UniChat breaks down all language barriers and makes us feel like we all speak the same language. The idea for UniChat originated during the refugee crisis in 2015, where a record of 1.3 Million refugees entered Europe. The app's purpose was to make it easier for refugees to connect with locals to ask everyday questions about the culture in the cities they were living in, to help them get back to living their lives again.
Together with two software engineers, we created the demo during the FuseHack hackathon.
Due to my own experience, I realized that most refugees who arrived in an European city felt very isolated. Even when they were given a place to stay in the middle of the city, they stayed inside their apartment buildings. The main questions they had were simple everyday questions, but they had no one to ask it to and were afraid to explore by themselves. For example: "How does the tram system work?", Or "Where can I get my phone screen fixed?"
On the other hand, locals wanted to help but had no time to fully commit to join a charity or organization.
To solve the language barrier we created a chat app that instantly translates foreign languages to a language of choice. This made it possible for two people who spoke different languages to easily communicate. To make it easier to get in touch with refugees and vice versa, we implemented a feature to connect based on your interests or in what field you could help or needed help in.
UX Design Process
While testing we understood that although they all do have a phone, not all of them have an active phone number to create an account. They all had Facebook and were using WIFI to connect to the internet.
We made it possible to sign up without a phone number and create an account with the app itself. This makes is possible to also login from a browser.
Because the we took out the phone numbers, to connect with people you meet in real life, we generated a personal ID name and QR code for each user. By just scanning the QR code or personal ID name, the person will be added to your contacts.