Government Game

A game to teach citizens of Ferndale Michigan about the ins and outs of local government.

The project was part of a semester-long course, Citizen Interaction Design, at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Ferndale Public Library. I participated in UX research with Mitali Ganvir & Joseph Henrichs and was the sole graphic & UX designer of the board game and app. I presented to stakeholders in the cities of Ferndale, Detroit and Ann Arbor, and provided final design assets for development.

CASE STUDY - 11/21; UX Designer / UX Researcher / Graphic Designer

The Problem

The Ferndale Public Library hosts Introduction to Government classes and needs a way to engage citizens in the learning process. The solution needs to address the lack of knowledge on how to approach the local government and misinformation and disinformation within the community.

  • The library informed us that they’d noticed a lack of knowledge or understanding about how local government works including where to direct questions or concerns and how to get involved. They also noted that people wanted to know how the different commission's function.

  • The City of Ferndale website holds too much information for users to sort through creating navigational issues deterring usage.

  • Misinformation/Disinformation in the community is a common problem that can come with learning about the complexities of government and politics.

  • The Library needs a fun way to engage citizens in the Introduction to Government classes and to keep them engaged in government as citizens of Ferndale.

Project Goals

Engage learners in Introduction to Government classes.

Create a Ferndale - Fun learning method.

Fnd a fun method to match the spirit of Ferndale and the library.

Educate people about local government.

Focus on accurate, digestible information and information design.

A board game and phone game application to take users through the various important Ferndale government commissions.

Solution

Why a Game

SURVEYS  

We deployed a survey on a public, popular Ferndale Forum and the library website. We found many people's government to be dry and unexciting and that many users were interested in a gamified method to make the learning process more fun.

USER INTERVIEWS 

We conducted eight user interviews with residents of Ferndale, regular Ferndale library goers, and government officials. Through the interviews, we found that most people used their phones to access information over other forms of technology. We also learned a strong interest in board games in the Ferndale community. Citizens often play at the library and local bars. The library holds many board games frequently checked out by community members.

USER TESTING WITH PROTOTYPE  

We created a paper and digital prototype of a physical board game and a phone application prototype based on feedback from user interviews and surveys. The game focused on multiple choice quiz questions from various important commissions. We chose the commissions based on user feedback about which commissions were popular in public discourse and what information government officials’ wanted citizens to know.

How to play

Each commission has a set of questions for the players to answer. If the player answers a question correctly, they will move on to the next location. If they are wrong, they stay in place until their next turn and continue to answer questions about that commission. The first player to make it back to the library wins!

When does the City Council meet?
A. The first Tuesday of every month
B. Wednesdays (everyone must wear pink)
C. Every other Monday
D. Mondays

The player got the question right and will move on to the police and fire departments.

Final Design

Government Game

A game to teach citizens of Ferndale Michigan about the ins and outs of local government.

The project was part of a semester-long course, Citizen Interaction Design, at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Ferndale Public Library. I participated in UX research with Mitali Ganvir & Joseph Henrichs and was the sole graphic & UX designer of the board game and app. I presented to stakeholders in the cities of Ferndale, Detroit and Ann Arbor, and provided final design assets for development.

CASE STUDY - 11/21; UX Designer / UX Researcher / Graphic Designer

Engage learners in Introduction to Government classes

Create a Ferndale - Fun learning method

find a fun method to match the spirit of Ferndale and the library

Educate people about local government

focus on accurate, digestible information and information design

A board game and phone game application to take users through the various important Ferndale government commissions.

Each commission has a set of questions for the players to answer. If the player answers a question correctly, they will move on to the next location. If they are wrong, they stay in place until their next turn and continue to answer questions about that commission. The first player to make it back to the library wins!

When does the City Council meet?
A. The first Tuesday of every month
B. Wednesdays (everyone must wear pink)
C. Every other Monday
D. Mondays

The player got the question right and will move on to the police and fire departments.

Users enjoy the competitive aspect of game and want the option to play with others.

Users want the game to be as simple as possible and don’t want to spend time learning complex rules.

Users want the questions to be informative but not too difficult to answer. Users enjoy having humorous multiple choice options to make the game more fun.

KEY INSIGHTS FROM PROTOTYPING AND USER RESEARCH:

Designed and Developed by Hannah Simon 2021