What is Animale?
Animale is a mobile app for students aged 8-10 to learn about speciesism and animal rights. It was created to teach students the meaning, examples, and implications of speciesism, as well as provide them with information about the animal rights movement and how they can get involved in promoting the equal consideration of all the species. In addition, Animale provides basic information on how to identify speciesism through short articles and videos, and engages students in interactive quizzes to assess their newly acquired knowledge.
After learning about speciesism in my Art and Animals class (PZ Art History 186B.1) and writing a paper on this topic, I realized that this form of discrimination against animals is not widely discussed in schools in my country, Paraguay. Having worked with elementary school students and teachers for three years, I know first-hand that the content on animal rights in public schools in my country is limited and does not include important topics such as speciesism. The lack of resources on animal rights makes the learning process more challenging for students and leads natural science teachers to use only materials provided by the Ministry of Education to cover very few topics related to animal rights.
Based on my experience working with elementary school students, I also know that they are very interested in learning about animals, especially when it comes to ways in which they can advocate for these creatures. Seeing the need for a platform that can provide enough learning materials on speciesism and animal rights, I decided to put into practice the knowledge I had
gained in our Art and Animals class and my passion for UX design to create Animale. My main goal with this project is to have an impact on the learning process of elementary school students who, like me 12 years ago, do not have access to enough resources to learn about speciesism and animal rights.
Animale’s target users are 8-10-year-old students from bilingual public schools in Paraguay. These students have no prior knowledge of speciesism, so the resources on the app will be the first to which they have access. Natural science teachers can also use the content of the app as a resource for their classes and the quizzes as a way to assess students’ knowledge of speciesism and animal rights.
Roles and Responsibilities
I created the app as part of my final project for my Art and Animals class (PZ Art History 186B.1), which means that I worked alone. I led all facets of the design process, including but not limited to journey mapping, sketching, wireframing screen, flows, visual and interaction design, and prototyping. Additionally, I conducted user research using methods such as interviews and participatory design to address user needs.
The most challenging part of working on this project was the limited time I had to finish the design process and present a working prototype in class. However, this experience also challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and implement design tools that I had not used before, as well as create a schedule to improve my time management skills. In terms of the design, I had to carefully research the impact of educational apps on children and find ways in which I could make the app as interactive and interesting as possible for the students, while also taking into account their level of English.
As a result of this experience, I learned that when designing a product for a younger age group, it is important to pay special attention to every detail in terms of design and content, since a minimum error could make the product useless. In conclusion, with this project, I hope to help students understand why we must recognize that all living beings deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. I want them to have the opportunity that I did not have to learn about speciesism in school. I also hope that by using the app, teachers will be able to use the content as resources for their classes and the quizzes as a way to assess students’ knowledge of these topics.
This project is extremely important and valuable to me, which is why I have committed to continue working on the app over the summer and to code it for Android and IOS so that students can use the app on tablets and IPads at school. With that said, I would also like to share that after meeting with the teachers and the principal of the elementary school I have been working with, they happily agreed to include the app in natural science classes for grades 3rd and 4th in 2022. This means that Animale will potentially impact 60 students in Paraguay!
Diana Vicezar ’24 is an international student from Paraguay. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, environmental activism and sustainability. She is an intended Computer Science and Economics double major and is currently working on projects related to User Experience Design.