Project Date: Fall 2021
Go Non-binary! is a community where non-binary people are recognized and respected, and where every individual has the freedom to express their gender as they see fit.
The organization is also a design leadership initiative that aims to raise awareness of non-binary issues through education, advocacy, and collaboration. It was developed by Jennifer Landau, Founder and Designer at Creative Coffee, where she passionately researched a solution for non-inclusive experiences in the retail world. Not only did she want to create a community where they felt they could be themselves without fear of judgment, but she also wanted to educate those around them about what being non-binary means.
Unfortunately, many retailers still use gender labels in stores—which can make customers feel restricted to one section of the store and pressured to conform to how the retailer is marketing genders.
While this may help drive sales for some businesses, it can be extremely alienating for others. That's why her research suggested that by creating a virtual reality shopping experience customers can connect with brands in real time from anywhere in the world and try on outfits seamlessly. By connecting both online and offline experiences, Go Non-binary! is able foster a community where non-binary people feel supported.
By using gender labels in stores, customers feel they are restricted to one specific section and pressured to conform to how the retailer is marketing genders.
Retailers should create a virtual reality shopping assimilation as a way to integrate an inclusive experience for all by leveraging technology to meet consumers behaviors.
Increase brand engagement through social media (earned media). Connect in store and online experiences. Create new outfit combinations efficiently. Collect data by analyzing tags using machine learning. Less returns, wasted inventory and carbon footprint.
Every designer should understand and take time to create a positive social impact. At Creative Coffee, we strive to make a difference in the world and help those that need a voice. Design leaders identify problems and take initiative to put a stake on the ground and nurture communities. Designers need to be skilled at empathizing without judgment and genuinely support niche groups that want change. For this reason, we established Go Non-binary! as a means for people to learn and share their experiences in the community.
We articulated the problem statement to come up with a research plan.
Why is it a problem?
By using gender labels in stores, customers feel they are restricted to one specific section and pressured to conform to how the retailer is marketing genders. Many shoppers feel that crossing over to a different gender’s section is taboo, which can instill feelings of guilt, shame, and loneliness. Clothing is a powerful expression of identity. We see it every day in the forms of pop culture, media and generational trends.
If a child identifies as non-binary, why must they conform to the identity that society has ascribed them? We think all should be free to live authentically, and we believe that dismantling the norms built into retail experiences is an important task
Fashion is the freedom to express oneself. This becomes problematic from the start of life when we follow a stigma correlating blue for boys and pinks for girls. By labeling the sections as girls and boys or male and female, customers feel they are assigned a section and have to conform to the retailers method in marketing. Customers could feel that crossing over to the opposite section is taboo or worse, can suppress and guilt them for not being able to freely express themselves. If a child identifies himself as the opposite sex, should they have to follow society's norms? I think they should be who they want to be and if their parents are open to it, they can identify themselves however they want. Additionally, clothing has the power to express a person's identity and we've seen it time and time again. The way we dress is so powerful that it can make political statements. Currently, lawmakers in California have made multiple attempts to enforce retailers to offer gender neutral sections not only in clothing, but more recently toys as well. While the law will require large department stores to comply, penalties for not doing so would be light. Starting in 2024, prosecutors could seek civil fines of up to $250 for first offenses and up to $500 for second offenses.
We decided to perform standard primary and secondary research. Primary research consisted of fact finding and digging through several databases.
We developed several questionnaires to dig deeper as we progressed. By joining Facebook and reddit groups we sources 60 non-binary who openly contributed to our research.
“Ethnographic research is tricky. If your interviewees do not trust you then you can't get the results you need. It's important to sort that out first."
We created journey and empathy maps, user personas, etc.
“We understood that Millenials and Gen Zers are accustomed to "infotainment" so we developed a way to maintain their attention with a comic"
“With our primary and secondary research we honed in on a solution by conducting brainstorming sessions."
🎉 We displayed our solution and process on an interactive website.
"Retailers should create a virtual reality shopping assimilation as a way to integrate an inclusive experience for all by leveraging technology to meet consumers behaviors"
🚀 UX/ Web design and development