CultureEd by Nina Chu and Shutong (Kiwi) Liu
Inspired by the increasing racially charged hate crimes in New York City, we realized that New York, one of the world’s most diverse cities in the world, is not as inclusive as it should be.
We have also noticed that within our own friend group, we tend to stick to our own familiar communities and rarely branch out to connect with people from different backgrounds. When we want to branch out, we don’t know where to start or how to approach others without feeling disoriented. Therefore, we are inspired to create CultureEd to help individuals and communities of various cultures bridge gaps with one another.
Problem Statement 👀💻
New York City is the center of a variety of cultures, yet many people are not that well versed in other cultures. How can we educate urban young adults about various foods, traditions, and histories to in turn increase inclusion and appreciation of all cultures?
What it does 😄📱
CultureEd is an app that allows you to learn more about various cultures through interactive video lessons. After completing each lesson, you will receive rewards that correlate to the lesson you just completed. Rewards include coupons to restaurants, free admission to cultural celebrations, events, museums, and more. You can also explore events happening around New York City and the underground markets to support small BIPOC local businesses.
CultureEd is able to give users rewards by partnering with various BIPOC businesses. This both gives users incentive to learn and support local businesses by giving them more exposure. More cultures can be added as more companies decide to partner with the CultureEd.
With the combination of interactive video lessons and rewards, you are able to both learn, get involved, and experience firsthand other cultures which will bring more cultural appreciation to the city. As a result, this will make NYC an even more welcoming, empowering, and inclusive place than it already is.
How we built it 👷🏻♀️🛠
We used Figma to create the user personas, user flow, branding guidelines, high fidelity wireframes, and prototyping.
Challenges we ran into 😨😤
We had long debates before starting the wireframing trying to determine point-of-attraction for users and pinpoint the most intuitive method to prompt them from engaging with different cultures. After making quick mockups for all possible approaches, we chose to allow users to boundlessly explore all the events before selecting one specific culture to explore. We finalized this approach because this is one of the most inclusive experience flows and we want to encourage users to develop an organic interest in different cultures through event/restaurant hunting, and in turn achieve better learning experiences when engaging with CultureEd’s courses.
We also struggled with whether or not to include a user-registration system since it added extra steps for the users and might result in discouraging participation. We decided to let the user be able to try out the app first instead of immediately forcing them to sign up in the beginning. The sign-up process comes after the user completes a lesson so they can save their reward with their account.
Accomplishments that we're proud of 🏆💕
We’re proud of creating a fully functioning prototype (with no coding) along with user personas, user experience flow, and branding guidelines all in one weekend. It's also our first hackathon! It has been such a great experience.
What we learned 🤓👍🏼
We learned how to collaborate as two UI/UX designers to develop concrete design concepts, create user experience flows and prototype a fully functioning app.
What's next for CultureEd 🤔✅
For the future, it would be nice to dig deeper, and with more time we could do more in-depth user research to improve our app. We would also like to expand this app and create a desktop version as well.