Monumental Change

Monumental change logo

Project Description: As participants of the hack’20 hack-a-thon, my team and I created an educational augmented reality application to highlight the hidden history of monuments. I was the only designer on my team and designed the branding, user experience, and interaction design elements. Our mobile app allows users to see all monuments and historical sites near them- when they are close to a particular site they can interact with it in Augmented Reality (AR), viewing BIPOC-sourced information on its history, local discussions, and opportunities to get involved in petitions or other forms of historical site activism. We chose AR because we felt it would prompt meaningful interaction with these sites, re-contextualizing online discussions and information as being physically part of the world around us.

My Role: Principal UX Designer

Duration: August 15th, 2020 – August 16th, 2020

Background

BIPOC lives matter. After witnessing the repeated injustices against black and brown people in our country, I felt motivated to act. I view design as an agent for change and wanted to create something that challenges existing institutional racism in a meaningful way. Recently, statues and monuments all around the country have been called into question, taken down, or bowled over for glorifying discriminatory ideals.

In August of 2020, the University of Washington Black Student Union put on a month long art- as- protest exhibition to call for the removal of our very own George Washington Statue as well as meeting the demands of the students.

Inspired by this movement, we asked:

How might we support ongoing discussion of who and what should be idolized in our country?

Watch the video pitch below!

Design

My goal for this experience was to create an informative and amplifying experience.

Informative: Oftentimes, people walk past monuments without understanding what the monument idolizes. The application should provide accurate information from diverse perspectives on historical monuments and statues.

Amplifying: The features of this application should be centered around amplifying BIPOC voices and discussion of monuments.

Mobile

App pathways

Onboarding

Acclimate user to using augmented reality and user sets up account.

Location

Information, Artwork, and Discussion illustrated through Augmented Reality.

Monument

Information, Artwork, and Discussion illustrated through Augmented Reality.

Saved

Allows users to save notes and discussions on monuments and refer to them later.

Features

Get Involved: This pathway offers users the ability to get involved in the conversation surrounding the monument and take action on the discussion. Users can sign petitions, view events and donate money to fundraisers and local organization.

Information: This pathway invites users to learn more about the monument they are in front of from BIPOC scholars and organizations. It was also important for us to allow for a way for users to contact the development team if the sources we were curating were incorrect, which you will see on the megaphone page. We hope to both facilitate the conversation, but also understand the importance of being a part of it ourselves.

Discussion: This pathway allows users to contribute to the conversation surrounding and challenging different monuments and statues.

Artwork: This pathway allows users to share and view artwork surrounding the central themes of the monument. Art is an important type of expression and can add value to a conversation discussion sometimes can’t. Often times institutions take down art on their statues, so this also allows art installations to be immortalized.

protest art surrounding the Robert E lee statue
Art surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia – Photograph by John Biggs

Acknowledgement

Thank you to the University of Washington DubHacks team for putting on a challenging hackathon, thank you to the hackathon sponsors for your support and mentorship, and thank you to my team for supporting this vision! I’ve always viewed design as a way to enact and inspire social change and I know this project is just a start to the long road of social justice movements ahead of us.

Resources + Petitions

In addition to prototyping and ideating this application, my team and I made a commitment to amplifying BIPOC voices throughout this project. In order to do so we did some research and used quotes and ideas inspired by these articles and petitions to fill our wireframes. We really enjoyed reading articles and citing perspectives from these pieces!

Example Monuments:  https://seattlespectator.com/2020/01/23/confederate-monuments-in-seattle-hidden-in-plain-sight/ 

Discussion Board Quotes:  http://www.dailyuw.com/arts_and_leisure/article_fbefd4c6-c5a8-11ea-830a-03395e0a2b2d.html

Background on Statue:  https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/08/14/44267722/uw-protesters-embark-on-month-long-art-installation-at-george-washington-statue

Petitions to Sign: As a person viewing my portfolio and this project, I encourage you to research and sign these petitions (and others!, these are just ones I have signed and are related to this project). Use your voice to challenge the existing discrimination and institutional racism in our country!

Down with Washington – Removal of Washington Statue at UW https://www.change.org/p/university-of-washington-seattle-seattle-slave-owner-statue-and-insignia-removal

Justice for Breonna Taylor https://www.standwithbre.com/#petition

Expanded education on Black History https://www.change.org/p/new-york-state-senate-assembly-pass-the-black-history-education-bill