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Apart N'


Not so Random  Acts of Kindness
My Role: Researcher
Research, Concept Development, Wireframe & Prototype Design
Teammates: Hayoung Ra, Iren Liao, Sam Hartman, Sidhant Chopra, Wenjing Zhang, Yihui Wang, Mo Zhou, Pandian Chandra, Ren Liu,Yujia Zheng.
Team & Role
10 Weeks, 2020 Spring 
SCAD DMGT  - Sustainable Practices in Design, User Experience Design, Interaction Design,
Visual Design
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In a world changed by COVID-19, people quarantine at home for weeks or months, reducing social connection with others.  Loneliness, boredom and depression are on the rise as people are shut off from the world and their communities. 

The Solution

The Apart N' Together is a platform for communities to create innovative engagement toolkits that let people reconnect with each other emotionally and spiritually while adapting to a new normal through various innovative activities and ideas.

Final Deliverables

We designed Apart N' Together (ANT) online community, includes a website, social media accounts, multiple toolkits and branding.


01/ Overview  

Our Story

02/ Design Process

 Our Discover Journey


During the ten weeks process, we spent five weeks doing secondary & primary research to understand the challenges faced by people in their daily lives, and started by talking to a large spectrum of people to get a holistic understanding of the problems.

My role in the team is UX researcher:

1. Applying academic models to do research analysis: my main responsible includes Sen's Model, Affinitization, AUUDIO, and Casual Loop. I worked for organizing and analyzing data result through academic models from the social innovation course.

2. Participated in primary research works.  At the same time, I worked on kinds of primary research works to understand people's life effects due to the pandemic.

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Secondary Research-Sen's Model

In a group of 2, I was responsible for analyzing the secondary research result through Sen's Model, which includes redefining Sen's model for our topic, transferring our secondary research result into the model, and getting the insights.

What's Sen's Model

As Amartya Sen defines capabilities as “Capability is an aspect of freedom concentrating on substantive opportunities.”

We understood that If a person is able to achieve something that they set out to accomplish, the agency will likely increase their wellbeing. Enhanced feelings of well-being generate higher levels of the agency. Freedom of choice, freedom to do something, or freedom to do nothing along with achievement can create more freedoms.



  • Agency:  Means to be able to get information about COVID-19, means to avoid COVID-19. 

  • Achievement: To be able to reduce the effects of COVID-19 and to be able to eradicate it altogether.

  • Wellbeing: Being healthy physically and mentally. 

  • Freedom: Freedom to take decisions, freedom to do what one desires or freedom to not do anything.

1. Redefine Sen's Model for COVID-19: 

We defined the meaning of Agency, Freedom, Achievement and Well-being in the context of COVID-19.​

2. Set up the criteria for analyzing cases:

  • Do they have the freedom to attain well-being?

  • Are the means of achieving that well-being accessible to them?

  • Do they have the freedom to realize agency?

  • How likely are they to achieve Well-being?

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Fill out the model and analyze

We obtained 10 cases from IDEO’s open challenge website. We counted the total score of each part. 

We found that the Agency & Achievement got the lowest score, and the Agency & Freedom got the highest score. 

What we found

From the general score of each side,  we know that we need to hight Agency & Achievement and Agency & Freedom parts. 

We generated two HMW questions from this session to guild us to do the Primary Research works.

  • How might we engage people to protect themselves?

  • How might we motivate people to adopt the new normal life?

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03/ Secondary Research

Primary Research

Collect Data

At the primary research part, we chose to use fly on the wall, diary studies, behavioral mapping and personal interviews as key methodologies. 

Research Analysis

Final Analysis-AUUDIO

I worked on the AUUDIO session, include rebuilding the AUUDIO diagram,  transferring the 50 insights from previous research works to the AUUDIO diagram, and define the design opportunities as final research analysis insights.

The final analysis team consists of 4 people.


A sustainable business analysis tool 

Traditionally, an AUUDIO analysis is used in a corporate setting to spot issues or opportunities to create a more sustainable business. Usually, ten environmental issues are applied to five categories of a business; Aspects, Upstream, Downstream, Issues, and Opportunities.

How we applied 

1. Re-explaining AUUDIO to fit in our content

We took the backbone of an AUDIO analysis and rebuilt it into a better way of listening to the people affected by COVID-19.


2.  Re-explaining Ms. Nussbaum's 10 Central Capabilities and adding in AUUDIO

We redefined Ms. Nussbaum's 10 Central Capabilities to fit in our work.

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3. Create a sheet for the final analysis

We created a sheet based on AUUDIO and Ms. Nussbaum's 10 Central Capabilities for filling out our 50 insights from previous research works. And then we got the design opportunity from this sheet.

What we found

So we got 10 design opportunities from this sheet. After several rounds of discussion, we decided to focused on these four opportunity zones. Finally, we got the final HMW question and three sub-questions.

How might we leverage creativity and thoughtfulness to nurture each other emotionally and spiritually while adapting to a new normal?

  • How might we engage people to plan their lives during the pandemic?

  • How might we lower screen time by encouraging physical while still engaging with others and respecting social distancing regulations?

  • How might we thoughtfully learn to prepare ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities to sustain our lives post-pandemic lockdown?

Core Feature

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How it works

I made two Service Encounter maps to organize our key concepts step by step. Our core concept is divided into two parts, play the toolkit and create a toolkit. 


04/ Ideation

During this part, the whole team members have participated in the ideation session.

Finally, we got 20 ideas and we started thinking to gather all ideas into a platform named Apart N' Together

Want to spread happiness?

To spread the activities across the globe and involve a larger group of people,  we created social media handles to act as marketing tools for us to inform people about the initiative. Our activities and also a place for people to share their engagement pictures with us. 

05/ Final Concept

Macbook Pro & Air Device Mockups (Commun

ANT Website

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Social Accounts

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Click the link to know more: 


We provides kinds of toolkits for people to find happiness in community. 

We provides template to guide

people create activities by themselves.

Want to have some fun?

Want to create some fun?

If we have time...

During the ten weeks class process, we generated 10 toolkits. We designed a Decision Matrix to help us to plot our ideas on different parameters. The decision matrix includes cost, effort, scalability, and contact with others as we wanted to come up with an idea that is not costly, requires the least effort and that could be easily scaled for different communities across the globe keeping the social distancing guidelines in mind.

After the course, we hope to have opportunities to prototype our toolkits in our community based on our decision matrix.

My Reflections

Like, in a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. 

As a service designer, I worked as a design researcher on the team. The most important thing I learned from this project is how to combine academic knowledge with methodologies. Like, in a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. I felt no entirely the same toolkits for analyzing research results. I learned how to redefine and co-create the visualization map with stakeholders, to understand the topic. 

06/ Future Development & Reflection

Future Development

Hey wait, there is one more>

Wanna say something?

Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me and my projects. Always happy to chat.

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