Written by Lisa Kemp, graduate student of Ball State University Emerging Media Design and Development (EMDD)
I hoʻokāhi ka umauma, hoʻokāhi ke aloha (All abreast together, one in love. All united in harmony and love)
In Spring of 2021, three Ball State University Emerging Media Design and Development (EMDD) graduate students completed a class project about Wailuku’s 'Īao Valley. This topic became the springboard for a year-long EMDD capstone project with a group of eight students and partner SMALL TOWN * BIG ART (ST*BA) to promote storytelling in Wailuku Town. The goal of this project was to implement an oral storytelling experience which aligns with the vision and mission of ST*BA, Maui Public Art Corps, and Maui Historical Society. To accomplish this goal, the team designed a digital interactive storytelling activity including questions, locations to visit, and local stories to inspire others to share stories in a fun and engaging way to enhance a sense of community among Wailuku residents.
This project allowed the perfect opportunity for the EMDD team to leverage their graduate studies in the areas of design thinking, transmedia storytelling, and user experience. The team began by meeting with ST*BA to better understand the opportunity space. They then began with empathy research. They spoke to Wailuku residents, artists, and business owners to better understand the opportunity space and the culture. Elements of this research served as reminders throughout the life of the project, and the team created personas to represent typical users and a user journey map to visualize their path through the proposed experience. This part of the project created a great sense of deep respect and reverence for the community members, their rich history, and their values.
From there, the team worked with additional community members to brainstorm ideas that inspired the first low-fidelity prototypes. The team created those prototypes, evaluated them, and narrowed them (sometimes sadly letting go of beloved ideas) based on feasibility and adherence to the project goals and community feedback. Once narrowed, the team created a mid-fidelity prototype and heavily tested both the content and functionality of the storytelling experience with Wailuku residents. The feedback from this testing sparked continued functionality and content improvements.
A different group of Ball State University students, Digital Corps, created the digital experience based on detailed design and requirements. This early release version of the experience was tested a final time in Wailuku the weekend of April 2, 2022 as students observed and asked questions in person in Wailuku town. The experience is now live. Users can access the experience through the QR code on seven different cards that feature local murals. The team will hand the experience over to ST*BA for future enhancements.
This project was a fun and rewarding immersive learning experience that the team hopes will engage Wailuku residents and encourage them to tell and listen to stories. Mahalo to all who helped with this project.
Small Town, Big Stories: By Ball State University's Center for Emerging Media Design and Development
Stories of Wailuku Town and its journey in becoming a public arts district. MAUI | HAWAI'I