An AR Experience for Black Lives Matter Awareness

A means to counter a fading awareness of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. I believe that until designers grapple with how they play a role in our global problems around racial and gender inclusion, we have not yet understood true empathy.
 

This project seeks to use the physical environment as a medium to elevate, scale, and remind us of the BLM movement. The experience’s size and presence are that of the US Vietnam war memorial, the imagery is vibrant and recognizes the creators.

Who

For the community

Duration

2 weeks from project inception through deployment

Team

A design team of one,

Statement in artwork by Dafina-Lazarus Stewart. Murals by others noted below.

Role

UX /UI Designer, 3D modeling and design, programming of native model vewing

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Problem

Awareness can wax and wane with the news cycle

I was sticking my head in the sand when it came to the reality of how others in my community experience life.

My own consciousness was void of reminders and awareness around the BLM movement. 

Protests occurring in the United States were fading in late 2020, and are not a persistent reminder of the movement.

Mapping of BLM demonstrations by Alex Smith

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Concept Storyboarding

How can we present the least aware populations with information to remind them of the BLM movement

How do I reach this audience? I created maps of their journey throughout the day to understand the context and possible mediums for the best opportunities for a reminder of the BLM movement.

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Mapping viewer touchpoints

Top contenders with the most potential in medium and visibility:

  1. Print media on the streetscape (eg guerilla art on a bus stop)

  2. Social media messaging

  3. Contextual art piece in a park

Of the three, exploring public art for the first step and prototype because of its global scalability and future versatility. I evolved a gallery style wall scaled mural with curved edges to create a feeling of enclosure, unity, and safety.

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Exploration of park art concept alternatives

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Launching the Prototype

I established 4 key tasks for my MVP: 3D model construction, hosting, creating a QR code, and conceptualized guerrilla placement in public. 

The works were selected for their proximity to events and San Francisco, vibrancy, and message of unity.

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Breonna Taylor Mural in Oakland by The People's Conservatory, artists as noted in the lower right of the image

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George Floyd Mural at the location where he was killed by Greta McLain, Xena Goldman and Cadex Herrera

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Excerpt by Dafina-Lazarus Stewart

The location for deployment leveraged Strava heat maps (a representative tool for those in the target user group) and overlaid them with public elevation data for public open space.

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Urban jogging heatmap to study potential viewership. Source: Strava

Paper posters and written links were too cumbersome in the brief user testing I undertook. With the rise in use of QR codes during Covid the opportunity was ripe to deploy the technology for use in linking the model; while creating a bit of suspense and delight in the process.

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Paving stencil deployment

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Reflection and Next Actions

With this project, I can bring murals and messages to more viewers across space and time. However, we must be careful that this is not another exclusion of those not able to view and benefit from it. (Because of their access to a device.) It is likely that extended reality tech increases the gap between how people experience space differently.

Next steps:

  • Study additional locations for deployment

  • Explore functionality to orient the model to a real object in space

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Future site studies in Golden Gate Park

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Future opportunity to orient the model to real world objects

The uses of this approach are immense, eg:

  • Retail experiences that allow you to view a product at scale in your context before buying.

  • Spatial wayfinding by providing directional or informational overlays.

Metrics goals:

  • Measure the number of downloads as a proxy for views to study the impact.

  • Create viewership equal to one BLM demonstration event in downtown San Francisco.

Over 10,000 Views

Goal of viewership to match January 1, 2022 BLM protest in the Mission - SF

Within a 10 Min Walk

Goal of model reminders in physical space for 90% of San Franciscans

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Take Action

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