Connecting Darling Square 


LendLease and the BRIGHT program wanted a digital solution to help keep residents and business owners in the Darling Square community connected during the pandemic. 

I created a mobile app prototype that aims to connect local residents and business owners together through fun, locally based activities virtually.


I worked a UX/UI designer as part of a team with Harness Projects.  I individually conducted the following:

user research, user interviews, prototyping (Adobe XD), sketching, research synthesis, usability testing, customer journey maps, personas, client presentation.

Duration: 6 Weeks.

"1 in 2 Australians feel more lonely since the coronovirus"

- The Conversation Magazine

Understanding the problem

What does community mean to you?

How do we create a digital solution that will organically spark community engagement and cater to the diversity of the Darling Square population?

To answer this question I went into the heart of Darling Square and used the Service Safari method to observe the local residents and businesses. I also interviewed 5 residents and 1 business owner to bring in their perspectives. Research goals included understanding:


  • How do people in Darling Square currently connect with their local community

  • Whether digital the right solution

  • How to cater to the diversity of people living and interacting in the community 

We used the end-to-end design thinking process 

“Community is knowing the faces of the people you walk past everyday. It's knowing that the people around you have your back…"

- Interview with local resident about what community means to them

Insight Analysis 

Everyone wants to be connected

  • Vibrant and diverse community. There was a strong international community residing in Darling Square with diverse multi-lingual needs and interests

  • Businesses have dipped into digital. Most businesses were signed up to food delivery apps (UberEats, Deliveroo, Easi) and loyalty apps (Liven)

What did I find from the Service Safari?

What do residents need?

What do business owners need?

  • Real time, up-to-date information about events in local community

  • Meaningful connections through active digital communities or through face-to-face interactions 

  • Multi-lingual platforms to cater to diversity of language needs 

  • Simple marketing tool to increase customer reach and create additional revenue streams 

  • Safe collaboration opportunities with other local businesses to boost sales 

  • Multi-lingual solution to increase outreach and engagement with international community 

Reframing the problem 

“How might we create a digital community for Darling Square residents and business owners to increase their connectedness to their local community”

Customer Personas 

Meet Ophelia, Pete and Lara

Opportunistic Ophelia 


  • International student finding it hard to meet new people during the pandemic 

  • Mainly uses WeChat to stay connected to her friends and family back home 

  • Wants to find activities where she can make meaningful connections with other local residents 

Proactive Pete 


  • Extroverted, likes social activities like cycling and running clubs 

  • Feels disconnected from these social communities and finds himself doing these activities alone

  • Wants to meet new people and keep up these activities in a safe way 

Entrepreneurial Lara 


  • Local business owner who loves to showcase her creative bubble tea concoctions on Instagram 

  • Wants to collaborate with local businesses and find new ways to promote her business to increase sales 

Micro Journey Map 

Pete's journey to finding community 

Ideation and concept development 

Meet Tribe

  • Tribe is a mobile app that connects local residents, business owners and community groups through locally run virtual activities

  • Catering for diversity. From bubble tea making classes to virtual group sessions, there is an activity out there for everyone

  • Multilingual. Languages available cater to the local international community

  • Revenue stream during hard times. Local business owners can host activities to market their products and services while generating additional income from classes

I started sketching my concept with the following screens:

  • Sign up screens

  • Main home screen with activities 

  • Booking event screen

  • Event group chat

  • Virtual video screen (depicting live class) 

  • Profile screen

I continued to develop these ideas in figma and desgined a logo and brand identity that reflects the app core purpose - connecting community. 

Branding Guidelines 


Family of colours 

Hi-fidelity prototype 

Taking Tribe to the next level 

To understand how to evolve my concept further, I did guerilla testing with 2 users. Feedback showed:

  • More context is a must have for onboarding. Including explainer splash screens upfront will help the user understand the purpose of the app 

  • Moving away from a card layout. Users confused the card layout on the home page as images rather than clickable elements

  • Too many features. Reducing available features and designing a simple booking system will create a more pleasant navigational experience 

Key screens of this initial flow are included below.

In the next evolution of my ideas, I made sure that the core focus of my app was allowing users to easily find and book local activities of interest. I tested my prototype with 4 users, results are included below. 

Iteration of Hi-fidelity prototype

Onboarding screens 

  • Explainer splash screens provide context. Users now understood the purpose of the app before they arrived at the home screen.

  • Context provided more meaning to onboarding activities such as selecting activities of interest. 

Finding your tribe 

  • Modular card design made navigation easier. Grouping together activities with clearly separated headings helped the user easily sort and find activities of interest. 

  • Search bar shortens navigation journey. Users enjoyed being able to use the search bar to find their  event of choice straightaway.

  • Appreciating diversity. Users enjoyed seeing events catered to diverse interests such as kpop dancing. 

  • Users willing to pay for events. Users indicated they would pay for events if they were reasonably priced. This points to an additional revenue source for local businesses. 

Booking and viewing points

  • Calendar pop-up created a simpler navigation experience. The time between reading and booking and event was shorter and more enjoyable with a pop-up calendar to book events on the spot. 

  • Users missed shopping cart feature. Removing the shopping cart feature to purchase ingredients will remove an additional confusing step in the booking process. 

  • Multi-lingual. Users enjoyed multi-lingual functionality in video. 

  • Expand on rewards offered. Greater explanation of how users can make the most of rewards will encourage greater use of the app 

  • Users wouldn't use chat beyond the event due to privacy concerns and social media app fatigue. 

Next steps

Test, Test and Iterate!

See the SWAG project

See the Headstart Homes project