03

Designing a new Kwanzaa mobile experience

CLIENT

Graduate-Level Coursework

My role(S)

UX & Visual Design

TIMELINE

3 Week Sprint

Year

Late-2020
Vitals

ABOUT THE PROJECT

STARTING WITH WHY

This project explores the celebration of Kwanzaa and why it has declined in popularity amongst African Americans since its inception in 1966.

According to University of Minnesota Professor, Keith Mayes, the popularity of Kwanzaa within the U.S. has “leveld off” as the black power movement there has declined. As of 2009, between 500 thousand and two million Americans celebrated Kwanzaa, or between one and five percent of African Americans.

Down significantly from its peak in the 1990s.

GOALS

1. Increase the number of Black Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa as either their primary or secondary December holiday

2. Shape the perception of Kwanzaa for a new generation (Millenials & Gen Z)

3. Design a new experience that could potentially increase donations

DISCOVERY and research

AN OVERVIEW OF my RESEARCH PROCESS

Research Toolkit

Figma / SurveyMonkey / FaceTime / Miro / Google Docs / Milanote

research milestones

Below is a linear timeline of how the research process developed. This case study will only cover the most important research artifacts.

RESEARCH milestones

User InterviewS

After collecting over 20+ responses on a survey sent out during open discovery I then found 4 additional users who agreed to do 45 minute interviews.

We conducted the interviews via Apple FaceTime as users expressed burnout from Zoom calls due to the pandemic.

The interview included questions such as:

1. What part of the winter holiday season is most important to you?

2. How did you first learn about Kwanzaa?

3. What comes to mind when you think of Kwanzaa?

4. How do you think your family would feel if you wanted to start to celebrate Kwanzaa?

user interview questions / affinity map / empathy map / user journey map

RESEARCH LEARNINGS

Users surprisingly expressed their distaste with the current state of Christmas and how the meaning has changed over the years.

This was helpful to know because Kwanzaa is about values. This gave me hope during the research process.

user persona
“it actually was an old cartoon sitcom called the proud family. they had an episode that was all about kwanzaa.”
-INTERVIEWEE ON WHEN THEY FIRST LEARNED ABOUT KWANZAA
Design

User InCRAFTING AN AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE FOR A NEW GENERATION

I took my learnings from the research process and tarted to iterate on concepts that would work for this potential user.

INSIGHTS THAT GUIDED DESIGN

1. They want to celebrate a holiday that’s less about gifts.

2. Feel confident when explaining Kwanzaa to family members

3. Want their experiences to look and feel good

MOOD BOARD

The mood board allowed the opportunity to start to get my brain thinking in a visual manner. It served as the visual core of what the experience should look and feel like.

CRAZY 8’S

The crazy 8’s exercise gave me the chance to try to think outside the box and make this experience a bit more submersive.

USER FLOW

Creating the user flow allowed me to visually see the experience in totality. This was crucial in reassuring that no portion of the experience was missing.

MOOD BOARD / CRAZY 8’S / user flow
Reflection

learnings and next steps

ux challenges

• Kwanzaa is not a Black Christmas
• Kwanzaa is not a substitue for Christmas
• Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday

These learnings were the challenges I faced while researching and designing this experience. I made mistakes early on during the discovery phase attemping to pit the two holidays against one another when in fact hey can be celebrated in conjuction with each other.

WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY

• Work alongside another UX Designer

• Interview more of the older demographic to better undertand their perceptions of KWanzaa and why they chose no tot pass it down to their children

• Establish relationship with a potential developer to better understand limitations of desktop/mobile web experiences

NEXT STEPS

• Prototyping

• Usability Testing

• Pitch for funding

HIGH FIDELITY WIREFRAMES