U-Pride

An app for LGBTQ+ communities at the University of Toronto

Overview

This is an in-course project. 

Our team designed an online community for LGBTQ+ students at the University of Toronto.

The project went through a complete iterative design process and ended with a medium-fidelity prototype.

Role

I participated in every step in the design process, while focusing more on user research, ideation, and prototyping.

Duration

Four Months

(September - December, 2019)

Tools

Balsamiq, Canvas, Powtoon

Team

Casey Wu (me)

Jason Quay

Yuchen Wang

Jullian Spencer

Problem

LGBTQ+ students at the University of Toronto generally experience a lack of connection and loneliness.

Solution

U-Pride empowers LGBTQ+ students by offering a safe space to make connections and facilitating the friend-making process. 

 

Design Process

User Research
Empathy Map
Ideation
Sketching
Prototyping
Evaluation
 
 

User Research

In order to understand what users need, we conducted user research through three methods.

Secondary Research: We gathered information from national surveys, academic journals, and online communities.
Online Survey: We recruited UofT students who self-identify as LGBTQ+ and got more than 30 responses.
Interview: We conducted semi-structured interviews with UofT students who self-identify as LGBTQ+.

We identified their need and obstacles.

67%

of LGBTQ+ students want to connect with each other.

80%

of LGBTQ+ students feel the lack of social resources.

"It’s important to find the community and be a part of it. "

"LGBT groups are very closed and exclusive."

Empathy Map

Based on the result of the user research, we realized that most of our target users have common needs and desires.

So, We created the persona, Alex.

2019-12-11 13.12.26 pra01026.xtensio.com

Persona Alex

To better understand our users - Alex, we mapped out her current experience with an empathy map and a storyboard.

0001 (1).jpg

Empathy Map

as is (1).png

Storyboard

Based on the analysis of the above, we concluded three main problems of the current LGBTQ+ community in UofT.

Decentralized Information

Information about LGBTQ+ culture on campus is little and scatters around.

Disorganized Events

LGBTQ+ events on campus are limited and sometimes poorly organized.

Loose Community

There aren't enough services or resources to facilitate the social connections within the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

 

Ideation

Our team came up with several solutions to solve the problems.

We voted on them based on their feasibility and impact and made a prioritization grid.

ideation (1).jpg

According to the result of the prioritization grid, we identified three key features in our product.

Event Finder

Alex can find all the LGBTQ+ events organized by campus groups on the platform and be recommended events based on schedule, location, and themes.

Connection Recommender

Alex can be suggested potential connections based on future event attendance, shared interests, and other commonalities.

Conversation  Initiator

Alex can get suggestions on how to start conversations that are based on shared interests and be nudged to follow up at just the right time.

 
 

Sketching

Based on three key features, we draw out three storyboards to show the user flows.

Prototyping

I made a medium-fidelity prototype using Balsamiq to present all the three main features.

Event Finder

Students can find all the LGBTQ+ events on campus in U-Pride.

They can also filter events based on locations, time, interest, and browsing history.

Connection Recommender

U-Pride will connect users who have attended the same event together, and tell them what common interests they have.

Conversation Initiator

Don't know how to start a conversation? U-Pride can help! 

We give suggestions about opening lines based on users' common interests.

We also designed two other features to improve the user experience.

UTORid Login

U-Pride is a product specifically designed for UofT students.

 

So, users are given the only option to sign in with their student number, which is UTORid.

Safe Community

U-Pride allows users to report unfriendly users.

After reporting, users are also able to delete and block the other user.

 

Evaluation

U-Pride was welcomed by a lot of UofT students in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Comments include  "The app can really solve my problem" and "I can't wait for something like this."

However, the professor and industry professionals also pointed out some of the deficiencies of our project, such as the scale of the user research and potential privacy issues for vulnerable groups.

 

What I learned

  • User-centrism relies on user research. We need more participants for a more accurate user research result.

  • Target the users. We should pay more attention to the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ students on campus and design for their special needs.​

  • Participation in the end-to-end design process is essential; however, knowing my strengths and focusing on them can contribute more to the project.

Like what you see? Let's connect! 

  • Black LinkedIn Icon