Picture Us

Positively portraying characters with special needs.
Overview
Picture Us began as a pet project on instagram where I shared and reviewed some of the picture books in my personal collection. Many of those books touched on sensitive topics like autism, dyslexia, and OCD. Parents and teachers took notice and began reaching out to me for recommendations on books with specific disability topics.
I was happy to help but also frustrated that , although many of these kind of books existed, they were extremely hard to find. Scouring libraries, thrift stores and bookstores,  I was able to create a database of over 1,000 picture books with a goal to create a mobile directory that will allow users to discover , search and suggest books of this category.

Role: UX/UI | Content Strategy | UX Writing | Publishing

Duration: 8 weeks
Problem
There is an immense lack of representation in literature for kids with disability and our goal is to promote awareness as well as provide kids with access to books that have characters who look like them.
Solution
Picture Us is a mobile directory of picture books featuring characters with a disability.
The app will enable users to discover new books, search by title/ author/disability type, and suggest new titles.
User Research
Part of my user research addressed choosing words for talking about disability. It was imperative that I used the most positive words to describe this community.
48% of participants found the term “special needs” more appropriate when discussing children with a disability
26% of participants preferred “disability” as acceptable
The remainder of respondents preferred:
“differently abled”, “medically complexed” or to make it specific to diagnosis/needs.
Key Findings
The goal of this survey is to gain an understanding of whether our product will be a good fit within the mobile book app market, who our target market is and that this product serves their needs.
90%
of users think there should be more books that feature characters with disabilities
75%
of users are interested in an app to help find picture books featuring characters with disabilities
85%
of users would read a picture book featuring a character with a disability to a non-disabled child
Competitive Analysis
There are a few mobile book apps that offer access to a variety of books. The three major competitors of our product are We Read Too, Epic! and Goodreads. Each of these applications are designed to help readers find their next new book.

Although these competitors share similar features and target audience as our product , we are confident that our Picture Us will be a good fit within the mobile book app market. Picture Us is the only one if its kind and there are no other mobile apps that provide access to such a niche category of books or ones that help promote disability awareness.
User Persona
The goal of the user survey is to gain an understanding of who our target market is and that this product serves their needs.
The first part of our survey addressed choosing words for talking about disability.  For the purpose of creating and targeting apps, I needed to determine most positives word to describe this community.
User Flows
I converted the users’ stories into user flows to visualize how users would accomplish high priority tasks. I mapped out the smoothest path for sign- up, sign-in, search, discover and suggesting new titles.
Wireframes
With my user flows as reference points, I created wireframes for the landing page.
A successful MVP would allow users to discover new books, search/browse books by genre/category as well as suggest new titles.
Logo Concept
I started the logo exploration with some mind-mapping which then led me to sketching a few different versions of books and book marks.
Visual Identity
I created a visual identity which outline the do’s and don’ts of using the Picture Us brand assets.
Final Mockups
I used the final mockups  to create prototypes where I  conducted both in-person and remote usability tests using a specific set of tasks for the user to attempt.
1
Testing iteratively to create the best possible version of my idea.
2
Understanding the importance of choosing positive words for describing disability.
3
If I had to do anything different, I would spend more time on creating content - a critical part of building awareness and garnering support.
4
The most valuable lesson learned is don’t be afraid to fail in the pursuit of the best possible solution for your users.
What I Learned