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Service Design 05-452 | Pittsburgh

Professors: Jodi Forlizzi | Spring 2019

Programs Used: Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Miro, Adobe After Effects, Google Slides


Problem Overview

150,000 people are on food stamps in Allegheny County.


Service Designer


Zhiye Jin, Sharon Lee, Shawn Koid, Zeynep Olcer

At the same time 30% of people who apply get turned down, usually due to problems with paperwork. Even those who do get accepted must go through the tedious process of reapplying every six months, an antiquated process that Just Harvest assists with. We set out to help them accomplish this.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Recipients


Create an efficient solution that workswell both for SNAP recipients and Just Harvest, lessening the responsibilities of JH's limited staff while still helping people stay on top of their benefits.


Have the proper staff to empathize, assist, and empower SNAP recipients when assisting them with necessary paperwork so they can receive the proper assistance to take care of their families.


Be reminded when it’s time to reapply and knowing what papers they’ll need for the SNAP [welfare] renewal process.

Initial Research

Getting our first look into Pittsburgh's welfare situation 

Through the analysis of existing skill teaching applications Simbi, Skillharbour, Tibbs, and Swapaskill, we were able to identify important components to pay special attention to while designing our app. Those components were ease of searching, facilitating communication between users, and straightforward profiles. We also discovered in the process that many other skill sharing sites functioned like e-commerce sites. Instead, we wanted to make a platform similar to social media sites where the focus is on one-on-one interactions that allow interpersonal connections to form.

Through brainstorming, we also identified additional components that we wanted our application to have that would improve the overall experience, mainly an introductory survey to tailor recommendations specific to each user as well as teaching resources to help guide users as they adapt to teaching, sometimes even for the first time.


Since our target demographic is young adults, our group also conducted user interviews from college-aged individuals with a variety of backgrounds. Our main findings were that people were less interested in learning technical skills from other people online and that some found the idea of meeting up with strangers in real life uncomfortable.


From this realization, we decided to focus our app specifically on skills related to the arts and to design the application so users don't need to meet in person if they don't want to. In doing so, we also realized designing for online experiences allowed us to include supplementary features that would allow Swap to double as a hub for useful tools while teaching. 




Sabrina Yang

-  College senior, Violin major

-  Debating career path

   between teaching and

   joining the Pittsburgh


-  Enjoyed helping her peers

   in school but unsure if she

   can teach someone with

   little or no experience

-  Worried that she won't

   know how to structure

   music lessons but wants to

   have a positive impact 

"How can I combine my passion 

for music with teaching?

Would I even be a good teacher?"

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Sebastian Ried

-  Junior art major, CS minor

-  Busy course load, member

   of the soccer team, works

   a few hours a week as an

   art instructor

-  Has an interest in music

   from guitar lessons in high

   school, wants to try his

   hand at learning the piano

-  Would prefer to be able to

   meet other people to play

   music with in the process

"I have so many passions that I want to explore, the possibilities are endless!"


Kelly Meyers

-  23 year old recent grad

-  Just moved to Pittsburgh for

   her new job, looking to

   make new friends

-  Wants to dabble in the arts

   but is open to learning any

   new skill

-  Has a graphic design

   background, would be

   willing to teach if people

   are interested

"I'm interest in meeting new people in unique and interesting ways"

1. Connecting one user

    to another

2. In app messenger

3. Search bar

4. Suggested curriculum

5. Suggestions regarding

    who your match is

6. Navigation 

7. Internal teaching tools


From our research, we identified seven key features to incorporate into our application:

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Design Process




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After going through rounds of task-based user testing, we refined aspects of the experience such as improving the transition between stages and altered the wording of text or appearance of buttons to avoid confusion. We also adjusted the interface to be more intuitive when completing common tasks, aligned our visual styles, and tried to give Swap a simple but artistic aesthetic.

Final Result


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Style Guide


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App Flow


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Profile Built by Questionnaire

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Profile built by


By getting the user invested early and filling out questions so the site is customized to their needs, we are able to create a pleasant experience where the user is easily able to accomplish their task: finding someone to teach them through Swap. 

Users are able to browse other people whose skills/interests align with their's. While other competitors function like marketplaces, we make finding other people easy and intuitive.


With our review system, users are also able to identify good teacher and have the option to offer constructive criticism. 




Personal Human Connections

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Easy Chatting

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Swap features a simple, easy to use messenger where users can get to know each other and negotiate what services are being exchanged without risking their privacy.


Scheduling is as easy as a click of a button from there.

Swap easily syncs with

any calendar application of your choosing so you'll able to send event requests, share your availability, and schedule meetings without even leaving the app.


Once both parties come

to an agreement, their calendars automatically update so no one has to worry about forgetting. 



Integrated Calendar

iPhoneX Scheduling.png

Unlock Teaching Potential

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New teachers looking for guidance have the option to follow a suggested curriculum of level appropriate songs that will adjust as the student learns.


Related applications will appear on the teaching resources page so the teaching process can be as streamlined as possible.


Users are also able to get advice as well as a variety of other resources



Despite Swap being formatted for a mobile experience, interacting with InVision is only seamless on my desktop portfolio. 

If you would like an opportunity to demo Swap on your phone, please follow this link.

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