Bud sports - strengthening the comfort felt by LGBTQ+ in recreational… [Read more]
There is an opportunity for a service for GBT men who wish to experience camaraderie and friendship by playing with local team sports but feel anxiety due to previous homophobic language and behaviour from other participants.
Bud Sports is a service that makes joining a new sport easier for adults. Aimed at improving the inclusivity of local sports clubs for (GBT) queer men. The site introduces the user gradually to key people at their local sports club whilst they go through a learning program that begins online and progresses into in-person. The key insights in this were feelings of anxiety when trying to make friends and connections in sporting environments and the need for guidance and a gateway into learning the rules and skills needed to take part in sports. One of the biggest challenges was not being able to test out all the touchpoints of the services with covid restrictions, the use of narratives and sketches allowed me to still get feedback on these elements of the concept.
The challenge is GBT queer men from a young age are reluctant to engage in sports, particularly team sports, which puts GBT queer men more at risk of health issues physically and mentally. With this project, I wanted to explore the nuances of this problem to see if comfort can be strengthened for GBT men that want to play sports as adults.
User research - key insights
After a series of interviews and group activity focus groups, I explored the specifics of sports that are daunting. Gender plays a massive part in sport comfort, reassurance and a sensitive approach to sports will improve this. The main factor to get into sports is for the social, camaraderie and friendship and so this needed to be at the forefront of the project. A lack of a simple gateway for an adult sports novice to join recreational sports that would allow the novice to be in control of their learning with guidance is an opportunity.
For a user group that is likely to have had bad experiences with sports, with feelings of dread and anxiety that are encountered. I want the user to feel the outcome is intuitive, versatile, and makes recreational sports engaging and exciting by targeting the abilities the user already has and looking into creating a gateway into sports.
Storyboard - personas
Lucas is my main user persona, featured in this storyboard. He’s fabulously flamboyant. Lucas is 28 years old and is looking to make new connections within the LGBTQ+ community that is not solely included in the nightclub scene. His goal is to join an inclusive sports club, the challenge is that even though Lucas knows the people at the club are accepting and inclusive, the idea of his first training session is met with anxiety. The solution needs to allow Lucas a gradual gateway into the inclusive club that puts him in control of the speed at which he’s introduced to the different parts of the sport.
With the secondary persona, I wanted to express the other side of queer men. Callum is 23 and detaches himself from the LGBTQ+ community as he doesn’t feel he’s represented. Toxic masculinity is presented in the gay community through dating apps targeting queer men that play sports; Callum's only connection to the gay community is through these dating apps. He just wants to make new connections, but sports seem hard to get into without bringing attention to himself. There are problems Callum faces that are so nuanced I could not target - overall his persona allowed me to take a different view to aim the solution at the typical gay stereotype. This also allowed me to keep in mind that inclusive clubs are not the solution for all queer men that want to play sports, the inclusion of local clubs is important for users like Callum.
Service connection map
Bud sports will work on a level system of getting the user from no experience in a sport to the point that they can turn up to a training session with the ability to interact and enjoy the session. The key point in the service is allowing the user to be in control of their learning, giving them the chance to gradually make the connections in the club, putting social interactions are the centre of the service.
The user journey when on the site is personal to the individual with the onboarding system; the earlier levels having more content than the later levels. The levels and what is expected from them is laid out and is explained to the user clearly. This site has so many branches and potential features, for example, the sports kit bundles that would allow the user to get all they need to play a sport in one go.
iterative design, user feedback
The process of refining the design was through creating a low fi prototype, showing participants for feedback. Doing a series of 'think a load' runs through the site. Participants generally liked the concept and user flow; this process of iteration needs more time than this project's time frame could offer. Having a 64 SUS score gives me the confidence that the design and concept are empathetic to the GBT queer men user group.
I truly believe that this project has the potential to produce a meaningful difference in sports uptake and comfort felt in sporting environments. I would love to keep working on this project and potentially pitch it to Sports Associations, Federations, and National Governing Bodies. I am incredibly proud of this project and hope it might inspire more to be done for the comfort of LGBTQ+ in recreational sport in the UK.
I am experimental. I love exploring and challenging my perspective.
I embarked on this course from a visual communications background. My work over time on this course has become a lot stronger visually due to gaining feedback from participants during user research and testing. The opportunity to create meaningful design excites me, keeping to values of inclusivity and accessibility in design decisions. My strengths are in my creativity and collaboration; I have thrived working in groups online and in person, skills I will carry into the workplace. I will succeed in a career that allows me to keep growing as a creative and as a person, to gain new perspectives, and keep striving for inclusivity and accessibility.
Bud sports - strengthening the comfort felt by LGBTQ+ in recreational sports