Master’s Project: Storycar

Project Status: Complete

After completing my final project in my Visual Culture and Design class, I completely changed my master’s project to continue the work of that project. This is not the final version at all, but I thought I’d post this working version of the website. It explains the idea and has links to all the documentation I’ve done thus far.

Streetcar Atlanta takes its riders from place to place everyday through the historic downtown Atlanta. Yet, the historical and cultural significance of those places remain unknown to many of its passengers. The streetcar holds a captive audience in its riders and can be viewed as the perfect venue for building awareness, informal education, and entertainment. Can we think of streetcar as a medium that takes riders from story to story?

The Sweet Auburn District in downtown Atlanta is the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement and home to many historic, landmark locations. In this project, we aim to bring to light the stories of women who were arguably the backbone of the Civil Rights movement yet remain largely unknown to the public. Thus, the Storycar project aims to connect the past with the present in order to engage the Atlanta community with its historical roots.

View project website

View final design document

Early Stages

In Nassim JafariNaimi‘s Visual Culture and Design course, our class studied the history and culture of the Sweet Auburn District in Atlanta. We visited the neighborhood multiple times and had the opportunity to discuss and study urbanization with experts in various areas, including history and culture professors, a representative from the National Parks service as well as journalists and writers. Through gathering this variety of perspectives, my group found ourselves inspired with many potential ideas for the course‘s final project. Ultimately, we chose to focus on Streetcar Atlanta and the affordances of public transportation as a storytelling platform.

After riding and experiencing the streetcar for ourselves, we saw an opportunity in the time spent waiting at a streetcar stop. We decided to design a series of informational posters that would inform streetcar riders about the local attractions within walking distance.These posters would go on display at each individual stop along the streetcar route, telling passersby and streetcar riders about the nearby attractions.

Service Design Methodologies

In order to understand the problem space more fully, I decided to apply service design tools to the project. This not only helped me think about it in a different way, it also afforded me a means to represent this project to others.

Journey Mapping

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Abstracting the general riders of the streetcar, I came up with three main demographics. This is a generalization, of course, but it helps focus the concept.

Commuter: The commuter is someone who regularly rides the streetcar to get to work or school. They know that it is not necessarily a fast way to get to their destination, but they like it for the convenience and being able to do other things while riding the streetcar.

Local-Tourist: The local-tourist is someone who lives in Atlanta, but decides to explore a di erent part of the city or just wants to take a trip downtown. They might use the streetcar rather than walk around the area for as simple as the fact that the streetcar is clean and has refreshing air conditioning. Or perhaps as a reprieve from a long day of walking.

Tourist: Tourists come to Atlanta for a variety of reasons, whether for a convention, a conference, business, family, or another reason. Tourists ock to the World of Coca- Cola or the Georgia Aquarium. Many decide to take the streetcar rather than try to

navigate an unfamiliar city.

Stakeholder Map

Above all, the rider is the primary stakeholder. However, there are a lot of other people involved in the process of keeping the streetcar running.

The streetcar rider might interact with security, maintenance workers, City of Atlanta Ambassadors, the conductor of the streetcar, or the person checking tickets. The rider might interact with one or two of these, none of them, or several.

The tertiary stakeholders are those who probably will never interact directly with the riders, but relate directly to the streetcar. The government offices keep the streetcar running while the connection points are impacted by ridership

Service Blueprint

To summarize the above steps, I created a service blueprint to give the holistic vision of the streetcar experience. The blueprint incorporates the touchpoints and all the actions of the streetcar riders.

Iterating, Iterating, Iterating

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At the beginning of the semester, my advisor sat me down and told me that I was getting too bogged down in the details. I couldn‘t think at a high level anymore because I
was so immersed in the designs to be able to think about functionality. To separate myself from the content itself. Thus, I took her advice and sketched my ideas on paper,

using sophisticated technologies such as scribbling and imagined different ways I could display my content.

Next, I moved on to wireframes on my computer, where I could easily group the ideas by patterns and relations and also copy and paste to make subtle variants.

A few days later, after giving myself some distance and time, I created a versions of my

wireframes with placeholder images (cats pictures, of course), filler text, and box to represent the location data.

I gave myself a few more days and then chose the ones that I felt would be most effective.