Since the pandemic changed social interactions and shifted us into a digital social sphere, real-time engagement has become necessary to maintain community and keep people together. How can real-time engagement innovate and be a solution to something new?

Protothon, 3rd Place Winner
Project Manager, Lead Designer
Adobe XD, Figma
How can we use real-time engagement capabilities to create something unique and valuable?
project timeline for gnito
our team

For this design challenge, my team consisted of my colleagues, Jeanette Andrews, Moe Hay Mar Kaung and I. As project manager and lead designer, I developed our product concept and created our prototype, managing UX designs. Jeanette beautifully oversaw our UI and user flow. Moe Hay was lead UX Researcher and Strategist and did a wonderful job gathering insights and developing our qualitative research process, and handling our final pitch deck.

project context
personal values, real-world relevance, and critical observations translate into utilizing skills to support, protect, and uplift, respond to current needs and social climate, and recognizing gaps in technology and areas for improvement

Prompted to think outside the box and design a new mobile application that utilizes real time engagement features, our team combined creativity with social values to direct our ideation process. Since the context of our challenge was a 24-hour hackathon, we were limited in our research to discover opportunities in the market to use a competitive analysis approach. Viewing this “limitation” as an opportunity to look inwards, our team prototyped a product valuable to everyday people rather than as a response to typical market research.

We were able to do this by focusing on two goals: responding to current social climate and its needs, and observing technology’s role in society and recognizing room for improvement.

Gnito is a live-streaming and video editing application that allows activists to harness social media and identity/object recognition to share information, protect themselves and their community, and hold instigators accountable. Thanks to Agora's real-time engagement software, Gnito is a powerful tool for everyday people.

ideation & desk research

Our team wanted to create something for a market that we were familiar with, as we had minimal time to do user research. We decided to focus on a demographic we identified with, users with marginalized identities not often prioritized in market research. We decided we would focus on younger users, as existing popular real time engagement platforms included social media and other communication apps and software.

compilation of news article headlines showcasing increase in use of face ID software by cops

Reflecting on the gaps in social media services that cater to younger users, we thought about the way activism has utilized social media to share important, sensitive information with millions of people around the globe. However, there was a cost to such sharing – activists' identities were being made vulnerable as their faces were being circulated along with videos of protests and infamous encounters.

We did desk research on this issue as well as talked to 5 BIPoC* activists and protest goers.

*BIPoC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

research learnings such as law enforcement access to face ID software, unlawful behavior of cops, arrests happening when protestors don't make physical contact, easy identification of protestors, and more
problem discovery

Protestors, activists, witnesses, and victims should feel safer when sharing video evidence of abusive or discriminatory behavior in order to expose the perpetuator. Often times, police use protest videos meant to share information to make unlawful arrests on peaceful protestors.

We wanted to create an a streaming and video-sharing app that could be used just like the ones we're used to, but provide the opportunity to protect people who are sometimes made vulnerable being included in shared media.

strategic innovation

Upon discovering opportunity, we used a strategic approach to innovation to decide on the viability of our product before designing. We defined the challenges, considered solutions, and asked ourselves if those solutions were durable.

user personas

After interviewing a handful of young BIPoC activists, we created a user persona, Alexis, to orient our goals for our app.

alexis, our user persona, wants to protect her community by demanding accountability, protecting identities, and sharing events, but struggles to balance all goals

user flow
user flow
user journey
user journey
main challenge

Throughout our design process, we kept in mind this question. This allowed us to focus on interactive design's role in our design process, as we gained insight into how potential users may engage with an app like ours based on their mixed experiences with existing streaming apps (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc). I'll discuss how this translated to our design later in Design Decisions.

We faced a challenge that was new to our team, which made this project an immensely valuable experience. Our users were in highly stimulated environments and at threat of danger or losing access to their devices. This is not a usual concern when creating designs, and our team was put to think creatively and empathetically in order to create an effective app design.

After discovering our design principles, we focus on creating an intuitive and quick decision-making process. As observed in design laws such as Hick's Law, the a simplified and narrow decision-making path is important in Gnito's circumstance.

style guide & logo
style guide and logo: red and black theme based on classic record button colors and name, gnito, derived from the word "incognito"
client goals

The prompt that our team chose was the Enterprise track, meaning we had to create an app that met their goals. Our client was Agora, a "leading video, voice and live interactive streaming platform, helping developers deliver rich in-app experiences—including embedded voice and video chat, real-time recording, interactive live streaming, and real-time messaging." To remind you, our prompt was to "think outside of the box and design an enterprise Real Time Engagement (RTE) mobile or web application that showcases how Agora’s video conferencing/voice/streaming/messaging solutions can be used."

We studied the different RTE solutions that Agora offered, which allowed us to optimize our app and provide a wide breadth of features while utilizing Agora's services in a unique way.

RTE applications and app features, including live video streaming becoming real-time recording, facial masking becoming face blurring, and object detection becomes badge identification, amongst others

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