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A photo of three different phone screens showing different pages of the mobile app for fibr. One screen shows the Topics page, one shows the home screen with the news feed, and another features a user's profile page.


UX Design + Research, Graphic Design, Branding, Project Management, Team Leadership - 2020

fibr is a safe space for folks of all genders, races, and identities to gather around their shared interests of activism and social change. This online community runs in parallel with the e-commerce company Firebrand Collective, which is a lifestyle brand that amplifies marginalized voices and allows shoppers to raise money for various relevant causes while they shop.


fibr aims to be inclusive at its core, creating a space for folks who may not be able to live as their authentic selves in their daily lives or home environments, who can’t always be open about their gender or sexuality, and who face discrimination or experience harmful language on other sites with more lenient community guidelines.

A photo of a laptop and a tablet, showing two different views of the fibr website.The laptop shows the news feed and the tablet shows the Topics page.
The standard fibr logo, which is light blue and meant to resemble a speech bubble with "fibr" spelled out in a series of small circles.
The special Black version of the fibr logo with the slogan "bring friends, find family." included.
A phone showing the menu in the fibr mobile app.

The Process

The easy part was looking at what features currently existed within social media platforms. Then we had to dig deeper and figure out what people needed that didn’t exist yet. One of the most important- and perhaps the most obvious-  was that pronouns were appended to folks’ names, which was something that hadn’t been done during that time and was the biggest step towards creating visibility and an inclusive space for our trans and nonbinary friends. While some of our most significant design challenges were the limitations of the hosting platform for the community, we were able to implement the pronoun usage. Folks can choose from an extensive list of pronouns or add their own. We broke free from the rigidity of the binary "male, female, or prefer not to say/custom" that is all too common in social platforms.

Below are the five categories that were deemed the most important by stakeholders via dot voting. The bolded categories correspond with pieces of user feedback about social media habits, preferences, and community involvement.

The affinity diagram for fibr, which shows the five main categories of user feedback, which are: features, notifications, identity, guidelines, and belonging.

I was originally brought in as a UX Design contractor to tighten up an existing product, which was an online community for sharing personal struggles- especially around physical and mental illness- while taking a more irreverent approach in acknowledging that "everybody has something, and somebody has it Worse Than You". Both the user and market pointed to the fact that the target audience of Millennials and Gen Z's was not quite receptive to the idea of comparing scars in this way. I presented the client with an alternative that the research did show an opportunity for, and the branding pivoted and I was brought on permanently as UX Manager to lead the project. Use the slider below to see the shift from the original product (left) to the current product (right).

Next Steps

After some adjustments to branding, there are some finishing touches to be made before fibr can be open to the public, but it has come such a long way from beginning as a long shot in a pivot presentation to growing into a real platform. It has been an intriguing concept to many young people in Chicago's activism and community organizing realm, where the community is projected to launch sometime in 2022.

Further down the line, Firebrand Collective aims to migrate fibr to a completely custom-built platform, where they will have the full flexibility to use the formatting and features they know will really set their platform apart. The founders were so proud to be ahead of the curve with including pronouns directly attached to a person's name, which is one small step towards normalizing pronoun use and introduction on a larger scale. 

A screenshot of the Firebrand Collective landing page, where prospective community members can request to join before the soft launch.
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