A social media browser that gives users a new way to explore their feeds.
UX Designer + Researcher // Fall 2018 - Present
Algorithms are constantly shaping what we see on social media, yet users have little control or knowledge over how they work. Gobo is a social media browser that allows users to control the “Rules” (aka algorithms) that shape their social media feeds. To date, Gobo has over 10,000 registered users and has been featured in publications like The Atlantic, NPR, and MIT Technology Review. The project was started in 2017 by a team of researchers, developers, and designers at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media. In 2018, I joined as a UX designer and researcher. My projects included a UI redesign, new feature development, and user research for understanding pain points with Gobo and other social media platforms.
As part of a project relaunch, I led a UI redesign to bring a fresh new look to Gobo. I collaborated with another designer, software developer, and project manager to:
Develop a new visual identity
Modify certain UI elements to make them more visible
Translate desktop designs to responsive, mobile-friendly layouts
As Gobo was preparing for a relaunch to release new features, I collaborated with the previous lead designer for Gobo to develop a bolder logo, color palette, and typography. Our goals were to give Gobo more of “platform” feel and to make Gobo’s branding more recognizable. Upon establishing an updated style guide, I created a few rounds of mockups for different pages, gathered feedback from our team, and worked with the developer to implement the new visual design.
The desktop redesign required multiple iterations for incorporating the new color scheme and modifying the style of certain UI elements to highlight their functionality.
The mobile redesign required different considerations of horizontal and vertical space. In particular, menu bars were rearranged to better account for the lack of horizontal space.
Feature Development and User Research
After a year of deployment, Gobo was relaunched with a set of new features and initiatives to address expanded platform and research goals. Overall goals were developed over a series of brainstorming sessions with our project manager, developer, and research director. Specific platform goals were informed by reviewing user analytics data, which revealed a lack of feature exploration and sustained engagement on our platform. I worked on synthesizing our goals and contributed to the design and development of several new features, including:
A menu to enable exploration of feeds from different platforms
Visualizations of hidden content in the user’s feed
A guided tour to familiarize users with Gobo’s key features
We also began collecting qualitative user feedback to better understand our users’ experiences with social media and Gobo. The survey was designed to gain insights into how Gobo supported users in having understanding and control of their social media feeds. The open-ended interviews were then conducted to get a deeper understanding of our users’ experiences with social media, their motivations to try Gobo, and their satisfaction or frustrations with Gobo.
The survey was filled out by 100+ Gobo users, and the results were synthesized into a poster and extended abstract accepted to the 2019 ACM Conference for Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.
Open-ended interviews were conducted with 10 Gobo users, and insights are currently being synthesized into a case study submission for the 2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.