EPIC: EducationAl & INFORMATIONAL MEDIA DESIGN Guide
How can media move people beyond reaction to action?
At KCAD, we attempt to answer this question through the ongoing EPIC Project. We have collaborated with experts in universal design, neurodiversity, education, entertainment media, and minorities in media to explore, develop and test digital and physical products that will drive audiences and users of educational and informational media to action. That action can include things like maximizing information retention, increasing empathy towards disenfranchised populations, taking steps to seek improve one's mental health and improving attentiveness through joyful learning. We share the knowledge we gain and tools we create in places like the KCAD Digital Learning Center and the Adobe Education Exchange. We make our media available for free at places like the iTunes Store, Google Play store, Chrome Web Store, YouTube and our website: EPICSITE.org
EPIC projects are research and innovation driven.
- We will create collaborative teams of experts and end-users and engage in "understanding" interviews and exercise at the beginning of the project.
- We will periodically obtain reviews form the team throughout the design process.
- We will user test and record feedback from the end user
- We will create reports that share the knowledge gained.
The KCAD Digital Art & Design program is committed to creating media that is accessible to persons with disabilities. All public-facing projects will adhere to these D.A.D. Accessible Design guidelines.
Our design processes will apply Universal Design best practices, which include the application of accessible design methods beyond the minimum legal requirements with the aim to provide maximum value for everyone.
Our targeted audiences and users will range in age, gender, race, ethnicity, and neurodiversity. We will obtain ongoing advice and feedback from representative members of these groups during the design process. It is important for us to avoid negative stereotypes and implicit bias. Examples of implicit bias can include unconscious stereotyping based on gender, race, fashion choices, body types, etc. The key difference between implicit bias and racism, sexism, etc. is that it is not a conscious choice. Rather it is subtly and constantly shaped by one's upbringing and socio-cultural environment.
SOCIOLOGICALLY DRIVEN CONTENT STRATEGY
Content that speaks to three of the primary driver of the human experience. These may be addressed at different points within the media and may shift in emphasis and intensity as the audience/user experience progresses.
- Our tribal nature (the sense of belonging to a group is among the strongest drivers of human action)
- Our lizard (fight or flight) brains: this is the emotional aspect. Consider the 6 basic primal emotions we all share: joy, fear, disgust, surprise, sadness, anger. Here is a more extensive and nuanced list.
- Value proposition... why the audience/user should care. This is the appeal to logic. And, it is also the appeal to to our inclination to allow built expectations to profoundly influence our perceptions.
ENTERTAINMENT-BASED DELIVERY STRATEGY
There are no greater masters of engagement than the entertainment industry. Applying these common strategies will ensure attentiveness and retention.
- Use production methods and genres, such as animation, live-action video and games, that can compete with entertainment media in popular culture.
- Include a brief, early introduction to the material that sets the overall emotional tone.
- Create content narratives written from or to the point of view of the target audience.
- A specific and emotional call to action that explains exactly what we want the audience/user to do now that they have this new knowledge.
- Games should integrate the informational/educational content into the gameplay and avoid simply using the gameplay as a reward system.
- Linear time-based works such as animation, books and video, should consider a four part story that includes:
- Life in Balance: the world in it's normal state
- Set up: the problem is presented, usually in the form of conflict. The conflict can be with the environment, external natural forces, the self or other persons.
- Body: the problem for the protagonist is exacerbated by internal or external forces (can have one, several or many parts).
- Resolution: the problem solved, balance restored ... or not. The resolution should require one of the main protagonists or antagonists to make a moral decision in order to move the plot to it's end point.
Do not use licensed characters or environments
Do not use images or audio from the internet unless you purchase them or receive expressed written consent or they are provided free for use through a creative commons license.
Do not use images or audio recordings of video of people with out their knowledge and consent. Here is our model release form.
Use the appropriate process for the media you are creating:
Guide created by KCAD professor Bill Fischer