Rozy Penaloza

The Concept

The purpose of the application is to create a digital space where users can inform themselves on current issues and explore other perspectives. Lybra allows users to browse news articles by different publications based on trending topics.

The Challenge

Most people tend to surround themselves with others who share their beliefs, and values. Not to say that they ONLY surround themselves with like-minded people, but they tend to seek those who re-affirm their views.

It is the same with news. Increasingly, we find ourselves scrolling through Facebook and seeing the same news publications and topics pop up over and over, with the same opinions being represented from the same friends. However, when conflicting opinions clash, it can lead to heated discussions. People's behaviour towards the opposition, becomes hostile, leading to the great divide between people, causing antagonism, antipathy, and dissent.

The Goal

Our goal is to break people out of their bias bubble. Lybra was driven by the idea of emotional correctness. Rather than behaving out of fear or intolerance, we want people to understand opposing views, even when these threaten the legitimacy of their own. Understanding these as existing on a spectrum allows people to recognize what joins them together, and to reconcile with the fact often issues are complex and differing point of view will always exist.

The Solution

Lybra solves the common “echo chamber” problem through which people receive the same news and opinions consistently, which reinforce their own biases, and fosters more elaborate and varied discussions on important political topics.

The app draws the day's top stories from six different publications. The publications are ranked according to the majority political affiliation of their consistent readership. These publications, ranked from most left-wing to most right-wing, are: Slate, The New York Times, CNN, Yahoo! News, Fox News and Breitbart.

This way of consuming the news encourages people to read the other sides of a story so that they can gain the most comprehensive understanding of world events.

The Design Process

Our design was informed by the idea of the political spectrum. While we recognize that this spectrum exists beyond a simple left to right line, we worked with this concept to simplify how we visually represented a complicated concept, and to address the affiliations many people typically claim to have.

We chose to focus our app for U.S. audiences and those interested in U.S. politics and news. We are seeing a left/right divide in the U.S. growing during the time leading up to the election and after Donald Trump became the President of the United States. For this reason, the Democratic symbol of the Donkey and the Republican symbol of the Elephant are used at each end of the spectrum to demonstrate the overall bias of the publication and its readership for each story.


Low Fidelity Prototype

The earliest version of our design included a left and right side that drew from more than 50 publications and automatically adjusted one side to match the other as users scrolled through news stories from a particular topic. This is a link to the Lo-Fi Prototype.

High Fidelity Iteration

User Testing