Find Your Auburn 

Duration: ​Jan-May 2016
My Role: UX Design, Research & Visual Design
Skills: User Interviews, Need Identification, Interaction Flow, Product Conceptualization, Wireframing, Visual Design, Low & High-Level Prototyping
Teammate: ​​​Sally Xia

Summary

     
 Sweet Auburn historic district is the birthplace for African American’s Civil Rights Movements. It is coined “Sweet Auburn” due to its rich economic and community developments for the African Americans. Lying right in the center of downtown Atlanta, the neighborhood, however, is losing signs of its past prosperity and glamor as it is undergoing a period of change. Many historical buildings of great significance have suffered from poor maintenance and risked being torn down.
     
 
As the neighborhood is losing its flavor we were challenged to make media strategies that aim at reviving and raising awareness about the historical and wonderful place, which hopefully will preserve the flavor of it without letting it become some place forgotten.
   

Design Process

     
We followed the double diamond approach of design process which included diverging and converging with various design ideas and eventually delivering the project deliverable.
    
 

Initial Research

 Unlike other design projects, Sweet Auburn was a unique case where one has to be immersed in the community to understand it. Keeping that in mind, the following approach was taken:

  • Multiple site visits were made to understand to the Sweet Auburn district especially to Auburn Avenue to understand the area, it's history and the importance of prominent historic buildings in the area.
    This also gave us an opportunity to understand how someone new to the area perceives and creates an understanding of Auburn Avenue.

  • Following the site visits, around 10 interviews were conducted with current and former residents of  Sweet Auburn to understand the importance of Auburn Avenue in their lives and what memories they held regarding it. These interviews helped us in understanding how Auburn Avenue was in its prime and what made it so special. 

  • An in-depth literature review was undertaken to understand the rise of Auburn Avenue to its former glory and the reasons why it was lost and what factors contributed to it. 

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Opportunities

  • Through our research, we found out there exists a disconnection between the younger generation and the older generation who have ties to the neighborhood.
  • The contrast between what was there and what is there now strikes us that the neighborhood does not quite communicate and evolves, whereas it stayed the way it was and passively waiting for changes to happen.
  • With a lack of conversation happening and an urge for attention and moving forward, we recognize THAT is where our design opportunity comes. 

Brainstorming and Ideation

Based on our visit and the back and forth communication with our research participants, we started to brainstorm ideas about how we can solve the problems.  We didn’t want visitors to simply visit a place, but also gain insight on what it meant back in the day. Along with this, we wanted them to explore Sweet Auburn on their terms and interests since we observed that Sweet Auburn meant differently to different people.

Thus, we decided to create a set of posters that inform visitors about different themes of Sweet Auburn and help identify with them. Along with that, we decided to create a companion app to help them explore Sweet Auburn and know more about the history and significance of each place.

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Proposed Journey Map

During our brainstorming session we decided to create a journey for the user which involved him interacting with the physical medium in the form of posters initially when he arrives at Sweet Auburn. 
From there, we decided to use a companion app to provide information about navigation, places and experiences of fellow peers to provide an enriching experience for the user. 

Details of the journey are as below:

Posters

Wireframes & Information Architecture

Final Designs

Design Decisions