we should ask ourselves – can we give them more than just money? Food, clothes.. Shelter perhaps… Books? Books is probably the last thing you think of giving to a street child …because they can’t read. But if you think about it, what they really need is some direction to help them get off the street. What they really need along with the food and money is knowledge.
No – no that kind of knowledge – but simple –everyday survival knowledge.
This is when we started to explore the idea of infographics for street children. #a little bla blah about infographics# We decided to start small. Listed down the most important things that they need to be aware of while they are on the street. We came up with Health, Roadsafety, basic maths as our initial themes. An iterative user-centered design process was followed in designing the infographics.
An iterative user-centered design process was followed in designing the infographics. As you can see, the Online Distribution part of the process is yet to be implemented.
A detailed look at the design process – here’s what we did. We started out with looking for existing research. While there has been little to no research around designs for street children, there has been some research done around designing user interfaces for illiterates and for young semi-illiterates.
We then went to a foster home in Hyderabad called Thara. The home took care of children who wanted to stay off the streets. The home has an open arms policy. Which meant that the kids were free to go back to the streets if they wanted and come back too. We spent time with the kids and understood their backgrounds. To understand how they understood pictures, we gave them a task. We told them a fictional 4 year street child who didn’t have any parents or care takers. We asked them to draw or write down instructions for the street child so that he can cross the road by himself. The drawings helped us understand their world and the level of detail they craved for in a picture.
Armed with these, we went ahead and designed prototypes around road safety, count and money and basic drawing skills. We went back to Thara- the foster home – to test our designs. We will show our learning in the following slides.
We found that the children especially the younger ones started to get confused because of the image perspective. A 4-year old kid assumed that the boy in the image was standing on top of a car while in the image he was next to the car. This was because the cognitive ability to understand image perspectives doesn’t completely set in at this age. Based on this we made changes to the image as follows Design by cognitive ability: Mental schemas, image perspective are all important things to be considered before designing. While one may be designing for the Pre-operational period of a child, it is important to keep in mind that some of the mental skills from the earlier stages may not have developed
Children are extremely imaginative. It is important to be cautious of this and to use it to one's advantage. We presented to the children the following images in a comic strip format as follows. The children started to weave some very colorful stories. In this process, they missed a few things that the images were trying to communicate. Based on this we moved the panels apart and disconnected them. Use the story-telling method effectively: Images are powerful communication mediums with children. Images don’t just communicate to them a set of instructions but communicate a story. For this reason, one could employ images as part of an effective story telling methodology .
Balance the use of text: Balancing the use of text is important. Text is to be used as a supporting element only. Be minimalistic in your design: Children tend to pay attention to details. Question every details of your picture and ask yourself if it needs to be there. Color Vs. Monochrome: Color is obviously preferred over monochrome.
OK, so we’ve done this research and come up with the basic principles and some infographics too. So how do we get these to the kids? Before that lets look at some stats I belong in this category of active internet users. And each of these users are bound to have asked themselves the ‘Can we give them more than money?’ question. The same question we asked at the beginning of this presentation and the question asked myself before starting out on this project. The most interesting point here is that these groups interact with each other almost every other day – at the traffic signals.
We decided to leverage this interaction point through Participatory Culture. participatory culture is a culture: With relatively low barriers to civic engagement Where members believe that their contributions matter So for this reason we also need to make sure that the infographics are designed for conveninet printing and distribution. They also need to come with instructions …..
Setting Expectations: It is important to set expectations upfront. The idea doesn't claim to solve the 400 year old social problem of street children. Rather, it is a way of bringing awareness to our children on the street on teaching them survival basics thus helping them take care of themselves. Giving them control: The amount of control and decision making that Participatory Culture offers to every member in the group is the most appealing element and is the biggest driver of participation and engagement. For example: ‘ We love data’: The online population is accustomed to believing in data. For this reason, making the process of prototype testing and their results transparent is critical. More than charity: Charity is only part of the solution. Explaining the limitations of charity and possibilities of other forms of support is pivotal. Teaching survival skills goes a long way when compared to money that can buy them lunch for a day.
Call out for collaboration form designers in the audience
With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices Where members believe that their contributions matter Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).
Leveraging The Power Of Participatory Culture For Awareness
Leveraging the Power of Participatory Culture for Awareness among Street Children Mydhili Bayyapunedi
Infographic : Information graphics or infographics are visual representations of information or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex information needs to be explained quickly and clearly
The Design Process <ul><li>While designing interfaces for illiterate users </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid text </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to subtle graphical cues </li></ul><ul><li>Use semi-abstracted graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Provide help where needed </li></ul><ul><li>- Medhi et.al. (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Youngsters find it easier to understand stories drawn by their peers </li></ul><ul><li>- Duveskog et.al.(2009) </li></ul>Review Existing Research
The Design Process Immersion with Target Audience
The Design Process Prototype the designs Test designs with street children Iterate
Lessons from children <ul><li>Misinterpretation </li></ul>Before After Design by cognitive ability Design Principle
Lessons from children <ul><li>Imagination can take over </li></ul>Before After Use the story-telling method effectively Design Principle
Lessons from children <ul><li>Text doesn't deter a child from picking up an infographic </li></ul><ul><li>…… in fact it makes them curious! </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge your details </li></ul><ul><li>because children pay attention to them </li></ul><ul><li>Color Vs. Monochrome </li></ul><ul><li>Color is the clear winner </li></ul>Balance the use of text Design Principle Be minimalistic in your design Design Principle
Making the connection <ul><li>18 million children on the streets </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly seen in metros </li></ul><ul><li>Fast growing population in India </li></ul><ul><li>36 million active users </li></ul><ul><li>All live in metros </li></ul><ul><li>Fastest growing population in India </li></ul>These groups ‘interact’ with each other almost everyday Street Children : NGOs = 18:1 Street children : Active Internet users = 1:2
Making the connection: Participatory Culture <ul><li>Enter Participatory culture… </li></ul><ul><li>Designed for.. </li></ul><ul><li>Convenient printing and distribution. </li></ul><ul><li>Come with Instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons license </li></ul><ul><li>Also, </li></ul><ul><li>Options to learn more about the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Space for feedback </li></ul>
Guidelines for Participatory Culture <ul><li>Setting Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>‘ We love data’ </li></ul><ul><li>More than charity </li></ul>
Future Work <ul><li>Continued Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guidelines on health for young mothers; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Healthy sex choices/Safe-sex options for adolescents; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cleanliness, Child sexual Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol abuse and Child rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Establishment of a platform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building a website where the infographics can be downloaded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A space for folks to share their experiences with the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place for designers to participate in collaborative design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using social media to spread the word about these infographics </li></ul></ul>
Thank You! We thank Thara, Secunderabad Pictures from: Flickr Google Ideas, suggestions, comments? [email_address]