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Visual Guides for Resettled Refugees [UPDATED 5/31]

A series of visual guides that help resettled refugees navigate their new world and understand activities like buying food and using an ATM.

Photo of Adria Spivack

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

My idea is to use a set of visual guides to help resettled refugees understand the concepts and actions needed to be successful in the western world. These guides can describe simple tasks, such as emergency services, or can be used as vocational training, such as how to use programs or perform job related tasks. I have developed a form, visual language, and method for doing this with the example of buying and storing food. These guides utilize logos, symbols, and objects that can be matched with what is found in the environment, connecting the guide with the physical world or allowing it to be used as a tool to ask for help. Because these guides are mainly visual, they can be used by anyone regardless of literacy or native language. This solution is easy for resettlement agencies or community leaders to distribute and implement. By printing out the provided PDF and following a few easy steps, each guide can be folded by anyone with minimal cost. Along with this method, I am proposing to create a platform for community leaders/agencies to share and personalize guides based on their needs and, if possible, as the visual language to the environments the guides depict.

WHO BENEFITS?

This can be used for any resettled refugee anywhere and distributed by any resettlement agency, community leader, etc. The only change needed is the reference to some of the logos or place specific processes. The proposed platform is a means of sharing these guides all around the world, making those personalized changes, and requesting more guides to fill any need. (UX Map at bottom of the page).

PROTOTYPE

During the process of designing the visual guides I currently have, I constantly asked others (along with the resettlement agency) to tell me what my guides were describing. Based on their answers, I was able to develop the visual language and form. My current prototype features three booklets, each with an essential topic for understanding how to buy and store food: navigating the grocery store, using an ATM and paying for goods, and riding the bus. Additionally, I designed a hand out to be kept at home as a reference on how to store food. This is currently being used in Pittsburgh by the resettlement agency I worked with as a tool to help teach resettled refugees and as something they use in their everyday lives. The prototype resembles the final form-- a pdf that is printed doubled sided (tabloid and letter sizes) and folded a particular way. This ensures that it can be easily accessed, created, and used with the worry of extra cost or manufacturing.

FEEDBACK

In doing my project, I paired with a local resettlement agency to get feedback on my project. Throughout the process, they advised me on visual language and form. Upon showing them the final iteration (at least for now), they thought it was extremely helpful and would be very successful for them to use as a tool and for the resettled refugees to use.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

I am able to draw, prototype, strategize, and generate visuals/supporting media. I would love some advice from experts about how to expand my idea and on how to create a platform that could make sharing and generating these guides more effective and efficient. I would also love partnerships to help implement this.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Industrial Design Program in the United States. I am passionate about using design to help others and am excited to collaborate with others. I love talking about my idea and project and would love to hear any feedback!

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.
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Attachments (3)

User_experience_map.pdf

A user experience map depicting the steps the community leader/resettlement agency must go through to access the visual guides with the platform and the steps the resettled refugee takes to use it.

Spivack_Video copy.m4v

A video depicting the problem and my solution.

Spivack_studio_posters copy.pdf

A poster depicting my process and a poster depicting the solution.

Inspired by (1)

Visual Guides

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