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Leonard Reid House

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The mission of the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) is to preserve, celebrate, and share the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota, FL. Recently, they have aimed to transform the historical house of Leonard Reid, a pioneering African American resident, into a meaningful historical center .

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The mission of the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) is to preserve, celebrate, and share the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota, FL. Recently, they have aimed to transform the historical house of Leonard Reid, a pioneering African American resident, into a meaningful historical center .

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The mission of the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) is to preserve, celebrate, and share the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota, FL. Recently, they have aimed to transform the historical house of Leonard Reid, a pioneering African American resident, into a meaningful historical center .

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The mission of the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) is to preserve, celebrate, and share the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota, FL. Recently, they have aimed to transform the historical house of Leonard Reid, a pioneering African American resident, into a meaningful historical center .

THE CHALLENGE

To produce a UX research report and visual concept for Leonard Reid's historical house. The idea must honor Reid’s life and legacy and, by extension, highlight the local African-American experience.

THE CHALLENGE

To produce a UX research report and visual concept for Leonard Reid's historical house. The idea must honor Reid’s life and legacy and, by extension, highlight the local African-American experience.

THE CHALLENGE

To produce a UX research report and visual concept for Leonard Reid's historical house. The idea must honor Reid’s life and legacy and, by extension, highlight the local African-American experience.

THE CHALLENGE

To produce a UX research report and visual concept for Leonard Reid's historical house. The idea must honor Reid’s life and legacy and, by extension, highlight the local African-American experience.

My role

UX Research Lead

My role

UX Research Lead

My role

UX Research Lead

My role

UX Research Lead

CLIENT

Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC)

CLIENT

Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC)

CLIENT

Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC)

CLIENT

Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC)

Research Methodologies

Observation

Visited Reid’s house and surroundings on multiple occasions to gain an acquaintance with the structure and current special setting and identify constraints and opportunities.

Historical Synthesis

I consulted Sarasota County Historical Archives, Newtown Alive (Howard & Oldham), and the client provided notes to generate a backlog synthesis report of the historical background involved in the project.

User survey

Surveyed 231 Sarasota residents to gain insights on local demand for museum-like spaces, community spaces, and other exhibits and events. The primary survey-sharing channels were Sarasota-based online forums and man-on-the-street approaches at high-traffic local events.

Stakeholder Interviews

Sixteen in-person semi-structured interviews (approx. 30 minutes each) were conducted with prominent members of the African American community in Sarasota, including members of commerce, education, non-profit organizations, and religious communities. We aimed to identify what community stakeholders expected from Reid’s historical center

Insights

  • Highlighting the past, but making reference to the present: through the objective for the Reid’s to highlight Sarasota’s rich African American history, it must also uplift present initiatives to ensure community engagement. There’s great demand for reflecting on current challenges Black residents face by involving contemporary artists and collaborating with local Black-owned businesses, organizations, and community leaders. 


  • Interactivity is critical: community elders emphasize that ensuring the future sustainability of the space is vital to catch young people’s attention. Spatial design should focus on making historical information accessible and inviting for young individuals. Interactivity is noted as a preferred factor for the youth.  


  • Multi-purpose use of the space should be prioritized: To ensure community engagement, the space layout should be flexible for rotating exhibitions, live events, concerts, gatherings, and accessibility. 


  • Empowerment over victimhood: history should be told accurately, specifically emphasizing empowerment over victimhood. Data reflected that sampled African Americans in Sarasota want to see themselves represented as a courageous, resilient, and determined community.

Recommendations &
Visualizations

The Reid House is a symbolic anchor, grounding today's reality in the legitimacy of the past. The house effectively demonstrates over 100 years of local African-American history, connecting the Reid family and their vital generational contribution to modern-day Newtown.


Ideas for the guest experience include 

  • Divide the house layout into sub-spaces that help categorize the information displayed. Recommended categories are the Reid family’s life and legacy, education, religion, business, and civil rights. 

  • Include a screening room that showcases oral history interviews with current community members. 

  • Interactive techniques could include projection mapping, chalkboard writing, tactile monitors, or a mobile app with audio narration or text descripts about the Reid Family.

Next Steps

  • Recruit an environmental design team to develop 2D and 3D concept visualizations of what the historical house could look like based on the research gathered and the recommended concept statements. 

  • Test visualizations during focus groups and gather feedback for iterations.

Credits

Mafer Bencomo - UX Research Lead & Copywriter
Ping (Hope) Ho - UX Researcher & Strategist
Esty Loveing-Downes - Research & Outreach Coordinator
Jean Bachura - Strategist
Autumn Taylor - Strategist
Shellsea Coe - Strategist & Designer
Abigail Hanly - Designer
Emily Kile - Researcher & Designer

Let's work together!

maferbencomo1@gmail.com

maferbencomo1@gmail.com

© Mafer Bencomo 2024