Queery is a friendly website which aims to reframe the public perception of the LGBTQ community, and welcome individuals who may be struggling with their gender and sexuality. Person-to-person support is offered by verified volunteers, while knowledge is shared through LGBTQ-related personal experiences and facts.
Mar 2016 | 1 months
Individual Project | Saber Zhang
Role | Generative Research, ideation, visual design, UI/UX
Software | prototyped with Sketch, Story made with Adobe Illustrator
Objective: Generative Research
Identify LGBTQ adults, age 50 and above that are marginalized in society, and conduct exploratory and participatory research with them. ( Team Project, check out more about this research on my teammate, Andres Hurtado's portfolio). With the input collected, I conducted generative research, brainstormed ideas with young participants who identify with LGBTQ community, and ultimately conceptualized a solution that I felt should be pursued.
Generative Research Process
Media's Stereotypical Portrayal of LGBTQ
From my participatory research and personal yearning for a support network, there is a desire for a cross-generation exchange in LGBTQ-related knowledge since most of the interviewees felt they gained an inaccurate impression of LGBTQ from the mass media.
Therefore, there is an opportunity to bring a less biased representation that will inspire society to view LGBTQ community without the media’s portrayal and empowers the youth to find their place in society.
How might we bring a less biased
representation of LGBTQ to
the younger generation?
Set design principle
To make my research goal explicit,
I set up two design principles.
Allow people to show their genuine sexuality and/or gender identity
Help portray LGBTQ people in a way that defeats stereotypes
Persona: Now, Let's meet Tom!
Generation Z is endowed with rich accessible online information, yet suffering from differentiating between false and reliable information. This led my interest in building a platform for them to access the unbiased knowledge. Now, let's meet Tom!
"why do I want to hold my best friend’s hand? "
Tom is a primary school student.
Tom lives in a conservative area. Tom was taught well about heterosexuality from textbooks, but unfamiliar with homosexuality.
He mainly knows gay people from the media, through television shows and movies.
Tom is confused about his sexuality since he feels attracted to
Tom wants to discover more about his sexuality and identity.
Tom struggles with his own sexuality, he is confused about the image represented on the media about LGBTQ.
Initial Rough Concept: Queery Chatbot
I was inspired by the interactive and engaging nature of the media and extracted these qualities to craft my solution and I wish someone can tell me it is ok to be confused about my gender identity when I was a teenager, which in my eyes validates the necessity of this chatbot. Below is the storyboard for how the user would experience the chatbot.
Then the questions came up
As the rough concept settled, I pushed forward my idea with more details. Some questions about Queery came up through my peer reviews.
Seek answers with participants
To get the answers, I collaborated with three people in their 20s who identified themselves with LGBTQ to find what they are expecting from the chatbot. To mine out my participants' creativity and thoughts, I developed four toolkits: Journey Map, Impact Ranking, Wishlist Table and Queery co-creation.
Share your experience related to
During the journey map activity, participants drew out their experience related to LGBTQ stereotypes throughout their lives. This activity serves not only as a warm-up for their later co-design activity but also for me to get to know them and ask more personal questions.
Dylan, 18 years old
Labria, 19 years old
Yoka, 25 years old
Identified as pansexual, gender fluid
Identified as gay, gender fluid
Identified as queer, woman
“ I am inspired by the come-out video by youtubers ”
“ Postive talk should be empowered in LGBTQ club ”
“ I cannot find any media talks about pansexual! ”
Measure the impact of media's portrayal of LGBTQ
In the impact ranking, participants valued the impact of different media on their identification with LGBTQ.
During this activity, I found a common hesitation of ranking since some media have the complexity of both positive and negative impacts. They also held different attitudes toward the same subject. Dylan thought LGBTQ Youtuber inspired him to be himself while Labria thought these Youtubers reinforced the stereotypes.
For the wishlist table, participants shared common expectations from different sources. They also got a diverse point of view which contributed to a better representation of LGBTQ community. For example, Labria suggested interspecies learning of sexuality in education to inform students about the commonality of sexuality in nature.
Co-creation was the most engaging activity. Participants designed from their specialties. For example, Yoka focused on how to convey the information since she specialized in Communication while Labria, an animator, sketched out a user-friendly interface.
Synchronizing participants' insightful design
In the class, our projects ended at co-creation. To make the concept more concrete, I synthesized the insights below from the research:
Multiple sources are needed for Queery to provide less biased information about LGBTQ.
Personal stories from people who share the similar experiences are powerful.
Quick and concise knowledge is needed for comprehension.
Based on these insights, I split Queery to three different functions: Experiencing with stories, Chatting with volunteers and learning from reliable and factual knowledge.
Originally, I was thinking about doing three chatbots but after several feedbacks, I realized that the search engine is better for the story and learning section, with an additional messenger component. The final form for Queery is a website which carries all the functions.
Website Rough Prototype
The website prototype below mainly serves for the comic that I used as the introduction of Queery. There are still a lot of research I need to do in order to understand the achievability.
It provides users with topic-based stories in different forms—audio, articles and videos.
It provides users with structured knowledges about the topic.
It provides users the community support of
LGBTQ. Users can start the conversation with volunteers in this chatbot.
Propose this idea to LGBTQ organizations.
Learn more about how search engines work.
There is a larger concept behind Queery which is to present the knowledge in concise and less biased ways. To fully understand this broad concept, I need to learn more about Learning.
Never limit your mind to one form.
Since I was doing chatbot, in the beginning, I struggled a lot to seek for forms instead of the real usage. This made me realize the importance of opening your mind along the design process.
People are creative.
This is my first long-term research project that feeds my curiosity about LGBTQ and the power of community. In my environment, people have the urge to tell their own stories to help others after that. By using the innovative toolkits, I am able to direct participants and get creative insights and solutions from them. I am really surprised by how creative my participants are and what kind of problems I overlooked. Research is powerful, it cannot only enlarge what you can think of both in scale and depth, but also help you learn to see through others' eyes.