Ling: A Chatbot App for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Empowering Chinese International Students to Combat Discrimination

COVID-19 has driven racism and violence against Asians. Chinese international students, who are new to a different culture, often face subtle yet harmful racial discrimination. To address this issue, designer Qian Wan has created Ling, a mobile-based educational chatbot app that provides real-time inquiry functionality and learning resources about equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Ling is specifically designed to help Chinese international students identify and prevent discrimination and harassment that may occur during their studies abroad. The app offers a unique feature of connecting users to their school's trustworthy case report sources, ensuring that incidents are properly documented and addressed.

Utilizing the latest technology, Ling was developed using a combination of Miro board for synthesizing research findings, and Figma, Sketch, and Illustrator for interface design. The app is designed for iOS, providing a seamless user experience for Chinese international students.

Upon first use, Ling prompts users to connect with their student account, allowing the app to provide personalized and easily accessible resources. Through conversation-based interaction, Ling guides users in identifying different types of racial discrimination and provides support by connecting them with their school's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) department.

The development of Ling was not without its challenges. Initiating conversations about such a sensitive topic with individuals who have experienced racial discrimination required a delicate approach. Designer Qian Wan shared personal stories that resonated with the interviewees, fostering open and honest dialogue. Additionally, existing research on racial discrimination often focused on post-discrimination experiences, overlooking the need for timely intervention. By mapping out the user journey, Wan identified the lack of knowledge as a key factor contributing to the negative consequences of discrimination.

Ling serves as an educational tool, making difficult conversations easier through its humanized conversational interaction. By providing reliable learning resources and connecting users to support systems, Ling empowers Chinese international students to combat discrimination and create a more inclusive environment.

Recognizing its innovative approach and practicality, Ling was awarded the Iron A' Design Award in the Mobile Technologies, Applications, and Software Design category in 2023. This prestigious accolade is given to designs that meet professional and industrial requirements, integrating industry best practices and competent technical characteristics. Ling's contribution to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion aligns with the award's mission of creating a better world.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Qian Wan
Image Credits: Qian Wan
Project Team Members: Qian Wan
Project Name: Ling
Project Client: Qian Wan

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