For the Culture Coloring Book
A Black history and culture coloring book that's enhanced with augmented reality
Passion Project | 6 Weeks | UX/UI Design, Illustration and Augmented Reality
Why isn't anyone using technology to push activities that children already do?
Black children need a way to learn about their history without it feeling like homework.
Create a Black coloring book enhanced by augmented reality to push children and their parents to resources.
Black History Month is a Scam!!
What do you know about Black history? Public education focuses on 3 pillars of our history: slavery, civil rights and *maybe* Barack Obama and Kamala Harris. It teaches Black children that 90% of their history is about being oppressed. Why doesn't anyone teach about monumental forces like Angela Davis, the conception of HBCU's or even iconic inventors? It's astounding to me that schools can spend entire semesters talking about the finer details of the Civil War, but in an entire school year there's less than 28 days to discuss African American contributions to our nation.
As someone who has a big family, I'm always surrounded by cousins who are younger than me. While becoming a stay-at-home principal now that a lot of them are doing virtual learning, I started to consider how I could help Black children learn about their history. It wasn't lost on me that lecturing them or making them read would just feel like more school, which no one ever wants. So I brainstormed how to make learning fun!
I thought about how kids today are so well versed on technology. They're growing up with everything from Tiktok to Pokemon Go so they're no strangers to augmented reality. I also considered all of the creative options kids have, which were more in my 90's kid wheelhouse. To me, anything as simple as a comic book could be enhanced with augmented reality to create a more robust experience. I took my mind maps and connected the dots to come up with an augmented reality coloring book. To me, this was the best option to generate historic content while also integrating creativity and technology.
The For the Culture Coloring Book wouldn't be the world's first augmented reality coloring book, in fact Disney made one that made drawings come to life. Social justice apps exist already as well. However, this would be the first coloring book that taught about Black history and culture while also giving a unique experience on every page. This book would also be paired with an app with more information about the pages and resources to local and national experiences to learn more.
How it Works
The Coloring Book
For all intents and purposes, the coloring book is a regular coloring book. It will be a space where important Black figures, Black inventions and important pieces of Black culture will be showcased: everything from Madam CJ Walker to braid culture. Each child will have the ability to use their imagination within the lines of the page to create their own narrative and see themselves in each story.
The AR Experience
The children will be prompted to download the For the Culture app when they get the coloring book (with parents permission of course). When they've finished coloring, they'll be able to open the camera inside the app to see the augmented reality portion of the experience. Whatever is on the page will come to life with floating bubbles of facts. At the bottom of the screen the users will have the option to go further inside the app and learn more.
The app will have a multitude of features! Not only will users be able to view the augmented reality experience within the app, but they'll have a wealth of information as well. Each coloring book page will lead to its own page in the app where you can learn more about that specific subject. For example, the "More on Beyoncé"page will list her influences, most iconic performances and impact on the world. This way, that page can lead to more pages on people and culture. Beyoncé's page could eventually lead to Diana Ross and Braid Culture.
Maybe the most important part of the app is the resources! It allows children and their parents to find videos, museums, books and other learning assets. Not everyone can live so close to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but the app can give many other types of resources to allow families to get in tune with their culture.
Insights and Testing
This app has actually gone through a good amount of iterations – mostly design related! After researching UI that does media/content well and showing early screens to a few of my coworkers at Viget, I finally landed on screens that I think are great. When I got to a good point with the UI I showed a few groups of parents and children to get feedback on the feasibility of this concept and I was overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback I received! It really inspired me to keep going with this project.
More to Come...
My work here isn't finished, I just wanted to share my UI for now. Currently I'm working on developing a proof of concept for the augmented reality experience. Hopefully soon I'll have some examples and I can start working on actually producing this coloring book and app!