Unknow(n) is an app created in the UX and Visual Interface Design certificate program at the University of Washington. The initial concept was created in a team of four, which we each individually took to completion.


In today’s world dominated by social media platforms, we are finding ourselves more isolated in social bubbles, where everyone agrees with us. How might we help people escape their bubbles and help understand each other with our different worldly views.



Our team of four conducted interviews gathering valuable insight about their interactions online. We wanted to see how users used the internet in daily life, how they interacted with others, and instances of conflict and resolution.


From the 12 interviews, our team created affinity maps clustering common traits within our our interviewees. We narrowed our scope to 3 archetypes (The Engager, Observer, and Avoider) that best represented recognized behaviors, and took them through a  journey map.


The team looked to published articles and discovered some of the psychology behind how and why we are drawn into bubbles.  We also reviewed other apps that took various approaches in creating civil discussion. Here is a review of some findings within interacting in an online environment.

The News - Satisfaction Rating 

Everyday news is generally viewed as negative. Neurotic people generally have been negatively impacted by it, extroverts do not allow it to affect their positive emotions.


People have a higher mistrust than before. Bias are more steadfast with more news out there to harden their beliefs. Hostile Media Phenomenon - people believe the news is skewed against them even if neutral.

Third party perspective. People believe that news does not have an effect on them as so much as others.

Facebook has lost trust through misinformation, political ads and lack of control. Both Democrats and Republicans have a similar % lack of trust near 50% on Facebook.

Unbiased sources of news include NPR, AP, BBC, Reuters, USA Today, &  WSJ. NPR refers to many sources, with no rush to break a story. They do not rely on other newsrooms FOX/MSNBC etc. Stories must be verified, and continually verified.

Non Biased Platforms

Effort must be respectful and mutual. A technique called moral reframing can help.

Example: if you want to move conservatives on liberal issues like same-sex marriage and national health insurance, it helps to tie those arguments to conservative values like patriotism and moral purity).
Security and Forms of Interaction

Upvotes Downvotes system distorts news by creating a 25% increase in positivity for final outcome. Down votes did not create a decrease. it is like an echo chamber. 

Comment sections are less popular on websites. Now people just share content and discussions are had in social media.

Harassment is an issue in all social media content. Problem is ease of accessibility and lack of filters. Twitter has a mute button if person is not a verifiable follow / or followed by.

Similar business models

Read Across The Aisle - personally nudges you to read with opposite bias

Knowhere News - re-edits the text of news to be neutral

The Third Party - an app to meet strangers at randomized Facebook events to break the everyday bubble

The program Middle Ground shows a group in active conversation. Both are given ample time to respond, both groups are respectful and occasionally find common ground.


The interviewees showed a desire to reach outside the bubble, but concerns and fears of interacting online was the main concern. By creating a safe environment we could help users reach their goal.



Our team created a variety of unique concepts after creating a matrix brainstorm and value proposition chart. Each one tackled a different aspect of the problem. We created a communication coach to help individuals learn to talk with empathy, a collaboration game to create trust, a face to face video social media app to create more accountability, and randomizer that exposes people to new ideas.


We conducted a usability study determining that the Randomizer was the most desired. The other ideas had many concepts that were desired, but ultimately the Randomizer had the most interest. There were some desired features from the other 3 concepts that would carry over in my prototype.


Each of our team members started creating our own versions of the Randomizer. Some features I wanted to add were interactivity to have users have the option to engage more if desired. Here i map out 5 user flows which are then made into paper prototypes


From the paper prototypes, wireframes were created in Figma. Still in a rough draft stage, these black and white versions have added clarity, with text replacing dummy text.


I began working on the design based on psychology behind the colors, picking a purple (adventurous, mysterious) and orange (friendly, exciting). From there I picked softer tones that mimicked a calming sunset. I wanted to attempt buttons that were neumporphic, and keep the look clean and friendly. Here is a early rendition of a style guide.