As part of my Design Thinking and Youth course, I was to design a system that would be beneficial to children. There were many topics I considered, but ultimately, I decided to design a system aimed at educating children about digital art.
Digital art is an emerging and popular form of art, but for various reasons,
is still not commonplace in art education curriculums.
As a result, not every child will have the opportunity to create digital art.
This is an issue not only because we are living in an increasingly digital world,
but there are many disadvantaged youths who would enjoy or benefit from creating art digitally.
Using technology to create art is not simply another creative outlet for children. For some children, it may be the only form of art that they can create. Many children with disabilities find it more rewarding to create art digitally rather than traditionally.
Digital art is undoubtedly an important lesson to incorporate into art education, and should be easily accessible to all children, regardless of socio-economic status. Therefore, I wanted to answer the following question: How might we design an interface to educate children about the different forms of digital art in order to foster a general interest in digital art?
Children who use this system should:
For the ideation process, I interviewed three children who attend a local public school. They have a very limited exposure to technology, with none of the children individually owning cell phones or any other pieces of technology, and their entire family of 8 sharing one computer.
I decided that a combination of interactive interviews and card-sorting would be the best way for me to collect the data I wanted. I structured the activities into three parts in order to answer three questions:
I chose to approach the design process using a mixing ideas
technique. While the ideal users would be children younger than
high-schooled age, I know that not many kids this age have much
experience using apps, let alone the comfort to design them.
By using the mixing ideas technique, I thought that the children
would benefit from seeing each others' ideas and
filling in any knowledge gaps that the other might have.
I interviewed two children, a 6th grader and an 8th grader. Due to the current situation with COVID-19, I had to conduct the interview via Zoom. Therefore, the children were in their own home while I was in mine.
I gave them the following prompt:
This project taught me a lot, not only about how to design and work
with youth, but also how to keep in mind about the context in which
the system will be used. No application exists in a vacuum, and design
ideas must be centered around the context in which the system will be used.
I learned how to critique my designs, and how to make sure I fully
understand all of the advantages and disadvantages.
I also learned the importance of being flexible in the face of unexpected situations. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the scope of my project had to be narrowed, and that many of the design activities I had planned to be in person were switched to being conducted online. While this situation certainly was nothing I could have predicted, I still had to learn to adapt and change my project to still be meaningful and relevant.