Say What You See (SWYS) is a digital activity that facilitates young professionals in emotional management and resolving interpersonal conflicts at the workplace. SWYS utilizes a collaborative drawing interface to encourage people to draw, talk and share about conflicts, and finally reach a common starting point for resolving conflicts.
08/2021 - 12/2021
Figma, Qualtrics, Excel
Led the design and iteration of user flows, wireframes, and prototypes
Designed the methods of using prototypes in user evaluations
Conducted literature reviews and the online survey for employers.
Did feedback sessions, stakeholder interviews, and user and heuristic evaluations with teammates
Analyzed data and generated findings from surveys, interviews, feedback sessions, and user evaluations
In a fast-paced workplace, it is easy for conflict to be swept under the rug, but conflict has far-reaching negative effects for both individuals and organizations. There are several common reasons why conflicts are not resolved.
Lack of understanding on the other parties' opinions on conflicts
Not able to manage personal emotions and face the conflict
How might we facilitate young professionals in resolving interpersonal conflicts by encouraging sharing opinions from all parties in conflicts?
Say What You See contains a series of drawing and discussion activities for resolving conflicts step-by-step and for managing emotions resulted from conflicts.
The following is a video demo on Say What You See prototype.
First, we did literature reviews focusing on user group (young professionals) characteristics and user goals. This provided us with the existing findings and theories on emotion management and conflict resolution, and we proved the findings later through designs.
User Group Characteristics
No experience in organizational socialization
Fast-paced work environment
Need to quickly adapt to the constant transformations and remain competitive
In transitional state
Lack of instructions and feedback (work vs. school)
Misunderstandings on young people perceive themselves as superior to others
Project teams will obtain essential knowledge from negative emotions that are constructively expressed
If conflicts can be approached constructively, they can increase interpersonal connections with peers.
Reach the state of feeling relieved from the emotions by "purification of emotion"
We researched existing products that serve the purpose of emotional management and conflict resolution. We learned and compared these products' features and user flows, which provided us with possible directions to steer the project goal towards. The following is one example of how we analyzed competitor products.
A remote work support application that assists managers and employees learn about each other's work and emotional status. It also contains self-help tools for managing emotions and stresses.
Features for Employees
Set working and emotional status
Receive customized tasks and notifications
Self-help emotional management tool
Features for Managers
Check employees' working status
Progress reports on employees' performances
Analytics on employees' strengths and weaknesses
Life Sherpa - https://lifesherpapp.com/
Online Surveys (Employee/Employer)
The goals of the surveys were to hear specific examples of conflict and to better understand how people perceive the others involved in their conflicts. There are 2 surveys, one for employees who experienced interpersonal conflicts (n = 26) and the other for managers or HR who dealt with conflicts (n = 3). Survey questions were built under 3 topics types of conflicts and resolutions, personal and other party's emotions towards conflicts, and the significance of conflicts.
We performed qualitative coding to free-form survey responses where participants described interpersonal conflict issues and how the issues were reconciled. We created categories for issues and reconciliations based on the response contents and matched responses under appropriate catgories.
The followings are findings and trends from survey results according to each topic.
Types of conflicts (top issues and common parties)
Managers & Teammates
Top 3 conflict resolution methods (selected by a certain percentage of participants)
Discussion with someone else
Discussion with the other party
Distracting yourself with other tasks
Emotions towards conflicts
Had a negative impact on my work performance
Had a negative impact on the relationship between the other party and me
Interviews (Users & Stakeholders)
There were 7 semi-structured interviews conducted with users and 4 structured interviews with stakeholders.
Users were recruited from online surveys, and they provided more detailed information on their conflict experiences, which helped shape common use cases and user personas. Stakeholders were people with professional experience in workplace conflict management and f behavioral sciences. We were able to refine the problem space and gained more domain knowledge by conducting Stakeholder interviews.
After analyzing surveys and interviews results, we generated research findings from common behaviors and issues from users. Research findings proved concepts learned from initial research and set important guidelines for comprehending emotion and conflict. Design implications were also created based on each finding.
People do not have trouble recalling past experiences of interpersonal conflict at workplace.
Emotions will change as time goes on, and there is much to be learned from the journey of emotions.
Issue resolution is dependent on people's emotions, actions taken, and workplace policies.
Emotional authentication is an essential event for resolving conflicts.
Emotions are difficult to define, whether given predefined options or defined freely.
Communication is the most practiced method to attempt to resolve interpersonal issues.
Resolving the issue tends to resolve the emotions associated with the task-based conflict.
A third party should only be incorporated after the original parties attempted to resolve the conflict.
There were 4 ideation activities that we took to break down problem space and find variations so that we can gain deeper understandings of it.
Problem: People experience ANGER through conflicts at Workplaces
Envision Your Problem as a Solution
Identify & Consider the Conditions that Render Your Problem Obsolete
anger can Motivate
anger can Attract Attention
anger can Flag Hidden Issues
It's OK to share feelings at workplace
Anger is a good quality of a worker
Everybody is angry
Slice & Dice
Meeting with HR, Talk with manager, Disiplinary actions
Diary, Punch bag, Stress ball, Tissue paper
HR -> Artist, Therapist
Diary -> Social media
HR + Gym
Stress ball + Tissue
Alter your perspective
Escape to paradise
Diary with emotional management exercise
Put to other uses
Office for doing meditations
No meeting with HR to resolve conflicts
Manager plans talk sessions with employee
We wrote ideas under 4 topics for a 4-min brainstorming session, and the ideas are grouped and generated findings.
Feedback Sessions on Design Ideas
After brainstorming, we further discussed the design ideas and matched them to all the research findings. We created wireframes from 4 ideas that had the most matches to the research findings. These feedback sessions offered us valuable insights and guidance in shaping the project scope and purpose, and also improving the usability and accessibility of design ideas based on user feedback.
We did 2 rounds of feedback sessions with 6 participants (4 potential users & 2 experts) on design ideas. For the first round, we presented the wireframes and collected feedback for all 4 ideas. 2 ideas that received more positive reviews were selected for the 2nd round of feedback session. We also built low fidelity prototypes on the 2 ideas.
Feedback session's structure
Standard questions for all ideas
Example qestions for each idea
○ What are your initial thoughts?
○ How likely are you to use this system?
- Give a rating from 1~10.
○ Do you have any concerns about using a system like this?
Thoughts on specific features
○ What kind of ribbons would you be interested in seeing or not want to see?
○ Who would you feel comfortable sharing this information with?
○ Are you comfortable with drawing emotion/conflict out?
3 Roles in holding the session
Feedback session's results & findings
This is an app for company-wide use in acknowledging workplace experiences by awarding colleagues ribbons. Users can nominate, view, upvote, or share coworkers’ ribbons provided by the app.
More likely to be used by conflict-averse or introverted people
Ribbons might induce inauthentic/ competitive behaviors
Say What You See
This is an improved version of Draw It Out with a complete process of bringing two parties from having different perspectives on the conflict to making an agreement on how to resolve the conflict. An agreement of starting this activity and a receipt containing the takeaway from the conflict are included in the activity.
Conflict Resolution Activity Design
Start of Activity
Activity agreement ---> Draw name & avatar (Icebreaker)
Learn the Conflict
Draw the conflict ---> Describe other’s drawing ---> Note differences between drawings
Draw the resolution ---> Describe other’s drawing ---> Note similarities ---> Add onto other’s resolution & Explain
Generate the Best Resolution
Draw a combined resolution ---> Review the combined resolutions
Identify your own takeaway ---> Receive a receipt: your final resolution drawing and takeaway
End of Activity
Do the activity again / Print receipt
Process of Creating the User Flows
My teammate and I acted as 2 parties in a conflict. We figured out the route of "drawing our opinions, and discussing our drawings, and comparing our drawings" as the 3 basic activities people do to move on in learning conflicts and find resolutions. We did the activity series 3 times in 4 steps of resolving the conflict "learn about the conflict, propose resolutions, generate the best resolution, takeaway". Doing this creation activity helped us in the development of user flows.
Learn about the conflict
Generate the best resolution
We conducted 3 user testing sessions with 2 users per session for 6 users in total, and 1 heuristic evaluation with another 2 experts. Our evaluation goals centered on understanding user’s comfort with both the process and the interface, observing how conflict resolution unfolds, and learning about how willing people would be to partake in this process in real life.
We created task scenarios that could simulate 2 parties in a work place conflict. These 2 parties have different personas. We prepared conflict conversation scripts for the 2 participants in the same user testing session to read over. They acted as the 2 parties to try to resolve the conflict by going through the Say What You See activity.
Sam and Riley are both working for the implementation team. Some problems occur from the research side. Sam would like to plug in to help directly, but Riley would like to make a contingency plan for implementation. Sam's work was appreciated by the research team, but Riley's work wasn't and was laughed at. Riley then invited Sam to participate in a Say What You See activity.
I suggested the usage of Google Jamboard to mimic the drawing board functionality, so we can provide the most realistic settings possible to participants in doing this activity.
The post testing interview questions are separated into 5 categories, "In Character", "Initial Reactions", "Process", "Personal Reflection", "Follow-up". These questions helped us collect feedback on effectiveness of this activity in resolving conflict, if the conflict scenarios helped with the understandings of this activity, experience of the activity flows.
We also collected further thoughts on how to make the takeaway effective in a larger extent, accessibility with various body and neurological functions, adaptability with various personalities, skill levels, workplaces.
The followings are user testing results.
Effectiveness in performing the followings (1 being not at all, 5 being fully resolved)
Resolving the conflict
Resolving emotions induced by the conflict
We also let participants rated the usability of Say What You See activity using System Usability Scale (SUS).
Average SUS Score
(above 68 is above average)
The post testing interview results were analyzed using affinity mapping method.
The goals for our heuristic evaluation were assessing the usability and usefulness of our prototype. We created 10 heuristics based on the feedback from user testings and the designs, which captures general goals of the system or its features. We invited 2 experts to go through the Say What You See flow and to provide evaluation feedback based on 10 heuristics.
(ranked from most to least important)
Helps with understanding and prevention of conflict
Avoids user discomfort
Adaptable to personality and emotional affect for any low-stress or short-term conflict
Gives users enough time to process and improve the conflict
Keeps people updated of system status throughout the process
Brings people together, doesn't push them apart
Accessible regardless of body function status, skill level, or neurological makeup
System offers solutions to help, prevent, and recover from errors simply
Clear instructions to allow users to complete activity without moderator
Does not disrupt business operations in workplace
The 6 heuristics in darker colors are related to the effectiveness of Say What You See activity, which the 2 experts expressed concerns in evaluating. Because they were not involved in real conflict scenarios and there “were other things happening outside this activity” they were not experiencing and could not imagine
Some design recommendations are generated from user test feedback and heuristics evaluations. We can implement these into improve Say What You See system.
Interface & Flow Related Recommendations
Instead of using a timer, add an indicator on the other party's drawing status and an "agree to move-on" button.
Make receipt customizable; users can choose different contents to be placed on the receipt, and receipt forms (e.g. paper, digital, audio, etc.)
Give users more freedom in controlling the timing of doing this activity, because some discussions might take longer time.
Provide assistive drawing tools (undo & redo, story frames, simple illustrations) to reduce limitations resulted from drawing skills and time.
Reduce privacy concerns by letting users know what will be shared beforehand, make the exit button accessible in each step of the activity.
Flow & Implementation Related Recommendations
Involve potential facilitator (e.g. HR) in doing the activity to avoid bias and ensure equal understanding, but this needs further research
It is worth researching other use cases of Say What You See, however this depends on the work environment and company needs.
Since people would like to know the effectiveness of this activity, data on satisfactions can be collected and display to users.
Overall, this project is research-heavy, and I learned lots of different research methods and found appropriate scenarios to implement them.
It is important to prioritize research topics and narrow down the route of research. I was in charge of doing survey and collecting results for HR/employers, but I found that employers might not be the person to solve workplace conflict from the results collected. Thus, we did not go too deep into researching this topic, or else it would reduce valuable time for researching other topics.
We could spend more time on diversifying our recruitment pool. If the participants for evaluations are more diverse in personality, conflict management style, and drawing abilities, the data collected will be less biased.
We wanted to create an interesting and effective way for managing emotion and resolving conflict. My first thought was to gamify this solution, but game does not work well in such negative situations. It is important to balance the attractiveness and effectiveness of the solution.