top of page
swys cover.png
Show (1).png


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?



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.



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"

Untitled_Artwork 2.png
Untitled_Artwork 3.png
Untitled_Artwork 4.png

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

Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.27.39 PM.png

Set working and emotional status

Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.28.13 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.27.46 PM.png

Receive customized tasks and notifications

Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.28.33 PM.png

Self-help emotional management tool

Features for Managers

Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.25.51 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.30.37 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-10-17 at 7.29.36 PM.png

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

Untitled_Artwork 6.png
Untitled_Artwork 5.png

Managers & Teammates

Untitled_Artwork 7.png

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

Untitled_Artwork 11.png

Manage emotion

Meditation/Reflection, Escape/leave

Resolve conflict

Untitled_Artwork 12.png

Meeting with HR, Talk with manager, Disiplinary actions

Untitled_Artwork 13.png

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

Untitled_Artwork 16.png
Untitled_Artwork 15.png
Untitled_Artwork 14.png




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.

Draw conflict - examples.png


3 Note differences between drawings of Conflict.png


2 Describe other's drawing of Conflict.png
Resolution Receipt.png



Conflict Resolution Activity Design

User Flow

start of game.png

Start of Activity

Activity agreement ---> Draw name & avatar (Icebreaker)

Learn the Conflict

Draw the conflict ---> Describe other’s drawing ---> Note differences between drawings

propose resolutions.png

Propose Resolutions

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.

flow 1.png


Learn about the conflict

flow 2.png


Propose resolutions


Generate the best resolution



Tick Square.png


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.

Image from iOS (2).jpg

User Tests

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.

differences in drawings example.png
takeaway example.png
receipt example.png
receipt example 2.png

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.

affinity map on usability tests.png

Heuristics Evaluation

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.

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

Design Recommendations

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.

bottom of page