mHCI Capstone Project 2020

Improving Access to Social Benefits through Design

Exploring the Problem Space

We're constantly researching to understand the current process of applying for state benefits, with a particular interest in identifying the barriers that stop potential applications and recipients from accessing services.
Explore the Problem Space

Methods of Discovery

From this work, we devised the next steps in our research strategy, split between applicant outreach and stakeholder interviews. After developing the relevant research protocols and conducting dozens of hours research with almost 100 participants, we came away with an enormous amount of data.
Explore Our Research

Design Exploration

While we're constantly researching and exploring our findings, we're also continuously using both as the basis for iterating on design ideas. As this feedback loop continues, our understanding of the space improves, as do our designs
Explore Our Designs

Our Process



Conducting secondary research to get our feet under us, we set out in search of prior research on and work in the federal, state, and local benefits space.



Through primary research we engaged Non-Profit Organizations, applicants, and other key players to understand and narrow our corner of the problem space - screening and applying for benefit programs.



Creating novel solutions to complex, human problems isn't easy. Prototyping with voice has allowed us to quickly learn from real people what will and won't work as we iterate quickly.



When we align on the solution that best serves the people we're trying to help, it's all hands on deck to complete, improve, iterate on, and publish our solution for maximum impact.

Medium Blog Posts

Where we've been,
and where we're going

Read our Blog
Making the Magic happen

Meet the Team


Research &
Visual Design

I have a BA in Psychology from Westminster College and have lived in Pittsburgh for the last 4 years working for American Eagle. Originally from NW PA; I have interests in gaming, user research, true crime podcasts, and bar trivia!

Tommy's Portfolio


Research &
Product Design

I have worked as a UX Research intern at IBM and Qualcomm, and have served as a UX Design Lead for a non-profit startup that I’ve founded. I’m aiming to bring together my knowledge in user research, qualitative data analysis, and interaction design skills.

Judy's Portfolio

Laura Beth Fulton

Product Design & Management

Originally from Ocean City, NJ. I have worked in Product Management for gaming at EA, explored voice design at Apple and impacted hardware devices at Microsoft. My interests include conversation, drinking tea, music (playing bagpipes!), and gaming.

Laura's Portfolio


Development & Consulting

I'm a Pittsburgh native, graduating from CMU with a BS in Information Systems and Human-Computer Interaction in May. I have extensive experience in software development, application design, and database development. Former consultant at Accenture, future consultant at Deloitte.

Conlon's Portfolio

Simran Jobanputra

Business & 
Product Design

I’m from Chicago, IL. I recently graduated from CMU with a B.S. in Business Administration and HCI. I have worked across disciplines from being a trader on Wall Street to working as a UX Designer at NASA. Outside of the classroom, I’m involved in the entrepreneurship scene and I’m an avid dancer!

Simran's Portfolio