With all of its noise, fights, and cramped spaces, the school bus isn’t a desirable place to be. In collaboration with Allies for Children and the Woodland Hills School District, I worked with a team of designers and UI engineers to create a more enjoyable riding experience for both under-represented students and bus drivers.
Our team designed Discoverables, an interactive system that cultivates curiosity, fosters collaboration across digital and analog formats, and promotes a sense of community among bus environments.
with Carolyn Chheath, Angela Wang, and Zach Bachiri
Creating a Brand that Talks to Kids
During this process, it was important for us to constantly reiterate that the design needed to be universal and accessible to all the kids in the school environment. Although the main spotlight was on personalization and community-building, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave anyone out.
At the same time, we were applying this visual identity towards our app and cards. The illustration style and language started to inform our content, and vice versa, and we came up with a system of action-oriented categories like Find-it! And Quiz-It!
Establishing our Touchpoints
We met with representatives from local government who worked directly with policies that managed school transportation. We also talked with community leaders who advocated for universal changes in the student experience and with parents and school administration.
It became obvious during the process how much our other stakeholders -- bus drivers, parents, teachers, and administration -- cared about the experiences of their kids. They latched on well to our proposal to adapt the bus environment into some kind of learning environment.
Designing with the Explorers
What came to fruition was a workshop where students could play designer for an hour and craft the kind of bus that they wanted to see come to life.
Using building blocks, markers, and craft supplies, the middle schoolers that we worked with co-created three different bus environments that informed us of their desires and needs, which helped sprout further discussion as we asked about what they put into each bus.