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Educational kiosk, Product + UX Design

Fake News Literacy

I worked on a team to research the fake news problem space and develop a solution: a game kiosk designed to help create awareness and improve literacy of fake news in the student population.


Defining "fake" news in the digital age

New technologies and social media sites make the creation and spread of fake news easier and faster. The lines between "real", accurate news and "fake" news are becoming blurred. With young adult, student populations getting their news primarily from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, how do we help to educate them and provide awareness of the spectrum of fake news existing?


Increasing awareness of fake news

Our two-part fake news game kiosk aims to increase awareness among students. The first activity, generating fake news, show students how easily fake news can be created and spread. The second activity, identifying fake news, teaches students that fake news exists on a spectrum and isn't always clear.

Exploring our topic

As a team, we were interested in creating a project in response to increasing spread and prevalence of fake news. We did a set of activities to brainstorm the problem.

Brainstorm exercise
Exploring the topic by answering a series of questions.
Top five exercise part 1 Top five exercise part 2 Top five exercise part 3
Top five exercise — each member came up with five ideas and we rearranged them in different groups to generate hybrid ideas.

Gaining inspiration

Before defining our project details, we reviewed three case studies on fake news to get an idea of existing projects and inform our future process.

Fake news stand
Fakes News Stand — stand filled with fake news created by Columbia Journalism Review to bring awareness of fake news in media.
Checkology virtual classroom
Checkology Virtual Classroom — project concept that teaches young students to recognize when information is credible and well-researched.
Detecting fake news study
Detecting Fake News — a case study on fake news detection using a backtracking based on a cognitive system.

Design brief

After looking at other projects and exploring the problem of fake news, we narrowed our audience down to Pittsburgh youth and also were interested in fake news in Twitter. We then mapped out stakeholders and territories based on this newly defined project scope.

Stakeholder map
Stakeholder map — mapping out various organizations, individuals, and companies related to our topic.
Territory map
Territory map — mapping out overlaps in areas related to our topic.
Feedback on our design brief
The main feedback we received was to focus on further narrowing down our scale and audience. We had to consider how more specific groups within Pittburgh youth access and use news differently.

Initial ideating

Based on feedback, we narrowed our target audience even further to the demographic of young adult college students in Pittsburgh. We then started sketching out ideas for what the solution could look like and different approaches to combatting the issue of fake news within the student population.

Fake news awareness stands
Fake news awareness stands on campus with papers showing fake news articles edited to be accurate.
Fake news display board
Fake news display board comparing stories people have heard with credible news stories.
Multiple idea sketches
Fake news dispensing machine that allows students to create articles, various formats for displaying news, interactive tabletop display that would teachstudents about fake news, fake news spectrum display showing various levels of fake news.
Fake news vending machine inspiration, typography exploration for a fake news brand.

News survey

Before developing our solution more, we wanted to take a step back and learn about students’ news consumption habits. We sent a survey around campus.

Survey findings
Survey — asking students about their habits such as how they access news, how often they read news, what topics they read, etc.
Insights gathered from our survey
We found that a lot of students read news from social media sites and they actually check news fairly often.

Distributing fake news

We also wanted to test students’ current awareness of and engagement with fake news. To do so, we created two fake news articles and posted them around campus. We chose article topics we felt students would be interested in and designed the posters to allow us to track how students engaged with them.

Article 1
Student video surveillance article — first fake news article with a QR code linked to a page counter that allows us to track how many students folllowed the link.
Article 2
Pittsburgh air quality article — second fake news article with a QR code that leads viewers to a survey asking whether the poster was believable and what made it credible / not credible.
Insights gathered from our fake news distribution
For the first article, we counted over 30 unique visitor views. This showed that a good amount of students cared to investigate the article further.
For the second article, survey results showed that participants who believed the poster did so heavily due to the font and appearance of the poster.

Ideation based on research

Our research showed us that students did engage with and care about news, but were easily fooled by the appearance of articles. With these insights, we continued to ideate and develop our ideas of the solution. We came up with three diverse ideas and brought prototypes in for a silent crit.

Fake news vending machine
Fake news vending machine — a vending machine displaying fake news articles that dispenses the truth.
Card game
Card game — two-part game that teaches students how easily fake news is created and spread. In the first version, the aim is to alter an article to make it as truthful as possible. In the second version, the aim is to prevent altering of information.
Fake news infiltration workshop
Fake news infiltration workshop — a workshop activity asking students to visualize the news cycle and how fake news infiltrates it.
Feedback from prototypes
Students and professors liked the interactions of a physical vending machine and also the casual, fun aspect of a card game. Moving forward, we wanted to find ways to combine the two ideas.

Creating storyboards

We created storyboards to brainstorm interactions and ways to combined the two ideas.

Storyboard 1
Traditional vending machine and news stand interaction.
Storyboard 2
Touch screen input machine and game.
Storyboard 3
Tabletop vending machine with game content.
Storyboard 4
Mobile phone interaction.
Conclusion from brainstorms
We concluded that our final solution would be a kiosk machine with a two-part game/activity. One activity would be inputting or generating fake news and the other would be identifying fake news.

Finalizing the deliverable

From our previous storyboards and ideations, we were able to finalize the two-part interaction of our kiosk. In our final deliverable, we also decided to include an informational website outlining the goal of the project and how the kiosk activities work together to improve fake news literacy.

Interaction part 1
Kiosk activity 1 — Students help generate fake news by inputting headlines on a kiosk.
Interaction part 2
Kiosk activity 2 — Students play a game on the other side of the kiosk guessing which article out of a set of true, partly true, and false articles is the accurate one.

Rapid iterations

With our deliverables set, we divided the final in parts: the website/kiosk screens and the physical machine. We each iterated and refined our chosen sections.

Iterations on the website and branding.
Iterations on the kiosk activity screens. Branding is kept consistent with the website.
Iterations on the physical form of the vending machine.

Final prototype

Generate activity

Generating fake news

First kiosk activity. Users choose from recent news topics. They are then asked to write a sentence of fake news they have heard of on the topic of choice. The submitted headlines are used in the identifying activity. View clickable prototype

Identifying fake news

Second kiosk activity. Users are provided three headlines on one topic and asked to identify which is real. Once chosen, the cards reveal which headlines are real or fake. A receipt is printed outlining the facts and details of each headline. View clickable prototype

Categorized events

An informational website outlines the mission and product solution of our project. It also explains how the activities intersect and has an options for users to do the Generate activity online instead of at the kiosk. View clickable prototype

Interaction part 1
Interaction part 2