Homeless Youth Infographic - Seattle
Develop infographic dashboards, posters and motion graphic video concerning the issues surrounding homelessness.
Team: Me, Michelle Lee, Jake Gombis, and Kelilah King
Audience: Volunteers of Youth Homeless Shelters
Direction: With my team of four people, we decided to focus our main topic on homeless youth within Seattle in which we wanted to find information regarding demographics, social disparities and economic research as to why these youth are in the position they are in currently. I was tasked with conducting the research surrounding homeless youth resources both provided and needed.
Research & Design: Me
Motion Design, Branding
Duration: 1 Month
Interview Session: We conducted interviews with many homeless shelter workers. One of the people we interview was a man named Craig Gibson, a volunteer specialist from YouthCare which is a homeless youth organization based in Seattle. We discussed the issues and stigmas that revolve around the understanding of homeless youth and structured questions that would further grasp the situation of these young people.
Questions we asked:
How long have you volunteered for?
“Working with LGBTQ+ youth … I became a volunteer for about four months and then became a full-time volunteer”
What advice can you give to perspective volunteers?
“Often times, the best thing that volunteers or perspective people can do is to ask good questions because so often people have the capacity that they don’t know about”
What is the average day look like for you?
“On my end, I have done everything from direct service work (Youth Counselor) to administrative work (Orion) in support for the larger staff. My capacities are volunteer specialist where I am trying to recruit volunteers who also reflect who the youth are. One of my biggest goals is to create an environment where it is accessible to as many people as possible.”
What does the youth demographic look like currently in Seattle?
Our youth population here at YouthCare is from 12-24. We have services for all in that age range. Most of our youth fall in between 16-22 age range. We have also seen a real spike in disproportionality with youth of color. This past year we have seen 12% increase of youth of color in Seattle.
During my process I created different forms of infographics. I went back to the main source of my information, which was in my research and pushed my search for evidence that would support aid for Homeless Youth in King County.
While in this phase we found it troublesome finding disparate information that was not there. To our shock, evidence was only available from 2014 up to 2016 in which much of the information was either outdated or just missing. We had to dig much deeper in order to find the core information that would structured our concepts for the information graphics.
First step was to create a dashboard to further showcase particular information that would be easy to navigate and read without any projecting and empathetic storyline yet. This would allow the user to read the information clearly without the need for excessive detail in visual hierarchy.
As I moved from information into sketches, I found it quite hard to create graphics that showcased the information that was connected with each other in a narrative form. I created many revisions myself and asked for critique from my peers about the way the information was presented and what was important/unimportant.
Back to the drawing board
I took the critique from my peers and set out digital sketches on my bed. When I looked at them, I realized that there was no story to them, no guiding feature to explain the content. I then pushed the interactivity of the design so that the user would feel more connected to the application interface.
The final dashboard revisions and eventually came up with a interactive feature of my designs which would allow the user to click on a certain topic flowed through the information without causing limitations as to what information was read first. I used the text "who," "count," "the cause," and "resources" to give the reader a simple navigation bar that would move through the information with clear goals.
After going through many countless attempts at editing in and out certain info, I started to develop at logical layout of explaining my information in a easy to follow way. I started to tweak little minor things things to make the poster fit together nicely as one unified design.
Once I was able to find my layout, I tweaked the colors and visuals to make the information relevant to the audience which I was making this infographic poster for. I used neutral tones to not over saturate the poster with vibrant colors because of the way I wanted to make this topic serious despite being about youth. I also toned down the use of strictly visual shapes and went with more informative representations of the data. Lastly, I provide a better use of spacing within the visuals to guide the reader comfortably around each point I made.
All-in-all, I found this project very useful in being able to develop and understand the intricacies of information design and the way we see information as a tool that has crucial importance whenever designers are creating. I have found that much of my original design work focused mainly on aesthetics and not so much the actual data and I believe that through this coursework, I have attained a greater appreciation and knowledge of how to overcome the temptation of seeking only to do visuals first and then data.