Comfort Connect


For this project, we collaborated with Hopelab, a social innovation lab based in San Francisco that creates behavior-change tech to help teens and young adults, to create a service around the chatbot they created that provides support for LGBTQIA+ young adults. Our task is to design a service in which college-age and young adult LGBTQAI+ people could discover, engage with, and share the chatbot and in the process, learn positive psychology skills in an accessible, inclusive, and innovative manner.



How might we create a service to help queer youth who use digital platforms frequently process their conflicting emotions during their coming out experience?

Comfort Connect is a chatbot service that recommends different resources to users based on personal emotional exploration.



Sophie Lancaster, Jenny Nguyen, Tony Tian

Jan 2020 - March 2020

A Bigger Picture

Our studio as a consultancy collaborated with Hopelab to work on this project. We had 6 groups in total and each group had different focus and area to explore.

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My Team’s Problem Scope

We were team C. We were given to explore the opportunity of queer youth who use digital and peer-to-peer resources and who often play the role of observers on different digital platforms.

Design Research

In order to better understand our area of focus, we started our research by creating stakeholder map and ecology map. From these two maps we explored the different potential parties involved in the user's experience and what could be the potential influence to them of user’s journey. This inspired us to create our in-depth interview guide.


"When I first knew I was gay, I felt like I was tiptoeing in high heels."

- Josh, 24

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We conducted in-depth interviews and secondary research. Here are three insights we got from our research. 



The time when queer youth start to resonate with being queer and sharing this part of their identity with people is full of conflicting emotions and vulnerability.



Queer youth are trying to process their emotions during their coming out experiences and are leaning on accessible resources such as social media platforms.



Queer youth use all kinds of media, including visual & textual, to connect with the information they find about different communities (LGBTQ+ or other).

So we concluded that our point of view

Queer high school and college students who frequent social media platforms need a way to process and track their emotions as they are coming out because they often have conflicting emotions, such as anxiety and clarity, when learning more about their identities.

Prototyping and Testing:

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We created a service blueprint to map out user's journey and relationship with different stakeholders that might bend  the journey. Based on service blueprint, we created our prototype using Figma to show what the chatbot experience would look like with our service, we named it as Comfort Connect. We chose to integrate this with Hopelab's existing chatbot because their current chatbot only discusses stress but not any other emotion. 

Our service has two features: Emotion Exploration and Resource Recommendation

Emotion Exploration

  • Ask user to describe their emotion in general


  • Ask user to describe the frequency and intensity of the emotion they experience


  • Ask user to describe their emotion through different mediums (text, gif or drawings) (8).gif (9).gif

Resource Recommendation

  • Recommend reliable resources to user based on their emotion

  • Provide the user with background information about the resources/services so they feeling comfortable reaching out to these resources

Testing Insights
  • Recommend relevant content that is context-specific

  • Do not exacerbate the users’ negative emotions

  • Allow for flexibility and customization when asking users about their emotions

  • Learn from the user’s preferences

Future Steps



Back up our service with the scientific methods of emotional identification 



Must determine where and how we want to incorporate our service into the chatbot



Identify more potential partners who are willing to collaborate as resources

Learning and Reflection

  • Embrace ambiguity in the early stage of the project.

  • Tell the story not the fact.​

  • Explore before narrow down.