Juhi Chakraverty and Simon Chen
4 months (May 2021 - August 2021)
Pen + Paper
A mobile app for parents of children in the LGBTQIA2S+ community to have playdates with other families.
During our second semester, our professor told us to design a platform with the theme of "bringing people together." To Juhi Chakraverty, this prompt really related to her, in fact, it related to both of us as we were both going through the pandemic without much interaction with our usual friend group and were looking for a sense of community.
I ended up choosing Endo, but Juhi decided to help out another community in need of representation and safe spaces. The LGBTQIA2S+ community has been a community struggling for safe spaces and acceptance amongst a cis-straight gendered society. Juhi and I empathized with parents who were either in the community or raising trans and non-binary children in the community who have a harder time making friends because they are constantly being misunderstood by society. We wanted to address this issue by giving parents a space to meet and have playdates to find other families with similar experiences as them in hopes to foster a community.
Parents of children who are gender diverse or a part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community often struggle with finding safe spaces and judgement-free spaces in their area. They often struggle to find other families with similar experiences to meet with and the lack of resources for parents who are raising children in this community is concerning.
The Proposed Solution
A platform that allows you to match with other families in the LGBTQIA2S+ community that share similar values and beliefs with you and chat to eventually schedule playdates and more meet-ups. The app also has a resource centre with the latest news about topics based on the user's choice as well as other important information.
I knew that in order to create this safe space for parents and their children, I would have to establish the voice and tone of the platform as well as do research as to what were proper terms to use, what users expect in the platform and what potential users may be comfortable sharing.
The Research— Gathering Insights
We knew that our target audience consisted of two groups: Parents who are a part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and Parents raising children in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. From this knowledge we sought out and conducted a small survey of 20 participants, all parents involved in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. We asked them about their comfortability with this idea, their familiarity with a platforms similar to this and what they expect from a platform like Proud Parent.
Here are some highlights from the survey:
1) 95% of participants said they have never heard of other platforms similar to Proud Parent and would be open to this idea as it will help them and their children make friends with other families easier and also help organize their playdates all in one app. Five percent said that they have heard of similar spaces using third-party social media platforms like Facebook groups, and MeetUp, a platform that is a place for people to meet in groups.
2) Some features mentioned that participants expected from this platform were: Location-based matching, anonymity (no external links to social media), a resource centre, and labels that were inclusive for people who had specific labels for their gender.
Based on the information we recieved in our survey, we created three personas to match our target audience and their children. With these personas in mind, creating content and using the right terminology and making sure the voice and tone across the platform is consistent and is familiar and relatable to our target user.
Voice and Tone
The overall voice of Proud Parent should be welcoming and informative. Proud Parent is a judgement-free platform for families from the LGBTQIA2S+ community to meet and plan playdates with their children. To gain the trust of parents, their children and the community we need to provide a voice that is inviting to everyone whether in the community or not. We also want to provide an informative resource centre for those who may be curious and need the information but don't know where to look for it.
The tone of the platform would be inviting, helpful and serious in some areas of the platform. Going through the sign-up process and going through the resource centre would be where parts of the platform are a bit serious, to make sure that users follow the instructions given to them and can clearly navigate certain areas of the platform. Ultimately, we hope that users can bring their fun personalities to their profiles to encourage a judgment-free and fun community on the app.
Content as a Conversation
Content is a conversation, is the creation of content in a way that is engaging and natural as if the user is having a conversation with the website.
In the case of Proud Parent, our success criteria includes:
Providing parents in the LGBTQIA2S+ community with the resources they need
Helping them match with families that align with their values and beliefs
Making the voice and tone to be inviting, clear, helpful, and informative.
Reassuring parents that they can trust Proud Parent to keep all of their information including pictures they choose to upload of their children, safe within their secure database.
Using a formula, we created these conversations that we can keep in mind when designing the content of the platform.
"If my purpose is to [complete a task].
The content I will need is [Required Content] because [Rationale].
The engagement is successful if [Sucess Criteria]”
In the case of the persona of Oliver, their needs are finding resources to help them understand raising a trans child. With Zoe, she wants to look for more families in her area that she can potentially become friends with and schedule playdates with.
Here are the Low-Fi wireframes that were created for the onboarding process of Proud Parent. We spent the most time on this section as the initial sign-up is what gives the first impression of the platform to potential users. From here we as designers really set the voice and tone of the platform and maintain its consistency throughout the app.
Using the voice and tone and previous conversations for the platform, I wrote a few more profiles of different families, their needs and goals and their bio's to show the representation of trans and non-binary children and their parents who would mainly frequent this platform.
Overall, This project really helped me understand the LGBTQIA2S+ community and I thank all of the experts and some of the participants that I had spoken with. I thank Juhi Chakraverty for trusting and believing that I can handle a project of this importance. I believe we are helping out the LGBTQIA2S+ community especially with Trans and Non-Binary identities by creating a platform for the future of the community, the children.
Finding the right terminology and providing instructions can be an incredibly difficult process, but allowing patience, room for mistakes and room for growth has taught me to be an even more empathetic designer and ensure that I properly advocate for the right of people no matter their sexuality or their backgrounds.