Ling is a mobile-based educational purposed chatbot that provides real-time inquiry functionality and learning resources about equity, diversity, and inclusion to help Chinese international student to identify and prevent discrimination and harassment that happened to them. The app also connects users to their school’s trustful case report sources.
Problem & Users
The whole concept was driven by the fact that COVID-19 has driven racism and violence against Asians. Especially for Chinese international students (at the age of 18-25) who are coming from a very distinct culture study abroad, and are new to a culture. They are less sensitive to racial discrimination when it is happening to them. Although those aggressions are often subtle, they can be just as harmful to health and well-being.
How Does Ling Help?
Ling is created to address unmet needs by building knowledge and helping Chinese students express the hard moment through a humanized conventional approach.
I interviewed 11 Chinses international students who are currently studying in the USA and who had experienced racial discrimination. It was hard to initiate such a difficult topic with people who experienced racial discrimination. Sharing my own stories that resonate with people helped me drive the conversation. I mapped their journey, mood, and reaction with the user journey to identify the design opportunity. I also found that much existing research has been done only on post-discrimination experience, but it doesn’t cover all the needs. People often didn’t realize when things happened, not to mention to look for help in time. Then I did literature research to learn how to measure racial discrimination systematically.
The concept of the product is to create an end-to-end experience to help the target users get through the challenging moment: first of all, provide students with trustworthy knowledge by pulling out learning sources from their school. When users are not sure if they experienced racial discrimination, Ling will use a conversation-based approach to identify the racial discrimination types step by step, and in the end, provide support by connecting users with their school’s EDI department.
Ling demonstrates great potential at the personal and societal levels. Research shows that 47,000 Chinese students are studying in the USA Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339 percent nationwide last year. Statistically, students need to build knowledge and safety awareness ahead. It is also backed by user research findings that students need more immediate and real-time emotional support and trustworthy resources.