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Designing a Product to inspire a #ListeningChurch

The synod is a gathering of people, typically to counsel the pope on doctrinal and pastoral concerns. This time, with instruction from the Pope and the Vatican City, this exercise has been extended to all Catholics all over the world, to get a sensing of where the Church is and what can be done to bring the church forward.

For the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, we had to find a way to
gather the sentiments of Catholics in Singapore (up to 150k of them) in an easy and fuss-free manner whilst including the flexibility of allowing them to respond in a way that they would be comfortable in. This product would be built on the existing web application which already holds 150 000 registered Catholic users.


UX and UI Designer

As the sole UI/UX designer of this project, I led the design process from start to finish.

This included gathering resources on best practices, understanding business and user needs and addressing these needs through the conceptualisation and design of the product created.

*As this digital product was urgently requested for by stakeholders, conceptualisation and design of the product was done at an incredibly accelerated pace.


2 Days

Design Tools


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Addressing Requirements

They asked, We delivered

The brief given to the product team included that demographic data had to be collected so that results could be analysed in accordance with certain details such as age group of the participant and which organisation they belonged to, just to name a few.

Though the product to be created was a means for data collection, stakeholders requested for the overall user experience to mimic that of what was instructed by the Vatican.

This included
encouraging users to start their response process with a prayer, and to subsequently guide their thought process through the flow of reading the introductory messages for said topics and then reading the guiding questions before embarking on their responses.

Product Features

1) A Safe Space to Share - Three different entry pathways for users

The team recognised that giving feedback may be quite sensitive in nature which might mean that some users may not be comfortable in revealing their identities. As such, two pathways were constructed for users to use this portal, one where they could respond anonymously and another where they could sign in to their existing account.

A further iteration was done after feedback from stakeholders was taken into consideration and we provided a third pathway for users responding collectively as a group setting.

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These different pathways also resulted in differences in how the demographic data was collected for the users.
As registered users already have certain personal details linked to their accounts, the questions asked on their demographic  form was shorter in nature, capturing data requested specifically by our stakeholders.


2) Guiding Our Users - Bringing the "Human touch" to the Digital World

Through the conceptualisation of the design, what was important was to ensure a gentle tone of voice as well as an interface that could double up as a digital facilitator for this process of collecting feedback, so that it would not be perceived by users as just another data collection process.

We did this by including:

  1. Warm tone of voice through the copy written​​

  2. Allowing users the option to begin with the prayer as recommended by the Vatican, so that the process of them sharing their feedback would be done in the right spirit

​   3. Providing guiding questions to allow users to reflect on their experience before penning down their feedback

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​   4Indicators to reflect their completion of certain feedback topics (for registered users) so they can keep track of what they've responded to

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Consistency in Style to Reflect One Universal Catholic Church

The colours and fonts chosen for this product was kept in line with the design guidelines provided by the Vatican. I chose to keep to what was already given so as to allow for standardisation across the faith. This helped to reinforce the doctrine of how the Catholic Church is universal in nature.

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Conclusion and Reflection

A Product Used by 10 000 users and counting!

To date, since mid November 2021, the Synod feedback portal has been used by 10 000 users. As the feedback portal is open till the mid of the year, the team is expecting more incoming responses.

I'm thankful that this product serves the needs of the stakeholders who employed our help to develop it. There are, however, certain improvements I would have liked to make in terms of design and process, should the team have had the luxury of time for it. One of my biggest gripes is that we did not manage to do an actual usability test before the design went into production. Thus, we missed out on valuable user insights that could have further honed the product. Furthermore, most iterations made after the product was developed were done owing to stakeholder requirements, rather than user needs and feedback. My only consolation is that the product has reached a significant number of Catholics registered on our system, which will assist the data team when it comes to the data analysis portion, which translates to us meeting the initial requirements of this project.

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