Interactive Poster

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April 2017

Caleb Jones + Adriana Rodriguez

Research, 3D Design, 2D Design, Fabrication, Iterative Design, Code, Arduino, Physical Computing

Role: Research, Web Design + Development, Physical Computing, Fabrication, Design Collaboration

Prompt: Create a campaign to inspire social change with an innovative take on poster format

Design Statement

With applying behavioural change techniques to a Social Change Campaign, we aimed to captivate audiences with a touch-based interactive poster that extends the graphic elements of design and sound.

Topic Research

The first step to creating the Social Change campaign was to select and research an issue. I didn't want to repeat topics I covered in other classes, such as climate change or refugees. Projects such as this are a great opportunity to become more educated in different issues. I was reading about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests led by Native Americas at Standing Rock, and found an article about Indigenous people from across Canada joining the protests at Standing Rock. This article recommended news stories to me about the First Nations water crisis and Neskantaga First Nation.

I have read in the news about the abhorrent living conditions on First Nations reserves; recently articles detailed the water crisis, but it was painted as a new problem. However, more research and fact finding revealed to me that the First Nations water crisis has been ongoing for over twenty years, and becoming steadily worse.

I discussed the possibility of using the First Nations water crisis as a topic with my peers, and most people seemed unaware of the issue or at least its severity. This pushed me to select the topic and use the opportunity to educate myself and others about the First Nations water crisis that is caused by the systemic racism against Indigenous people in Canada.

I conducted deeper, formal research into the topic by reading more news articles, the Human Rights Watch report about the First Nations Water Crisis to gain insight and hard statistics. I knew the nature of the issue would have to appeal to the audience's pathos, since people need to care about the issue in order to be invested. However, the sheer amount of communities without fresh water reinforces how unjust and devastating the crisis is, so facts and statistics are needed. This appeals to the audience's logos, showing that there is a greater, systemic issue perpetuating these conditions.

mock up of First Nations water crisis site

Website Development

The ultimate goal of the campaign was to raise awareness of the First Nations water crisis. As there are already organizations dedicated to both First Nations issues and the first water crisis, the website was designed to give people a brief overview. A one-page landing site was created with an overview, impact statement, quotation, and information on solutions.

It was decided that a multi-page website with a menu wouldn't be as effective because it would spread out a little information over many pages. The more pages, the less likely the user is too click through and read all the content, thereby less likely to learn as much information.

The site included a call to action at the very end to encourage people to like the Facebook page. This would keep users engaged with issue after becoming aware, and give the option to share the page with their Facebook friends. Since the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness, the campaign relies on the ability to be easily shared.

Poster Development


We initially wanted to include our original concepts throughout the poster, such as the visuals of unclean water and call out facts. However, with the addition of audio soundtracks and buttons, we found it difficult to include the element of buttons without moving the glass of water around, which unbalanced the design. Additonally, with the element of sound included, there wasn’t a need of long descriptions throughout the poster.

Each element—visuals, audio clips, and copy—was reflected on and analyzed fully so that users could understand the message. When considering the overall layout, we decided to include multiple raindrops that were large enough to be used as buttons. Since the pattern is repetitive, we took into consideration of colour to differentiate the raindrops which were also buttons. Additionally, with the execution of the layout, we provided additional text to encourage people to touch the raindrops. This overall element provides more clarity and an increasing chance of a user interacting with the poster.

poster about the First Nations Water Crisis with an illustration of a tub filled with dirty water

First solo poster design

poster about the First Nations Water Crisis with an illustration of a glass of dirty water

Second solo poster design

poster about the First Nations Water Crisis with an illustration of a glass of dirty water and water droplets

Collaborative Iteration Design

Final design for the First Nations Water Crisis interactive poster

Collaborative + Final Poster Design

Audio Clips

By incorporating audio clips into the poster, we want to provide audiences with first hand accounts and allow users to to fully analyze and understand the issues within the First Nation communities. There was careful consideration and care put into clip selection, as we were cognizant and sensitive to not speak over the First Nations people effected, especially as non-Native designers. This project was an opportunity to lift and give a platform to First Nations people, not speak over them.


To realize interactive elements of the poster, it needed to incorporate electronics and circuitry using:

The premise of the interactive elements is that 3 buttons were connected to an Arduino Uno with a capacitive touch sensor, audio shield, and speaker. The buttons trigger the capacitive touch sensor, which triggers the audio shield by playing the audio clips on a connected USB out of a speaker. This was all powered by a 9V battery.

To connect the circuitry with the poster, a template was created with the buttons cut out to act as a stencil. We then used the stencil to paint on the back of the poster with the conductive paint. The paint was sensitive enough that it could still trigger the capacitive touch sensor from the back of the poster. Wire was used to connect the painted buttons to the completed Arduino Uno circuit. The completed circuit was mounted in a box, which was installed on the back of the poster with cardboard supports. This both concealed and protected the circuits and its elements.

photos of fabrication stages
photos of fabrication stages