Conversations Across the Aisle
2020
Team Project
My Role: Project Lead
problem
American politics/society has become frighteningly polarized. We have placed a priority on what divides us rather than what unites us, and as a result, working towards shared goals feels daunting.

As young adults coming of age into a polarized world, we recognize that to reach across the aisle requires emotional energy and patience that are not easy to cultivate in a global fast paced world.
solution
We are aiming to provide a space that demystifies polarization, provide tools to educate and engage in productive discourse, in a way that can be practiced in and outside of the space we create.

In understanding how beliefs are formed and what constructs a valid and sound argument, we provide a platform to facilitate and nurture these conversations with a simple step-by-step framework for having constructive, productive, open-minded, and most importantly, human conversations across the aisle.
why
We need it.

Having the ability to have conversations across the aisle builds empathy and connection. It helps us work towards shared goals which have been the hall mark of human progress. We need to teach and practice empathy--Beginning with college students...

It's not happening on its own.
process
1.

identifying the need
We looked at the news and we looked around us. The need for empathy and education on how to have productive conversations with people we disagree with is clear and evident.
2.

User research
We spoke to 15 students on our college campus about their perspectives on the current state of polarization in this country and what they believe can bring us closer together.
3.

ideation & selection
With the insights gained from our user research, we brainstormed a number of solutions to the problem. By narrowing down the focus of our project and initial scope, we selected the features we felt most essential to implement in our MVP.
4.

research & developing framework
Based off of our user research, learnings and drawing on past research on how humans construct arguments based in empathy to truly reach someone who disagrees with them, as well as research on how valid and sound philosophical arguments are constructed, we developed a framework for productive discourse. We kept our minds open to be challenged and tested this framework in real conversations with real people on either sides of the aisle of a specific issue.
5.

initial mockups
Diving into visualizing our product, we created initial mockups of the UI and database structure.
6.

testing mockups with potential users
To test the usability of the basic features of the app, we put it in front of 15 potential users and obtained feedback.
7.

fleshing out ui mockups
We took that feedback to iterate upon our mockups and then fleshed out the rest of our UI. We also dove into branding and graphics.
8.

developing initial proof of concept
We developed our initial proof of concept using PHP and mySQL. The basic function of our product is fully functional in this prototype.

View site at:
tinyurl.com/ConversationsAcrosstheAisle
9.

testing functional prototype
Seeking feedback for the next iteration of our app, we tested our proof of concept with potential users.
10.

developing more robust site & app
We are currently working on developing a more reliable and robust app to be launched soon. The need we are trying to solve is becoming more and more evident to us everyday.