Social Change | Design Research | Visual Design | Interface Design
Dear Pittsburgh is a grassroots campaign for the Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh that works to gain support from community and school board members for the expansion of the school. The school prides itself on its different way of teaching students and believes that students who are lucky enough to learn at ECS should continue their studies in High School. My partner Robyn Lambert and I worked together to develop the campaign. Through a digital experience and a physical experience, the school provides community members with a variety of ways to support to school. The main goal of Dear Pittsburgh is to collect personal letters from parents, students and community members conveying the ultimate learning experience and how ECS provides students with the skills to become active and engaged citizens.
To supplement the website, we also created a letter writing kit that community members can use to write physical letters to their educational representatives. This kit includes a blank letter page, a template sheet, envelope, and a sheet to find your school representative and an explanation about the campaign and the ECS school model. These letters would be able to give a more personal touch to the letter writing campaign and could feel more genuine. The folder is formatted to align with the online visual style of Dear Pittsburgh so all school representatives will know when they receive a letter from a community member about ECS.
My partner and I built out the website from our visual choices and information on Invision App. This tool allows us to upload images and make hot spots to experience the website flow without building the entire site. View the website prototype above to experience the full site capabilities. The site consists of a few important screens. First the home screen, when you open the page, you are presented with an introduction to the project, the ultimate goals and the resources that Dear Pittsburgh provides. The visual style of the site is to be friendly, creative and highly social. We want users to both write their own letters to the city of Pittsburgh as well as view other letters from all community members. When users select the box to add a new letter and will be prompted to fill in their zip code which aligns to the proper city representative to write their letter to. We then used simple questions to prompt community members to fill out that create a full story of what they are looking for in the community and how they believe education could be different. It is then submitted and can either only be sent to the representative or shared publicly on the site for other community members to read.
Here are a few images of the printed Dear Pittsburgh folder and contents. This includes the folder exterior, the letter template, blank letters, a card to find your representative and an envelope to send your letter in. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for a community member or parent to send a helpful letter in support of ECS and emphasizing the cities education opportunities.
This was a partner project. So what did I do?
We were both very hands on during this entire project. First we divided up different research tasks. We read different articles and looked into different aspects of the Pittsburgh community and how ECS works to engage in the community. Once our research was developed, we came back together to try and see how all of this information is connected. We did this by diagramming and making detailed lists and stories from the information we gathered. For research, we divided specific work so that we could each share a variety of perspectives. We then always came back together to analyze what we had found. We repeated this style of work from start to finish.
I made a great amount of work on the visual style of the site. It was fun and creative to go back to paper and watercolor to make interesting and playful patterns. I worked on the original wireframes of the site to establish flow and information distribution and therefore once the final visual designs were finalized by my partner and I, I developed the Invision App site to create an experience that would replicate the site. Content was also just as important to this project. I wrote all of the content presented on the site and in the letter writing kit. I formatted half the pages of the Dear Pittsburgh letter writing folder, and my partner completed the other half.