For my next prototype I’m going to begin to focus on the game aspect of my project. I want to test out four different methods of questioning that I may use to frame my game. Each of these methods will pose the same set of questions in a different way. After the participates test the prototype, I will ask them which method was most compelling. This will help me to determine how to phrase my questions for the larger-scale game.
Since I had focused mainly on stereotypes and groups of people for my first prototype, I realized that I had to focus my attention on the legal aspects of my idea, and create a prototype related to the national laws that relate to LGBT rights. This was a bit more of a challenge for me, since I generally find myself more interested in and knowledgeable about the social and theoretical aspects of LGBT issues, rather than the legal. Since this aspect is much more laden with facts and precise information, and since I am less knowledgeable about the expanse and specifics of each law, I wanted to make sure that I found a valid source that could provide me with the information I needed.
After finding a succinct and accurate source, I created icons that represented each of the categories that I wanted to focus on (hate crimes, medicine, marriage, housing, safe schools/bullying, adoption, and employment) and gathered the information relating to these laws for each state. This provided me with a database that I can refer to in the future, and also helped me to understand the legal situations per state more clearly, most of which I was not familiar with.
For my second in-class prototype I wanted to create another interactive exercise. Since my target audience is only a few years younger than the age of my peers, I figure they are a good audience to practice on. I first asked the class what laws they thought of in relation to LGBT rights in the United States. Most people said marriage, but many other categories that I had included (such as hate crimes, medical rights, and adoption) were also mentioned. This helped me put my exercise into perspective and to see if there were any relevant laws that I had missed, or if any of the laws I had chosen were too complicated to use for my project.
I then gave each small group a blank map of the United States with the key indicating the meaning of each symbol next to the map. The goal of the exercise was for each group to label each state with as many laws as they could. I indicated (and to indicate if they were permitted or banned). I explained that they didn’t have to choose the correct answer – I was more interested in seeing what people’s assumptions about these laws were, because this will help me to frame how much people know about National LGBT-related laws in the future.
In the end, I asked the class for feedback about the exercise. Most people said that it was challenging but also fun (which kind of surprised me, because I never really thought about exercises that involved legal information as ‘fun.’) Ernesto asked a question about immigration rights relating to LGBT couples, and I realized that although I want to keep my focus at a National level, this was another important category to include.
Overall I’m satisfied with the way my prototype went. I was able to acquire the factual information that I need for the next steps of my project, and the class gave me good feedback about other categories to include and were generally positive about the exercise, which makes me feel more confident that my finalized project can be fun as well as informative.
I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my thesis prototyping session. Initially I was pretty worried that my project would be deemed too difficult or time-consuming of an activity and would be skipped over. It seems, though, that people were interested in participating.
My prototype was intended to be an exercise in association. I created a list of words (mainly stereotypes) that could fit into any or all of the categories (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) that I placed on a board. I asked people to place the words (as many as they wanted) into the communities with which they associated the words. This would then create four different lists of adjectives that the participants associated with these communities. I also encouraged people to create their own words to put on the board in order to create a more personalized and diverse list of results.
I was actually fairly surprised in people’s reaction to the exercise. I thought that most people would place a few words under “Gay” and walk away. But there were several people who really struggled with the exercise. Many people told me that they thought the words were too negative and harsh, and didn’t feel comfortable assigning them to a community. Although I agreed, I also argued that that was partially the point – stereotypes don’t generally make those affected by them feel particularly comfortable. I also encouraged those who felt uncomfortable putting the words on the board to think of their own, which they did.
After the exercise I sorted the results:
LESBIAN SEX GRAPHIC
A HUMAN BEING
MILITANT GENDER FEMINIST
ANAL SEX GRAPHIC
STRONG SENSE OF SELF
FLAVOR OF THE DAY
A HUMAN BEING
A HUMAN BEING
STRONG SENSE OF SELF
LGBT (Participant-Created Category)
I could look into them further and try to analyze them, but I felt that since the testing group was fairly small and the entire exercise was pretty subjective, the analysis would be equally as biased and skewed. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do with the results of this experiment yet. Overall, though, I’m pleased that people responded so well (or, so intently) to the exercise. It was interesting to note that interaction, even in a non-virtual format, can be successful. I may turn these results into some sort of graphic or another constructive form of presenting the data. I would be curious to try this exercise with a different audience or a different location – perhaps in a less contained environment – maybe on the street? I’m not sure. For now I will continue to do more research that will back up my prototypes and help to create a solid foundation for my project.
I am exploring how the queer community is perceived in relation to policy and human rights issues by creating a simulation/situational game that broadens a user’s perspective in order to foster empathy and understanding within systems of education and platforms for social media.