How might we make conversations around politics more comfortable to bridge the political divide?
1st Place, 24-hour Design Challenge
Fluxathon is a 24-hour design design challenge hosted every year at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Fluxathon 2018’s theme was “connecting a community.”
Bridge placed first out of ten talented teams. I worked with two other designers, and in the span of 24 hours we worked through ideation, low-fidelity wireframes, user testing, mid-fidelity wireframes, final high fidelity screens, a working prototype, and a video.
Fluxathon was an incredible experience and showed me just how much I could accomplish in 24 hours. It was the perfect ending to my quarter at SCAD.
Low and mid-fidelity wireframes
I was the design lead on this project, responsible for all wireframes and final screens. I worked with two other designers.
24-hour Interface Design Challenge
Savannah College of Art and Design
At 6 pm, we were given Fluxathon 2018’s theme, “Connecting a Community,” and three statistics we could choose to respond to. We focused on the following statistic about civic engagement.
In a nationwide survey conducted by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, less than 50% of Americans have directly taken part in civic engagement within their community within the last 12 months.
Keeping the theme of “connecting a community” in mind, we began thinking of the current political climate and how political differences are creating a divide in our communities.
We began by mind-mapping and brainstorming as many topics we could think of surrounding communities, politics, and civic engagement. This helped us narrow in on specific problems we wanted to try to solve. The question we used to guide the rest of our process was, “how might we make conversations around politics more comfortable to bridge the political divide?”
We conducted a brief survey with 101 respondents about their comfort in discussing politics with others. We worked as a team to write the survey, and the data was compiled by Angela, our team’s research lead.
Low-Fidelity Wireframes & User Testing
At this point, we knew we wanted to create a platform for people to talk about politics and discuss their differences in a non-confrontational way. We wanted to connect people and foster understanding through discussion. I began sketching low-fidelity wireframes to give our idea shape.
Insights from User Testing
We tested with three users, and, although brief, our user testing phase was incredibly helpful in the development of Bridge. The most important finding was that our current user flow and screen design did not emphasize the goal of our app. We wanted to connect users and foster discussion, yet the mechanism to start a new chat was very small on the screen. We made several changes in our mid-fidelity wireframes reflecting what we found through user testing.
After user testing, I made some key design changes in our mid-fidelity wireframes. Most notable was that our “home” screen now integrated user’s chat matches and suggested articles to learn more. We also added a “take action” screen to let users learn more about how to get involved in their community.
We considered several names throughout our design process, but ultimately settled on the name “bridge” because we want to bridge the political divide. Our brand lead, Cherie, directed the logo design process.
One of the most exciting aspects of our project was incorporating an AI assistant named BridgeBot to keep conversations safe and productive. I am very interested in AI, and enjoyed brainstorming potential features BridgeBot could bring to our project. Ultimately, we decided to introduce only the most feasible features and focused on using BridgeBot as a mediator and facilitator of discussion.
Our project culminated in over 20 screens, focusing on the core chat functionality of our app, but also an onboarding sequence, a profile page, and a “take action” page.
Once we finalized the screens, our research lead, Angela, created a clickable prototype in Principle. We each had the prototype loaded on our phones and had the Fluxathon judges interact with it when we unveiled our solution.