Anti-Discrimination App

Anti-Discrimination App

I designed an app focusing on community wellness through prevention and healing, not community policing. Data gathered revealed that people want a community approach to handling discriminatory encounters when possible.


Horrified by the recorded acts of violence and murder like those of George Floyd, our clients created a digital service framework. This digital service had the potential to report, track, address or avoid acts of aggression, intimidation, and violence related to identity.

My team's role was to ensure the client's mapping app could improve communities tormented by identity-related hostile acts.

Content design: "I focused on writing and rewriting report prompts that made participants comfortable filling out details related to a possibly traumatic experience."

Finding Patterns In Discrimination

Around 7,750 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. took place in the wake of George Floyd's death between May 26 and August 22. Video recordings, frustration with the government response, and social media, contributed to the nationwide uprising.

Our initial kick-off meeting made it clear reporting identity-triggered violent acts, understanding the public responses to encounters, and researching apps in this domain were critical next steps.

Surveys helped to retrieve data on incident locations, their frequency, and an assessment of how willing people are to get involved when they are witnesses to discriminatory aggression.

In addition to surveys, interviews with a diverse pool of candidates told us discriminatory conflicts they experienced or had witnessed. As we combined insights from interviews into a collective affinity map, the needs were apparent. People sought accountability without police involvement and an expressed need for community and a wide range of resources. These resources included but were not limited to sharing stories, finding safe spaces, de-escalation techniques, and recovery techniques.

Participants shared experiences on race, sexual orientation, country of origin, and other aspects of their identity, revealing the array of emotions people feel during an incident.

Apps in this space varied in branding and goals ranging from police accountability to neighborhood surveillance. As we moved into defining our strategy, I wanted to examine what features stood out, when someone would likely use it, and its long-term community influence.

Going forward, it was vital for us to keep our features user-centered on community support and community response. We learned that most interviewees grew weary of relying on traditional systems for support or incident intervention.

Collecting Requirements And Exploring Opportunities

Now equipped with data from the survey, interviews, and more intimate comprehension of how people are affected by acts of aggression, I ran through scenarios to understand these events' lifecycle.We envisioned the stakeholder needs, witnesses' stories, and the survivors' needs to discover opportunities to improve the community circumstances.

With feasibility and scale in mind, there appeared to be three areas of opportunity:

1) helping in the moment of crises, 2) education around discriminatory acts and 3) fostering community.

Solution: Provide a digital service for visibility, support, and storytelling, to gather meaningful data and empower targeted communities with tools around the moment of crisis.

What we knew:
• Stakeholders want to incorporate their developed map.
• The people involved are usually witnesses, a victim/survivor, and a perpetrator.
• Our users expressed a strong need for community support, safety, resolve without police involvement, and education resources.
• Opportunities exist beyond the moment of crises to make a change.

Defining Requirements

Because most witnesses and those targeted have access to mobile phones, we sketched many mobile app solutions. As we sketched our ideas and thought about the lifecycle of an incident, it seemed as though the service had many opportunities outside the onset of an event.

At The Moment Of Crisis / Design around conflict

After carefully dissecting a targeted person's confrontation, and a witness', we decided we can't design for the moment of crisis. Sketching iterative features and returning to our journey map exposed out-of-scope ideas.

It is tough to resolve pain points at that moment for frightened users. The client could also be held liable and user accessibility unpredictable in such a tense moment. There are liability issues, it may not be an optimal time for those targeted to use their phone, and all involved are in a heightened state of stress. We concluded the most beneficial features for support revolved around the moment of crises, not at the moment itself. This posed fewer risks for all involved.

Mapping and reporting for accountability

A central theme in all of our interviews was accountability. We blame society for our problems, but we are our society. When terrible acts happen, people, including authorities, can be more vigilant to create positive change in their communities when acts of aggression are highlighted as a problem.

Getting the language right

Forms are often an afterthought, and the chosen words for underrepresented communities are outdated. The app will be used by people who have either been in or around traumatic situations, so I wanted to empower them by asking them, not telling them what they must select. In turn, I was hoping to gain trust and avoid drop-offs. Prompts in the reporting form were written to be welcoming, with a warm aesthetic in the first person to emulate users speaking about themselves.

Instead of simply "select your gender," "Which gender do you identify" feels more inclusive and engages the users to finish the sentence.

This primary feature assumes that communities will make an intentional effort to positively respond to areas where people face frequent prejudiced acts. This feature also provides caution to vulnerable people of places to avoid.

A common theme was distrust in police and fear that, when called upon, they exacerbate the situation, changing the confrontation into a possibly lethal one. Reporting through the app and working with non-profit organizations focuses on community wellness, not community policing.

People who experience discriminatory acts or aggressions don't want to be reduced to a statistic or general headline. In Stories, users post their experiences to spread awareness, gain community acknowledgment of challenges, and foster community support.

The services tab helps people know their legal options, mental health organizations, and various identity-related support groups. Post moment of crisis, it is essential to get support for any possible trauma or to know what options are available.

Testing For Community Validation

Overall, testing was positive, and the feeling of warmth and hope shined through in the final MVP. Some points of friction were the less actionable stories and the filtering method of the services page.


We learned that designing for the moment of crisis puts the user already in a stressful situation, possibly at even greater risk, and increases liability issues for the product owners.

This app strategically reduces the damage and frequency of identity-triggered discriminatory acts. It will prevent acts of violence by providing de-escalation techniques and education on assessing situations before they reach the moment of crisis. It also gives pragmatic direction to support the survivors of these awful acts.

If Given More Time

Possibly have some form similar to the report flow that helps filter service types for the user.

Create onboarding flow that has more explanation of app purpose

Possibly create a new landing/home page that functions as stories/reports feed

Revisit purpose of stories page and conduct further research

Implement better filtering or search bar for services page

Anti-Discrimination App

Anti-Discrimination App

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