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BEYOND THE SURFACE

Creating an initiative aimed at increasing awareness for the
drag community while educating the public about the art of
drag expression. 

RATIONALE

Beyond the Surface is an immersive experience that shares the beauty of the art form of drag while seeking to remind the public about the human behind the art. 

 

The main features include a see yourself in drag experiential interaction involving your camera or a chosen photo, a rotating showcase of artists with emphasis on representation of all drag queens, kings and things, a local drag event quiz that prioritizes safety for the artists while also creating personalized recommendations for the user and a designated space for drag related resources including news articles, tutorials and online groups. 

 

It is important for the drag community to share their art form because it will educate the general public about the human being behind the art of drag expression and foster empathy and support for the LGBTQ+ community who are under attack for their existence.

DELIVERABLES
TOOLS USED
Illustrator, Mural, Photoshop, Xd
DURATION
15 weeks
START
UX RESEARCH
01. CONTEXT
WHY? BECAUSE IT IS HARMLESS.

The inspiration for my senior capstone comes from the continual increase in mistreatment and false narratives fabricated by recent politics towards the drag and LGBTQ+ community.

I have been supporting drag artists since 2015. I have attended multiple drag related events including Rupaul’s DragCon, all with my mother. I have seen over 32 seasons of Drag Race and even had the opportunity of putting my HS biology teacher into drag for the school musical.

02. CONFLICT
PROBLEM STATEMENT

The drag community needs a way to share their art form because it will educate the general public about the human being behind the art of drag expression and foster empathy and support for the LGBTQ+ community who are under attack for their existence.

03. RESEARCH
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • How do digital spaces empower drag performers & members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore and express their identities, both within and beyond the constraints of traditional gender norms and societal expectations?

  • How do drag performers currently utilize digital spaces  for self-promotion, artistic expression, & community  building, and how do these platforms shape their experiences and careers?

  • How do online platforms contribute to or mitigate issues of harassment & cyberbullying within the drag community & what strategies can be employed to create safer and more inclusive spaces?

  • What are the challenges & opportunities that digital spaces present in terms of fostering a sense of community and support among drag performers, especially in regions or communities with limited physical drag scenes?

  • What impact do digital spaces have on the creative expression & artistic development of drag performers, & how do these spaces influence the evolution of drag culture?

METHODOLOGIES

1.  Surveys

  • received 362 responses

  • consisted of 15 questions​​​​

  • conducted with Google Forms

  • shared in local online groups & QR code flyer around Lesley University campus

  • gained insight on the general public perspective of drag & learned about ways people are already supporting artists and how others want to learn and support more

2. User Interviews

  • consisted of 13 questions

  • conducted over both zoom & voice call

  • gained perspective from 3 drag kings, 1 drag queen & 1 drag thing

  • participants found in Discord and Facebook groups

3. Observations

  • conducted on digital spaces such as Instagram, Tiktok, Twitch & Youtube

  • Asking how do drag artists interact with their communities & vice versa + how is social media currently being used to leverage drag?

04. USERS
RESEARCH INSIGHTS
  • People in the general public want to support local drag but don't know how to find local events to attend because drag events are not mainstream advertised (due to politicized/differing opinions in different regions). Therefore, local drag events need to be better advertised/communicated to reach local, mainstream audiences.

  • Access to drag related content is important for drag curious individuals because drag expands beyond society's conventions and focuses on inclusion. Therefore, access to drag-related resources is important for self discovery and better understanding LGBTQ+ culture.

  • People in the general public forget that there is a human being behind the drag performance due to personal bias and differing opinions exacerbated by recent politicized attacks. Therefore, educating people on the art of drag will create visibility for the community and foster empathy for those impacted.

  • Drag artists want to find support in drag communities online but they are hard to find because they are not promoted at large scale. Therefore, access to online drag communities are important for drag artists to receive feedback and tips from other artists.

  • Drag-related content is important for LGBTQ+ culture because it fosters creativity, culture and inclusion within the community. Therefore, drag is an art form that needs space and support to continue growing and evolving.

05. IDEATION
NOW THAT WE UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM & USERS

I conducted a broad brainstorm based on the research insights. Ideas ranged from in-person safety booth to artists diagrams/infographics to web-based solutions.

CONCEPT DIRECTION
USER TESTING
  • conducted as a moderated test (4 participants) using the think aloud technique

  • goal was to gain first reaction to features before further development

TESTING INSIGHTS
  • Experiential interaction can teach users how to do their own makeup with a clear categorization of the cosmetics and which part of the face they go with.

  •  Finding local drag can be made easier with a simple quiz. Originally local events would be recommended based on location alone but a quiz prioritizes safety for the artists while also creating a personalized recommendations for the user.

  • A showcase of multiple drag artists shows more diversity than rotating daily. This was based off an idea to do 365 days of drag showcase, having an artist represent each day, users disliked this, wanting the ability to see more not less.

  • Being able to search on resources page helps returning visitors find past content as it will rotate weekly based on what is current and new.

  • Variety in landing videos allows for representation of a larger group. Meaning that each time you visit this experience, you’ll see a different artist de-dragging and revealing what is beyond the surface. As well as the option to click through all the videos from the start.

SERVICE MAP
Service Map.png
06. SOLUTION
IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENTIAL INTERACTION
ARTIST SHOWCASE
LOCAL DRAG EVENT FINDER
DRAG RELATED RESOURCES
NEXT STEPS
IMMERSIVE EXP
CONTEXT
CONFLICT
USERS
IDEATION
SOLUTION
RESEARCH
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