Animal Liberation Conference

A mobile app allowing animal rights activists to coordinate events and civil disobedience actions

Direct Action Everywhere, an international animal rights activism group, hosts an annual conference in Berkeley, California. Conference organizers use a mobile app to coordinate events and civil disobedience actions, but the existing app wasn’t meeting the needs of conference organizers or participants. Working with two other UX designers over a three-week design sprint, redesigned the app with features to complete their most important tasks — creating an account, exploring events, viewing the events they signed up for, and checking for alerts. We designed a mid-fidelity and a high-fidelity prototype and conducted usability testing to generate multiple rounds of user feedback.

Role: UX/UI designer

Tools: Miro, Figma


A mobile app that’s optimized to reduce friction in completing key tasks

An onboarding experience that protects users privacy while also giving them the flexibility to share their RSVP status

An in-app notification system that takes a high-stress event (civil disobedience) into account

Deep dive


Based on our initial interview with the client, we identified three main goals for the redesign:

  • Increase the use and functionality of the Animal Liberation Conference app
  • Consider users’ needs for privacy and anonymity to prevent stalking/trolling behavior
  • Make the app easily adaptable by other conferences in the Direct Action Everywhere network

Current app

We conducted a heuristic evaluation and usability testing on the Animal Liberation Conference’s current mobile app to take existing usability issues into account for the redesign.


We conducted a competitive analysis to compare features on 10 other popular conference apps. This gave us a sense of current trends and competitive advantages of various features.

Affinity map for Dreaming Spaces


To start defining our design, we sketched dozens of solutions to the user needs and pain points that we uncovered during the discovery phase.

We created a mood board to create a shared visual language of design elements (color palettes, patterns, and UI designs).

We created a user flow to determine the fewest steps required for a user to complete to key tasks.

And returning once again our preliminary sketches (and with the user flow in mind), we determined our minimum viable product (MVP), which focused on the following features:

  • Onboarding process and privacy
  • App navigation
  • “Schedule” and “my schedule”
  • RSVP/view attending process
  • Notifications


We developed a mid-fidelity prototype and a high-fidelity prototype to test the functionality of our MVP, and we conducted a usability test with twenty-four participants. We had each user complete four different tasks, including creating an account, exploring an event, finding events that they’ve already signed up for, and checking for any alerts.

Key findings and solutions

  • The onboarding process. The existing app currently doesn’t require any login. You have the option to “edit your information,” but most users don’t even know that it’s there. We developed a new onboarding experience where, after downloading and opening the app for the first time, users receive a popup, highlighting the option to remain anonymous. We’ve reinforced that choice again with a simple sign in screen that invites them to either “sign up” or “stay anonymous.”And we included a third reminder with the checkbox acknowledgement of the privacy policy.
  • A homepage that provides an overview. On the existing app, the homepage is the schedule. We observed many users were challenged early on by not having an overview of the conference. So we developed a homepage that highlighted important information, and we used photography to start setting expectations about the conference experience.
  • RSVP process. On the existing app, we observed that users were confused by the “mark as attending/mark as not attending” buttons because there was no onboarding process and the button didn’t show them their current attendance status. So, after iterating and testing this language a number of times, we redesigned the buttons to say “mark as attending” and “attending.” And we added a confirmation popup to further confirm the action.
  • One dynamic schedule page. On the existing app, “schedule” and the personalized “my schedule” are displayed on separate pages and both are listed in the nav bar. We observed that this was causing some users to “double-check” that the event was saved to their personalized schedule by going back to the previous page. So in our design, we removed the separation between schedule and my schedule completely, instead listing the RSVP status as an icon in the event card.
  • Notifications that stand out. On the existing app, there wasn’t much visual differentiation between the various announcements. So we created icons to represent the different types of announcements, and we added a color distinction to set “safety alerts” apart from the other notifications. We also observed that many users stumbled with the word “announcements” itself. They weren’t thinking that announcements were the same as in-app notifications. So we changed the language from “announcements” to “notifications” to be more accessible to users. And many users remarked that they wouldn’t think to check notifications without being able to see that they have new notifications from any screen on the app. So we added a graphic indicator of the number of new notifications.
A group of animal rights activists


The Animal Liberation Conference software engineering team is planning to release the new app for their 2020 conference.