User Research Reflection

In the process of conducting user research, I was disheartened (although not necessarily surprised) to learn that the existing interest in the topics related to my proposed project do not exactly reflect the main priorities or needs of the community that the project pertains to. This was partly anticipated: the city of Brownsville and Cameron County are frequently listed as one of the poorest areas in Texas. It makes sense that residents would be more focused on the issue of economic stability. Additionally, the citizens of Brownsville are often being forced to reflect on more modern issues: relations with nearby SpaceX, massive upticks in immigration from the Mexican border, and debates about border walls.

This does not mean, however, that no interest in the topics related to this project exist. There are more than a few examples of individuals, activists, and organizations working to combat racism (especially racial violence) and create spaces for dialogue about these issues. From my perspective, this research has made it even more clear how essential it is that the end product be something that can be of use to the community in question. It might make sense, then to lead the project with this angle. What can be included on the landing page that will communicate to the user “this is useful to you and your life — stay and explore”? As Carl Becker said, how do I “adapt [the] knowledge to [the public’s] necessities”?

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