We conducted a quick interview with three high school students to thoroughly understand their perspectives. We asked an array of questions that delved into their daily learning scheme in school, how they typically learn social justice issues and what challenges they face during the process, etc.
Lack of exposure to social justice issues
Students admitted that social justice issues are not highlighted enough in middle and high school curriculums.
Uncurated and unreliable learning resources
The abundance of the resources online can make it challenging to find and sort reliable information about social justice issues.
Tight school schedule
School responsibilities are time-consuming and it is tricky for students to allocate time for other activities, including for learning about social justice issues.
Play with friends
Students typically find that activities where they can engage with their friends are more enjoyable.
Determining user goals
We extracted the insights from the user persona we created to determine the user goals that they want to achieve from Gen NOW. We also broke down the learning process into two parts: learning and demonstrating. We defined the goal for each process to create a more specific solution to the initial problem.
Enjoyable and streamlined learning process
To evoke their self-motivation to learn. The materials delivered need to be concise to suit their tight school schedule.
Sense of empowerment when demonstrating their knowledge
Students fear exams because making mistakes and scoring low in exams invite negative judgements from the people around them. It is important to make the users feel heard and empowered instead of judged when they make mistakes.
The on-demand system allows students to learn anytime they want, offering flexibility to learn about social justice commitment-free.
We then followed the process with ideating about specific features that directly answer these goals. We decided to utilize gamification with visual novels and interactive quizzes as the main approach in our solution.
Visual novel delivers learning materials with visual appeals, making the learning process feels like an entertaining activity instead of a task.
The quiz that we place right after the learning materials allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge without the fear of getting things wrong.
Gamification allows us to fit in components such as points and leaderboard system to positively motivate students to learn.
Outlining use cases
Since we were planning to use visual novel in our approach which is illustration-heavy for the Story part of Gen NOW, we strived for a simpler interface design concept to balance the overall visual appeal.
After further explorations, we decided to choose a classroom concept for Gen NOW. All of us had shown interests and agreed to experiment with dark theme, one of the latest trends for interface design. We then proceeded to create our moodboard inspired by classroom concept and dark theme that helped us determining the feeling we wanted to achieve Gen NOW's design concept.
Home page features story from recent social justice issues to keep the users updated with the latest news.
"Continue where you left off"
List of incompleted stories with a progress bar to inform the users how much time they need to complete the story anytime per their demand.
Topic -> Subtopic
Scalable categorization to help simplify the information offered to the users. Breadcrumbs added to help users navigate their path from one topic to another.
Choose a story
Users can explore a variation of stories that we have categorized into the subtopic they have chosen previously.
Technical words and terms are introduced to the users within the story to make the users' experience with Gen NOW even smoother.
Learning materials about social justice issues is served with a visual novel with compelling graphics to fit our target audience and keep them engaged.
Interactive quiz and point system
Leaderboard to evoke a sense of competition and to support social interaction
Leaderboard (Friends page)
Mini interactive quiz to test their knowledge about the story they read. Point system is added to incentivize the users to learn through Gen NOW.
The four of us started as strangers but it's not an exaggeration to say that I couldn't have asked for a better teammates. Working with a team of four designers with creative minds and untamed imagination, the decision-making process was definitely challenging, yet remarkable. We maintained communication, understanding, and teamwork ethics through out the 36 hours time crunch and those key values brought us to our victory.
We were awarded as the winner of the Most Impactful Solution category and the honorable mentions in Best UI and Most User-centric Design categories with the highest overall score among all teams competing!
Bonus: our ✨creative process✨