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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, Zotero


Watson Hartsoe

Tommy Ottolin

Meichen Wei

Qiqi Yang

My Role

UX Designer

  • Led the design and iteration of user flows, wireframes, and prototypes

  • Designed the methods of using prototypes in user evaluations

UX Researcher

  • 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?



Literature Review

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


First Career

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

User Goals

Express emotions

Project teams will obtain essential knowledge from negative emotions that are constructively expressed

Resolve conflicts

If conflicts can be approached constructively, they can increase interpersonal connections with peers.

Achieve catharsis

Reach the state of feeling relieved from the emotions by "purification of emotion"

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Competitive Analysis

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.

Life Sherpa

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

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Set working and emotional status

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Receive customized tasks and notifications

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Self-help emotional management tool

Features for Managers

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Check employees' working status

Progress reports on employees' performances

Analytics on employees' strengths and weaknesses

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)


Unfair Treatment

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Managers & Teammates

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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.

Research Findings

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

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Manage emotion

Meditation/Reflection, Escape/leave

Resolve conflict

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Meeting with HR, Talk with manager, Disiplinary actions

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Vent emotion

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.

Issue Resolution

Emotional Management




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

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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?

User types

○ Who would you feel comfortable sharing this information with?

Major concerns

○ Are you comfortable with drawing emotion/conflict out?

3 Roles in holding the session


Feedback session's results & findings

Round 1

Resilience Ribbons

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

Round 2

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.

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Prototype Design

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