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FEELINGS CHOPSTICKS

A product to bridge generations gap and improve communication

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Background

This piece was designed as part of my MS HCDE 518 course  User-Centered Design instructed by Prof. Daniella Kim.

The project is a showcase of my understanding of the design thinking process in a team setting. The solution was arrived at by undertaking the design thinking process deep-rooted in empathy. The theme this year was "Do No Harm".

Project Brief

Prompt

How can we bridge the cultural and generational gap between Chinese-American young adults and their immigrant parents ?

Solution

A smart product that nudges story sharing during meal time. It has a simple conversation-starter mechanism tied to past experiences and emotions.

Team

Adhiraj Gorule, Shirley Zhang

Vaishali Vashisht, Wenxin Wang

My Role

UX Generalist

My Contribution

Primary Research, Empathy Building, Ideation, Wireframing, Prototyping, Usability Testing.

Duration

9 weeks (Oct 03 - Dec 05)

Problem Space

Many second generation Asian-Americans  face unique struggles when trying to communicate and maintain a healthy relationship with their parents.

These conflicts are linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression for both parents and children.

01

According to the 2020 Census, Asians are also the fastest growing population in the United States, with 57% being foreign born.

02

03

The bicultural families face challenges in the parent-child relationship due to an acculturation gap.

Initial Design Question

How can we bridge the cultural and generational gap between Chinese-American young adults and their immigrant parents ?

Constraints and limitations also defined why we scoped down this particular design problem. The following constraints were considered while crafting our design question:

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  • Limited project timeline led us to cater to only a specific section within Asian-Americans.

  • Accessibility to potential users (friends and batchmates)

Timelined Design Process

Research

Design

Showcase

Oct 24

Oct 31

Nov 07

Nov 28

Dec 05

Ideate

Brainstorm, Shortlist Ideas, Story Boarding

Empathize

Literature review, Market Research, Survey, Semi-structured Interview.

Define

Affinity Mapping, Scope Outlining, User Personas, Target Audience, Redefine problem statement 

Implement

Wireframing, Sitemap, Information Architecture, Prototype

Iterate

Usability Studies, Feedback Implementation

Iterate

Usability Studies, Feedback Implementation

Empathize

Empathize

Three different research methodologies were undertaken to understand the problem statement. We moved from broad observations to individual discussions to better understand the challenges faced by people.

Research Methodology #1: Surveys

SETTING

Our target audience are second generation Chinese-American children from the age group 18-25. We gathered 32 survey responses using Google Forms and we identified all the potential user groups through social media and personal networks. There are four main focuses: Language, communication, cultural value differences, and company & knowledge of parents’ life experiences. 

Click here to view the survey.

OBSERVATIONS

01

Discussing a wider range of topics with parents show signs of a decrease in the frequency of conflicts

02


Knowing about parents’ life experiences can decrease the parent-child conflict frequency

03

Deeply comprehending and empathizing with parents’ cultural values promotes effective communications

04

Language barrier is not a critical cause of conflicts between Chinese Americans and their parents.

TAKEAWAYS

Less than half of the participants were able to effectively communicate with their parents. Very few understood their parents cultural values which led to conflicts.

Research Methodology #2: Literature Review & Competitive Product Survey

SETTING

We first used literature review to understand the problem space better. We wanted to understand what challenges are uniquely faced by Asian American families, what factors contribute to these challenges, and how people can address them. It should be noted that these papers are mostly focused on Chinese-American families with adolescent children. We also analyzed existing products in the market that cater to this problem.

OBSERVATIONS

Most existing products for this problem space were either board games or card games

01


The products became redundant when the members of the family were not staying together

02

03

All the products were based on the idea of story sharing

TAKEAWAYS

While these products worked as great conversation starters between the family, seperate time needed to be allocated to play these games with the family, which may prove to be intrusive. We further validated this assumption through surveys and user interviews.

Research Methodology #3: Semi-structured Interviews

SETTING

Our target audience are second generation Chinese-American children from the age group 18-25. We used Google Forms for creating our survey and we identified all the potential user groups through social media and personal networks.

OBSERVATIONS

01

Discussing a wider range of topics with parents show signs of a decrease in the frequency of conflicts

Knowing about parents’ life experiences can decrease the parent-child conflict frequency

02

03

Deeply comprehending and empathizing with parents’ cultural values promotes effective communications

04

Language barrier is not a critical cause of conflicts between Chinese Americans and their parents.

Define
Web capture_1-7-2023_83637_www.adigorule.com.jpeg

Define

Three different research methodologies were undertaken to understand the problem statement. We moved from broad observations to individual discussions to better understand the challenges faced by people.

Affinity Mapping & Research Findings

We employed affinity mapping to find themes from the interview. Link to view the Board: 

https://miro.com/app/board/uXjVPIy8Nak=/?share_link_id=818612638711

01

Conversation Breadth

Children don't know what to talk about
with their parents during conversations

My First Board (4).jpg
My First Board (5).jpg

Its difficult to share emotions with parents

Knowing about the parents values would help me understand their perspective

My First Board (6).jpg
My First Board (7).jpg

02

Children would like to get to know their parents better; beyond being just mom and dad

03

My First Board (8).jpg

Families bond and feel closest while having meals together

My First Board (9).jpg

04

There's sometimes a language barrier

05

Parents should be more involved in their child's life but in an uncontrolled manner

My First Board (10).jpg
My First Board (11).jpg

06

Most conversations between families happen over text rather than calls

Redefined Design Question

We started this project with a broad goal of improving relationships between Asian Americans and their parents. We refined our design question from “How can we improve communication between Asian Americans and their parents?” to :

How can we encourage 2nd gen Chinese American young adults and their parents to share emotions and feelings regarding their life experiences.

Specifically, this project’s scope evolved through the design process to focus on mitigating the impact of acculturation gap on parent-child relationship by leveraging story sharing.

User Personas

From the insights generate via research, interview, and surveys, we created three user personas.

Ideate

Ideate

Everyone brainstormed and sketched at least 6 ideas. We then collectively fleshed out each idea, and choose top three based on originality, feasibility, and effectiveness.

ideation and sketch (2)_Page_08_edited.jpg

An intelligent photo album that facilitates life moments sharing

01

An intelligent photo album that facilitates sharing pictures and memories with family members. This intelligent photo album aims to encourage family members to share their life experiences and feelings with the help of pictures as visual aids. It collects and preserves memories for the family by recording the stories and emotions behind each picture.

ideation and sketch (2)_Page_11_edited.jpg

FEELINGS DISHES

An original product that nudges story sharing during meal time. This is a simple conversation starter mechanism tied to past experiences and emotions. During meal time, each member of the family will share a memory associated with their desired topic and emotion combination. It uses colors and shapes to represent emotions.

02

ideation and sketch (2)_Page_14_edited.jpg

03

A value-centered card game interlaced with personal stories. This game helps players discover value differences by having everyone state how much they agree or disagree with a particular statement. It borrows from existing games like ‘Middle Ground’ and ’Parents are Human’.

VALUES CARD GAME

Final Shortlisted Idea

We decided to further develop Idea 02 ‘Feeling dishes’ concept based on these 3 requirements:

01

Product should focus on life experiences, values, and emotion sharing

The product should make bonding feel very natural instead of like a task or making it awkward

02

03

The product should be able to archive stories to act as a repository of memories

Storyboarding

After going through all the problems area and ideating on possible solutions, we listed down feature list and scenarios in which users will use our product. We used storyboarding as a medium to explore different scenarios and the user journey users will follow while interacting with the product. This helped us further on developing user flow for the product.

Implement

Implement

User Flow

The aim is to construct a content and navigation system in a way that makes easy for the user to adjust to the functionality of the product and find everything they need without many efforts. We worked in depth to understand how the navigation would be structured and to ensure content is in place where user would expect to find it.