I’ve just finished my final piece in visual storytelling, using Figma as a tool less for prototyping an app and more for developing an interactive argument. The idea, however, is that this COULD become an app, used by admissions officers and high school guidance counsellors for the humanities-curious.
The context or problem for the piece is something well-known to those in higher education, especially in the humanities. Enrollment in humanities disciplines is declining precipitously, despite our needs as a citizenry and a democracy, and despite the documented fact that employers desire the skills they teach.
Further complicating matters, actual data doesn’t seem to convince anyone. Myths about your prospects with a humanities degree are persistent and pervasive. College admissions officers and high school guidance counsellors are overworked and underpaid, and it’s simpler just to sell STEM.
I developed three personas for the interactive narrative, including a prospective student, his parents, and a college admissions officer:
Primary: John, high school student, 18 years old, not sure what he wants to do but is leaning toward a tech or STEM degree (there are even fewer men in humanities programs, excluding politics). Likes to read, not really “heady” stuff, but popular fiction and graphic novels, enjoys films, likes his English and History classes but worries they won’t pay the bills or that his parents won’t be into it. Straight. Middle class. Writes emo poetry in private.
Secondary: Gretchen, 35. College admissions officer. Under pressure to get students into Midwestern University (quotas!). Overworked, wants to get it done and not be fired. Frustrated by how hard it is to speak to individual prospectives–she’s encouraged to see them en masse, and to be fair, it’s easier to speak to the many rather than the few. Enjoys wine. Lots of wine.
Tertiary: Lisa and Greg, John’s parents, 50-ish years old. Mother was an English major, but now works in business administration. She was solidly middle/upper-middle class. Father got an Associate’s Degree in Physical Sciences and is now in computer sales. He was lower-middle class/working class. They are middle class now, and have another child in high school, worried about cost and future for their children. They vote in every election and are worried about the political “tone.” Support BLM, but aren’t activists.
I wanted to design an interactive app because it encourages interactivity, and interactivity has been shown to increase investment. I also wanted to make the project portable, for easy display or dissemination by our friend Gretchen and others like her. Finally, I wanted to model something of the kind of interactive argument made for new writing modes that are increasingly important today.
I opted for a gender-neutral design that is simple, bright, a little retro, and suggestive of the world of technology and video games. There is an extensive SOURCES section at the very end, as well as a CREDITS list where you can see all the extra visual bits I drew on, including icons from the Noun Project and some really fantastic GIFS.
Do you know how to transform this into a webpage easily, preferably directly from figma? If so, hit me up!
You can download and tweak to your heart’s content on figma community.