© 2020 Joanne Lee. All Rights Reserved

"I began to believe voices in my head- that I was a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable." 

Lana Wachowski, Speech from the Human Rights Campaign, Oct. 20, 2012

Inspired by the vibrant LGBTQ+ community, this project explores designing an experience that facilitates healthy online conversations between queer individuals and the straight community. 

Info

Duration: 4 weeks, 2018

Software: Adobe Xd, Sketch, Photoshop, Keynote

Key Roles: UI/UX Design, Design Research, Visual Design, Branding, Prototyping​​​​​​​

Process

Establish learning goals

Define design context
Conduct initial secondary research 

Define problem space

Design prototypes: part 1 & 2

User testing & redesign final solution

Key Features

Pronoun Prompt: iOS Mobile 

This feature of smart autocorrect gives the option to specify one’s preferred pronoun when messaging someone new.

Seen Feature & Auto Correct

The seen feature is a micro interaction that verifies one has seen the other's pronoun. 

When a user refers to a friend by their pronoun, autocorrect suggests their preferred pronoun incase one forgets.

Prompted at Every New Conversation

To respect an individual’s need to keep their pronoun private to certain individuals, the prompts appears at every conversation.​​​​​​​

Learning Goals

Before diving into the project, I set goals for myself to improve on design research by engaging with communities I have limited knowledge about. Secondly, since I am a perfectionist, I wanted to practice the iterative process of prototyping.  

Set goals

Overcomechallenges

Make improvements

Grow as a

designer

LGBTQ+ Community

The LGBTQ+ community is a largely underrepresented community and studies show an increase of individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. 

increasing rate of lgbt.png

Increased Discomfort

However, there are minimal systems in place for LGBT to experience a non-discriminate lifestyle. Within America, there is an increased discomfort amongst the Southern communities that prohibits a lack of understanding between LGBT and straight community. 

I focused on going deeper into the discomforts within the straight community. 🏳️‍🌈For this project, I designed for facilitating healthy conversations between LGBT individuals and their community.

LGBTDiscomfortGraph_0.png

Initial Prototypes

Starting from sketches to high fidelity prototypes, I had a conversation with LGBTQ+ individuals to see if these ideas addressed their needs.

Practice Makes Perfect

An app that provides personalized questions

for individuals to prepare for coming out.

Each Step of the Way

A scheduling app of surgical procedures 

and notified one's chosen community.

Not Alone

A community enhancement app that 

pairs an individual with a life coach to help

with coming out.

Point of Realization

These ideas were not helpful! 

My assumptions mislead me to solutions that did not address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Thus, I continued the conversation with LGBT individuals to correct my assumptions and gain more knowledge. 

1st Assumption 

Every LGBT person has a coming out experience.

2nd Assumption 

LGBT individuals must feel the need to explain themselves everyday.

3rd Assumption 

One person can speak for all LGBT individuals.

"There's no such thing as "coming out." I am who I am since birth. "Coming out" indicates we made a change or a transition when that isn't the case."

"I never feel the need to explain myself but I always have to. People mistreat me so often that I have to explain myself for protection or to "fit in."

"This is not true! We're all one of a kind. One gay person cannot speak for another gay person as our values and experiences are unique."

Research Protocol

Questions I've written before:

1. How long have you been openly queer? 

2. What were the changes you had to embark to become who you are now? 

3. How often do you have to explain who you are to someone? 

4. In your past experience, what has been the most positive experience of someone in your community accepting who you are?

Improved questions without assumptions:

1. Have you always been open about your sexuality? 

2. What has the journey been like to get to where you are today?

3. When you meet someone new, how do you usually introduce yourself?

4. When you’ve discussed being queer with your (friends/family/coworkers, etc), how did it go?​​​​​​​

Second Round of Prototypes

After conducting user research with the improved protocol, I iterated my goal to one that narrowed down the scope of my design which was: How might we properly acknowledge individuality within everyday conversations?

1. Resources App

2. AI Voice Assistant 

3. Pronouns in iOS

Second Round of Feedback

Upon making these iterations, I brought these prototypes to the same 3 individuals to gain insight of the usefulness of these ideas. 

Detected Problem: Microaggressions

Supporting the LGBTQ+ community involves the responsibility of acknowledging one’s identity through the way we speak. Microaggressions are what takes place when one is not aware of another’s pronoun which invalidates their identity. 

This example is a conversation where one’s pronoun is forgotten and they have to go the extra mile to correct them. 

How this Effects the Larger Picture

Individuality is largely underserved because as a society, we are taught to distinguish one another through gender and appearance. To unlearn what is deeply embedded in the way we communicate, smart autocorrect and micro-interactions can be placed within our digital space. 

Next Steps: Combat Gendered Terms

A way to move forward is to incorporate the same awareness into gendered terms that we use in our daily conversations. 

These are a couple examples that provide the opportunity to utilize smart autocorrect to address without assumptions of gender.

Man-made

Freshman

Manpower

Businessman

Waitress

Forefathers

Handmade

First-year student

Workforce

Businessperson

Server

Ancestors

User Testing

"All of these ideas require the individual to reach out to their community. We already do plenty of explaining in our everyday lives."

 

—  Poet, CCA Student

A reflection of my biases

Since I am a straight individual designing for a community I am not part of, I knew I could not design this alone. 

I worked with a LGBT individual to filter out the assumptions within the research protocol.

User Testing

"I enjoy the 3rd idea, especially because many people do not ask for my pronoun. People assume by the way I look and it's tiring for me to constantly prove my identity to them."

—  Entertainer, Drag Queen