Our project is a design consulting project in partnership with Artists for Humanity (AFH), a Boston-based, non-profit that provides under-resourced teens the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design.
As Lead Researcher, I organize testing, create guides and best practices for user interviews, user testing and all stages of content creation. I also lead all communication with client related to research. As a designer, I contribute in a supporting role to all stages of the design process and provide feedback and critique on designs.
AFH pain points revolve around getting audience to understand the level of professionalism (these aren’t “students”, they are paid teen artists) and in a COVID-19 world, getting people to connect with AFH without being in the physical space.
How might we create a personalized, virtual experience for visitors to understand what AFH does and how they can get involved?
We conducted numerous interviews with AFH staff and teen artists, ran workshops with their team to understand their challenges, observed meetings and teens at work, and interviewed community members who interact with AFH. Through our conversations we found that a potential solution to build was creating digital opportunities for AFH to build connections with the broader community. This is especially important to them in a time when the majority of their high-impact outreach methods including events, tours, and open houses have not been possible due to Covid-19.
After some initial observations and conversations with our main points of contact on the AFH team, we set out to learn more about what they really do and the challenges they face, by interviewing other key staff at the organization.
Dion, Graphic Design Studio
I wish the Boston community could see how cool and close knit the team at AFH is. Everyone is so welcoming. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what type of art you make. We all just come in with an open mind to share and learn together.
Ariana, Video Studio
I love working in fashion and I just want to continue working on new exciting projects to this one and expanding my experiences. I never realized how much AFH does, the mentors create lots of work as well. I wish more people had this opportunity and were aware of all the amazing things going on.
Lena, Painting Studio
There’s honestly nothing I want people to know about me when they look at my work. And by nothing I mean I want my art to speak for itself and also give people the openness of what they need to get out of the piece. I want people to just say ‘I look at this piece of artwork by this person and it makes me feel this way”, not ‘Oh, she made this to make a statement on X, so I need to take this specific message away from it’.
Based on the top ideas from our brainstorming activities we each individually completed additional research and a “Crazy 8s” activity for each of the ideas. To do so, we each completed 8 rapid sketches for each topic area in order to get a breadth of ideas for our implementation direction. After reviewing our top ideas and sharing all of our sketches with eachother, we narrowed our focus to 3 front-runners: 3-D Parallax Gallery Experience, Virtual “Physical” Tour Experience, Digital Portfolio for AFH’s work.
Check back soon...
After initial user interviews and discussions with the AFH team we decided to move forwars and build the Vitual "Physical" Tour Experience. Our team is currently working on our prototype. I am excited to share updates here soon!
This project was made in collaboration with Catu Berretta, Gino Jacob and Raquel Levy.