Building Family Connections in the Community

The Challenge was a 1 day hackathon to create a product that enables New Yorkers to collaborate

There are over 8 million people in New York City. How could we as designers create an opportunity for people to meet? Then we thought how do parents meet new parent friends? How do kids meet other kids outside of their school and neighborhood to hang with?  Wouldn’t it be great if they had a tool to help collaborate playing and planning?

Client: Personal Project
Services: UX / UI Design, Research, Strategy
Project Type: Social Impact
Tools: Sketch, Photoshop, Invision

Group Brainstorm


Guerilla Style Interviews


Paper sketches, Iterations


Hi-Fidelity Mock Up

New York City is an interesting place to grow up. There are so many opportunities for children to learn and grow, but how can Parents make the most of the city environment to enrich their children? What’s the best way to meet other families? Families that do not live in your neighborhood are people you may never meet. Parents and children needed a way to find family friendly events in NYC and connect with other familes based on mutual interests


After narrowing down that we wanted to focus on exploring how parents/ children plan fun events and meet new families, it was time to map out where we could find nice people to stop and take an interview on a beautiful day.

Considering the challenge of leading research I quickly strategized listing all the possible topics to explore. Luckily it was Halloween weekend and there was an event happening just a few blocks away.

Research Strategy

I set out to (guerrilla style) interview parents with questions designed around finding family friendly events, transportation, and scheduling play dates.

The goal was to learn about the everyday tasks of families and how they have fun together. I also wanted to check how often families are able to travel to new neighborhoods for enjoyment or enrichment. I was able to speak with 10 families from diverse backgrounds


Event planning resources are sparse. Options to meet like minded families is limited

Parents find playdate connections through their children

Parents from all over the city will travel to attend trustworthy events

Parents choose events based on the enrichment it can bring their children

Design Phase


Pen and Paper time! We sat down down for some coffee and a crazy eights session. Defining our user and the user flow was priority. The scenario that began the design process is where an existing user would attend an event and match with a family based on similar interest.

Paper Prototype

A paper prototype was created to solve and test with users for additional design insights. My team mate completed lo fidelity sketches of the user flow based on our scenario for testing. Based on usability testing the hand sketches went through 2 rounds of revisions. I designed Version 3 after the competition taking the user flow into high fidelity visual mock up.

After 10 interviews there was tons of information and observations to review. It was time to synthesize the data and pull out the themes. Overall we found planning resources, scheduling playdates, and finding events played a huge role in family outings. We also found that the kids were bonding with with each other while attending the event. 

UI Strategy

UI was designed following primary colors, elementary child friendly theme, building block inspiration, solid type face and confetti elements. Large type face used as parents will need to keep their attention on their children and not the app.

Calendar november Copy 2

Clickable Prototype

I was very inspired by the idea of Neighbors and recieved positive feedback from NYC parents. I decided to take the design a step further in a high fidelity mock up.

Scenario: An existing user is signing in to check for new events to add to their calendar through the Plan feature. They can also check messages through the Play feature to plan play dates with matched families.

Feature Considerations

This product is all about kids. As designers we wanted to include features that would promote safety and trust. User would need assurances that the families they were matching with were verified and that they could meet at the event in a neutral location.

Maginfied verification screen
The verified account will let families know that Neighbors has confirmed the identity of the matching family. Providing a safety control for both parents and children.
You Matched Copy
While attending an event and meeting a new family, deciding where to meet can cause decision paralysis. By designing an option to meet in a neutral location parents don’t have to worry.


The biggest takeaway is that I love hackathons – and not just because we won best research.  It was great to collaborate with strangers and run around the city doing real time UX research in the wild.

Even though Neighbors is a fictional mobile app, tons of parents expressed interest in the app. Parents believe that holistic enrichment is about exploring diversity with their children. This app definitely fosters community. Who knows maybe in the future Neighbors will be on your screen.