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The Seattle Pilot of the AsylumConnect Catalog: A Case Study

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Written by Emma Biegacki, Tiff Lu and Katie Sgarro Designed by Tori Sgarro




Catalog Version 1.0 Achievements

Limitations Research and Development Assessing User Needs Prioritizing Features Wireframing and Feedback Improving the Resource Verification Model


12 15

Catalog Version 2.0 By the Numbers

Resources Overview Catalog v2.0 Web Statistics On-the-Ground Statistics Local Marketing and Outreach In the Press Print and Online Advertisements Online Link Referrals Community Events Results Achievements Limitations Short-Term Goals Boosting Online Presence Boosting Local Presence Boosting Local Partnerships Boosting Local Knowledge


Appendices Appendix A: Catalog Version 1.0 Screenshots

Appendix B: Catalog Version 1.0 Resource Categories Appendix C: Goals for Participant Interviews Appendix D: Participant Information Statement Appendix E: Participant Interview Questions Appendix F: Catalog Version 2.0 Wireframes Appendix G: Catalog Version 2.0 Resource Verification Form


cti Introdu


o-founded in July 2014, AsylumConnect is an incorporated nonprofit startup creating the first online, centralized database of service providers for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the United States. The AsylumConnect catalog will help persecuted LGBTQ people find fundamental human needs resources upon their arrival in the U.S. AsylumConnect initially considered four cities for its inaugural pilot of the catalog model: Philadelphia, PA (where AsylumConnect was founded), New York City, NY, Seattle, WA, and Washington, D.C. Numerous factors were taken into account, including the size and diversity of the local LGBTQ, immigrant and asylee populations, anticipated interest from local service providers, and existing on-the-ground connections. AsylumConnect ultimately selected Seattle, WA. Seattle is

home to approximately 173,000 LGBTQ individuals (as of March 2015) as well as a growing population of asylees and refugees, numbering around 4,300+ (as of 2003). Seattle’s asylee and refugee populations are reported to hail from a multitude of countries, including: Somalia, Eritrea, Bhutan, Russia, Ukraine, and Iran. Seattle is also home to Jacque Larrainzar, a member of the AsylumConnect advisory team, as well as multiple LGBTQ asylum seekers who had previously contacted AsylumConnect for assistance and information. In August 2015, AsylumConnect launched its catalog version 1.0 in Seattle, WA. Following a period of research and development, catalog version 2.0 was launched in February 2016 for the Seattle area. This case study documents the development, launch, and analysis of catalog v2.0, as well as proposes holistic improvements to the AsylumConnect catalog model based on insights from the catalog v2.0 Seattle pilot.



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he AsylumConnect catalog v1.0 was launched in August 2015 for the Seattle, WA area on a Squarespace platform. This preliminary version of the catalog officially commenced AsylumConnect’s mission to build the first online, centralized database of service providers for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the United States. Catalog v1.0 featured medical, social, counseling, legal, and other services (such as free computer labs and Internet access, mailing services, public libraries, etc.). See Appendix A for catalog v1.0 screenshots and Appendix B for the full resource category breakdown. For posterity, catalog v1.0 is hosted at: www.asylumconnect.org/seattle-washington.

Achievements Although rudimentary in its design, the catalog v1.0 received positive reception from key stakeholders, reaffirming the potential of the AsylumConnect catalog model. One LGBTQ


asylum seeker from Jamaica welcomed the release of catalog v1.0 by saying,

“Thank you so much. I was trying to gather information such as yours, but this is the most comprehensive I have ever read.”

AsylumConnect also received all of its preliminary funding at the time of the AsylumConnect catalog v1.0. In August 2015, AsylumConnect won the Millennium Peace Prize at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference (MCC15) at the United Nations. In November 2015, AsylumConnect tripled its funding as the winner of the 2015 Business Today (BT) Impact Challenge at the BT International Conference in New York City.

Limitations Despite receiving an overwhelmingly positive reception, the catalog v1.0 model was wanting in sustainability, feature set, and community safety. The rudimentary text-based web page hindered maintenance by: • Requiring resources that fell under more than one category to be manually duplicated on the page • Only allowing one person to edit the catalog at a time • Lacking any form of version control In addition, its text-heavy and untranslatable nature failed to accommodate a heavily multilingual and multicultural audience, many of whom are not fluent in English. The catalog v1.0 trial period also limited initial catalog access to internal and recruited testers. Lastly, the absence of a comprehensive resource verification model resulted in minimal guarantee that resources would be active, LGTBQfriendly and/or asylum-friendly.

Research and Development After discovering the limitations of the catalog v1.0, AsylumConnect began a four-month period of research and development starting in September 2015. Led by the newlysigned Directors of Catalog and User Experience & Software Development, this iterative process attempted to prioritize social responsibility and the ethos of “do no harm.”

Assessing User Needs The team conducted virtual interviews with LGBTQ asylum seekers and community stakeholders in an effort to better understand this underserved population’s needs. To focus inquiry, the AsylumConnect team wrote questions in accordance to internal goals for participant interviews (Appendix C). Interviewees were sent participant information statements (Appendix D) explaining that their participation was optional and detailing how any collected information would be used. (For a master list of interview questions, refer to Appendix E.)

Prioritizing Features AsylumConnect’s interviews revealed the following: • Resources can be stratified into short-term, mid-term and long-term needs • Resources are more easily identifiable when associated with needs (i.e., food) as opposed to formal

categorizations (i.e., Social Services > Meal Assistance) • Social integration is key for many LGBTQ asylum seekers, who frequently experience social isolation due to their marginalized identities, lack of American cultural competency, etc. • Confidentiality and information privacy are of paramount importance to LGBTQ asylum seekers, many of whom fear homophobic or transphobic retribution from those in their home countries • LGBTQ asylum seekers may struggle to obtain transportation to service providers and/or physically locate service providers • Paper-based copies of the AsylumConnect catalog content are vital for accommodating users who lack reliable access to computers and/or the Internet AsylumConnect’s target population expressed an overt desire for the following features: • Visualizing resources by location • Filtering resources by provided services and additional features (e.g., free, confidential, translation services) • Allowing users to contribute feedback and additional resources After reviewing user interview results, AsylumConnect reprioritized its catalog features accordingly. The team agreed to roll out additional features in the following order of priority: Catalog v2.0: Improved catalog user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) • Resource recategorization, including more intuitive category naming • Resource reorganization in accordance with relative priority • Resource filtering by category and subcategory • Geospatial information visualization • Multilingual support • Feedback contribution Catalog v3.0: Integrated feedback loop • Feedback contribution • Catalog v3.0: Integrated feedback loop • Option to mark resources as unfriendly to asylum seekers and/or LGBTQ populations • Introduction of more responsive submission process for crowdsourcing resources • Ability for LGBTQ asylum seekers and community stakeholders to rate, review, and verify resources


(See Appendix F for a breakdown of catalog v2.0’s category reorganization.) The AsylumConnect team planned to commence the development of catalog v2.0 immediately, while catalog v3.0 would wait for AsylumConnect to accrue additional technical resources.

Wireframing and Feedback AsylumConnect designed wireframes for catalog v2.0 (as seen in Appendix G). Design considerations included: • The importance of searching for resources by and within a given city • The relative importance of resources (short-term, midterm, and long-term) • The importance of visualizing resources by geographic location • The significance of reorganizing resources into “needsfirst” categories • The addition of new resource categories (i.e., employment assistance, ESL courses, etc.) • The importance of highlighting the AsylumConnect catalog disclaimer After LGBTQ asylum seekers provided usability feedback on the wireframes, AsylumConnect began software development.

Improving the Resource Verification Model In addition to designing catalog v2.0, AsylumConnect also overhauled its resource collection and verification processes. Specifically, AsylumConnect introduced a resource verification form (Appendix H) which mandated that resources be verified on the basis of three primary criteria: • Active • LGBTQ-friendly • Accessible to asylum seekers


The goal of this redesign was twofold. Firstly, the AsylumConnect team wanted to better ensure that all cataloged resources were able to accommodate LGBTQ asylum seekers. Secondly, the team wanted to improve ease of verification for both the service provider and the verifier. The introduced verification form expanded verification options with the aim of creating a more manageable threshold for successful verification without compromising on quality and thoroughness.


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n February 2016, catalog v2.0 was released for public piloting in Seattle, WA. The revamped catalog introduced a host of new features, including: • Google Maps integration (to allow users to visualize resources by location) • Resource filtering by categories as well as additional LGBTQ asylum seeker-specific considerations (i.e., confidential, free, translation services available) • A complete overhaul of previous resource categorization (as informed by earlier findings) • Additional UI/UX improvements (e.g., category/feature icons, collapsible resource descriptions) Later iterations added a feedback form and multilingual support via the Google Translate plugin. The catalog v2.0 pilot ran for approximately 6 months, from February to August 2016. Seattle-based operations were

coordinated by Jacque Larrainzar, an LGBTQ asylee and a member of the AsylumConnect advisory team, and Sonja Basha, a dedicated AsylumConnect volunteer. Jacque is involved directly in the provision of social services in Seattle and on staff at Seattle Counseling Services (SCS). Jacque’s role within her sector and the local community proved invaluable to AsylumConnect during the catalog v2.0 pilot, especially when it came to arranging events, establishing local connections, and recruiting local volunteers. Upon conclusion of the pilot in late August 2016, the catalog continues to grow and operate in Seattle, supported by the joint effort of staff and volunteers. Once demonstrated viable, AsylumConnect plans to introduce new features developed for scaling to Philadelphia, PA, to the Seattle catalog as well.


By the Numbers

Resource Overview


Resource Categories

Examples: Dental Care, Sexual Health, Food, Housing, Legal


Additional Resource Features

Confidential, Free, Language Translation Available


Resources Cataloged

On-the-Ground Statistics


Local Events

Examples: Information sessions, catalog demonstrations, panels



Local Stakeholders and Community Members Reached

Catalog v2.0 Web Statistics

All stats from March 2016 – August 2016


Site Sessions

89% on desktop 11% on mobile

1,251 532



62% new 66% male 70% ages 18-24 38% returning 34% female 23% ages 25-34 7% ages 35-44 3% ages 45-54


66% USA (Philly>Seattle>NYC) 22% UK

Distinct Countries Represented

Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.


Local Marketing and Outreach The AsylumConnect team implemented the following outreach strategies in Seattle, WA: • Publish feature articles about AsylumConnect in major local media outlets • Purchase print and online advertisements • Secure online link referrals to the AsylumConnect catalog • Deliver in-person presentations to key stakeholders and community members

In the Press To-date, AsylumConnect has been featured in the following Seattle-based media outlets: • The Seattle Times (Local News section), “Local outreach project hopes to help LGBTQ immigrants, asylum-seekers” (September 24, 2015) • The Seattle Globalist, “Helping LGBTQ asylum-seekers and immigrants destined for Seattle” (September 28, 2015) • The Seattle Lesbian, “AsylumConnect Releases New Resource Catalog for LGBTQ Asylum Seekers in Seattle” (February 12, 2016)

Print and Online Advertisements Local advertiser Seattle Gay News (SGN) granted AsylumConnect a discounted monthly rate to publish both a ¼ page print advertisement and an online advertisement. The following table provides web statistics for the first month (April 2016) of the AsylumConnect advertisement on the SGN website.


Based on the above data, the AsylumConnect team decided to renew the discounted online and print advertisements in SGN for a second month. In addition, the AsylumConnect team also implemented targeted Facebook advertising campaigns geared towards reaching individuals living in the Seattle area.

Online Link Referrals Within a month of launching, the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 was formally recognized by the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for the City of Seattle as a recommended resource for the local LGBTQ community. At time of publication, the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 is listed under “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans Resources” for immigrants and refugees on Seattle.gov. The catalog has also garnered the attention of local government officials State Representative Laurie Jinkins and State Senator Maria Cantwell. Most recently, the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 was recognized by Gay City (Seattle’s LGBTQ Center) and is listed as a resource under both Gay City’s “Multicultural Groups” and “Legal” resource subgroups.

Community Events With the help of Jacque Larrainzar, AsylumConnect advisor, and Sonja Basha, AsylumConnect volunteer, the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 was presented at seven local events in Seattle, WA. Organized over the course of the pilot period, these events allowed AsylumConnect to demonstrate how to use the catalog and solicit feedback from local community members and stakeholders. In addition to publicizing the catalog’s release, these events provided the major source of community feedback for the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 pilot.

AsylumConnect has been humbled by the excitement and enthusiasm with which Seattle service providers have greeted catalog v2.0. Pilot events were well attended by a variety of stakeholders and community members, particularly service providers interested in how the catalog could serve their clients. Please see below for a more detailed breakdown of events: IRUO Project Radical Knowledge Share & Celebration - 200 People Reached • Event attendees included: State Representative Laurie Jinkins and State Senator Maria Cantwell • “IRUO” stands for the “LGBTQ Immigrant, Refugee & Undocumented Outreach Project” at Seattle Counseling Service (SCS) Undocu-Queer Student Conference - 125 People Reached • Event attendees included: Numerous high level representatives of refugee and asylee services from multiple countries

Reached • Jacque Larrainzar, a member of the AsylumConnect advisory team, was selected as the Refugee Congress delegate for Washington State, and presented on the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 at the LGBTQ Refugee Congress Hearing • Event attendees included: 15 people plus 5 Tacoma LGBTQ Agencies that are presently working with LGBTQ immigrants and refugees Department of Health “Weekly Round Up” Event - 10 People Reached • Event focused on immigrant and refugee outreach • Event attendees included: professionals in the field In total, AsylumConnect presented catalog v2.0 to 386 Seattle stakeholders and community members over seven local events.

World Affairs Council/U.S. Department of State Leadership Development Program - 13 People Reached Presentation to the University of Washington School of Social Work - 15 People Reached Refugee Resettlement IVLP European Delegation – 8 People Reached • The delegation included 7 visitors accompanied by 1 State Department liaison • Event attendees included: Representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC), Russian, Croatian, and Hungarian Red Cross, Young Caritas Switzerland, the Slovakian Department of Migration and Integration, and Sweden’s Ministry of Justice LGBTQ Refugee Congress Hearing, Tacoma, WA – 15 People


Results Achievements Service providers and community stakeholders who attended catalog v2.0 demonstrations and participated in catalog testing sessions widely praised the catalog’s new features. For example, many enthusiastically endorsed the visual ease afforded by newly-introduced mapping and iconography features, as well as the usefulness and detail of the catalog’s search customization capacity. The pilot also allowed AsylumConnect to gather feedback on catalog v2.0 directly from asylum seekers, which clearly spoke to the catalog’s potential. For example, David*, an asylum seeker located on the West Coast who helped AsylumConnect test catalog v2.0, stated:

“Global events are forcing more asylum seekers to feel unbearable conditions in their home countries to come to the U.S...Thank you for your efforts and support.”

Of catalog v2.0, David comments:

“highly recommended,” “easy to use,” “nothing not to like.”

When asked what may be missing from the catalog, David tells us he eagerly awaits expansion to other “local [organizations] and regions.” In addition, Seattle’s experienced LGBTQ service providers gave AsylumConnect invaluable recommendations on

* Name has been changed to protect this person’s identity.


potential catalog improvements throughout the catalog v2.0 pilot period. The most frequently received suggestions included: • Comprehensive language translation • Greater accessibility for users with low computer literacy • Clarification of user privacy protections • Provision of instructional materials for catalog use This feedback enabled AsylumConnect to iterate on catalog v2.0 throughout the course of the pilot. • In July 2016: AsylumConnect added new content for users on privacy and user information sharing. • In August 2016: AsylumConnect introduced preliminary translation capacity in over 100 languages. • Most recently, in September 2016: AsylumConnect created an explainer video describing how to navigate catalog v2.0 for the Seattle area. (The team plans to add multilingual subtitles to this video in the near future.)

Limitations While the Seattle pilot was very successfully in engaging service providers working directly with LGBTQ asylum seekers, the pilot garnered comparably less feedback on the catalog v2.0 model from LGBTQ asylum seekers themselves. Asylum seekers may face numerous barriers in becoming aware of and participating in AsylumConnect events, including: limited access to technologies (i.e., computers), challenges finding or navigating transportation, and restrictions due to immigration status and documentation. In addition, input gathered during the pilot period revealed a number of unanticipated obstacles that prevented catalog v2.0 from achieving optimal user satisfaction and community fit. For instance, users raised questions about the catalog’s ability to ensure user privacy. Service providers expressed concern that the catalog could drive clients toward already overloaded and underfunded resources, further demonstrating the importance of developing comprehensive

local partnerships. AsylumConnect is working to address these concerns in preparation for scaling an improved version of the catalog to Philadelphia, PA. (See the Conclusion for more details.)

Short-Term Goals AsylumConnect is in the process of reforming its pilot model and strategy. The team’s goal is to overcome the access barriers which currently inhibit optimal catalog engagement among LGBTQ asylum seekers. To this end, AsylumConnect will seek to boost its online presence as well as its local presence, partnerships, and knowledge prior to scaling its catalog to additional cities across the U.S. Boosting Online Presence • Goal: Increase AsylumConnect’s online presence • Purpose: The AsylumConnect team has identified search engine optimization (SEO) strategies as a high-priority action item for the AsylumConnect website. For example, the organization’s newly launched Google AdWords account will generate more clicks for the catalog website. AsylumConnect also plans to increase its number of online link referrals to the catalog site. The AsylumConnect team is confident that such plans for increasing AsylumConnect’s online presence will make it easier for LGBTQ asylum seekers to find the AsylumConnect catalog via online search engines. Boosting Local Presence • Goal: Strengthen local marketing efforts and expand local volunteer force in cities where the catalog is operating • Purpose: With more people on the ground, AsylumConnect can achieve more face-to-face interaction and outreach. This will allow for the catalog to be brought to users, as opposed to the other way around. To further spread awareness of the AsylumConnect catalog among the local community, AsylumConnect will increase its number of physical flyers and infographics

for local volunteers to distribute on the ground in cities where the catalog is live. AsylumConnect will work with local volunteers to place these promotional materials in local service providers’ offices, local public spaces (i.e., public libraries) and local businesses (i.e., grocery stores, pharmacies, mental health providers). AsylumConnect will also strive to host similar in-person events/presentations (as described in the “Community Events” section of this report), designed to raise awareness and engagement among local community members in both Seattle and the next catalog city (Philadelphia, PA). These in-person events will not only increase local awareness of the AsylumConnect catalog but they will also serve as an opportunity for AsylumConnect volunteers on the ground to aggregate and collaborate with one another. Boosting Local Partnerships • Goal: Build structured, formal partnerships with local organizations and service providers • Purpose: Through forging more established partnerships with organizations and service providers on the ground, AsylumConnect can significantly increase its access to asylum seekers already plugged into local services. In addition, AsylumConnect can also harness the knowledge of local organizations and providers to help ensure improved access to the catalog for local LGBTQ asylum seekers. Boosting Local Knowledge • Goal: Improve community targeting • Purpose: When implementing the catalog, AsylumConnect always seeks to provide an appropriate and informed technology that will meaningfully benefit catalog users and their broader communities. To that end, AsylumConnect considers continued staff education through community engagement as a long-term goal vital to the catalog’s overall success.



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sylumConnect is excited to leverage results from the Seattle pilot to inform its prioritization of catalog improvements and additions. By better understanding the current model’s limitations, AsylumConnect seeks to mitigate harm by turning over key aspects of the catalog model to those who are best equipped to provide feedback — members of the target community themselves.

catalog sourcing process — resource submission, editing and verification — directly in the hands of users, catalog v.3.0 strives to be more accurate, empowering and scalable. In addition, AsylumConnect plans to maintain the catalog as an open source software project, which will enable any interested and capable software developers to contribute directly to the catalog’s technical development.

AsylumConnect’s long-term vision is to create a resource database for LGBTQ asylum seekers that is predominantly community-sourced and vetted. Catalog v.3.0 will open up the resource submission and editing process through simple forms that publish directly to the catalog upon approval by an AsylumConnect staff member. Catalog users will be able to easily contribute useful information about resources they have used, endorsing resources for everything from not requiring identification or payment to being confidential, LGBTQ-friendly, safe, and accessible. By moving towards a crowdsourced model, AsylumConnect hopes to emphasize the opinions that matter most when it comes to verifying resources along both key access matters (e.g., requires documentation) and more subjective aspects (e.g., LGBTQfriendly, asylum seeker-friendly, etc.). By placing the entire

In September of 2016, AsylumConnect was selected as a client for the University of Pennsylvania’s Hack4Impact. (Hack4Impact is a student organization that connects nonprofits with student software developers.) This increase in technology capacity has allowed AsylumConnect to scale its vision for the catalog in accordance with a planned early 2017 expansion to Philadelphia, PA. In the months between now and the Philadelphia launch, Seattle operations will continue expanding to include: more catalogued resources, a larger on-the-ground volunteer force, and increased awareness of the catalog among local service providers and prospective users. In choosing which new catalog features to include in the Philadelphia launch, AsylumConnect has aimed to balance

user needs, scalability, and level of technical effort. Insights from the Seattle catalog v2.0 pilot enabled AsylumConnect to implement the following: • Clarification of user privacy protections (July 2016) • Comprehensive language translation (August 2016) • Provision of instructional materials for catalog use (September 2016) In addition to the above, the Philadelphia catalog is slated to include the following features: • Ability for users to select one of the currently supported cities from a map of the U.S. • A database that allows for more dynamic manipulation of resource data • Automated resource submission and editing forms open to both AsylumConnect volunteers and the general public • An administrator console where AsylumConnect staff can edit, reject or approve public submissions to the catalog • Automated resource reporting forms for users to report negative interactions with resources featured on the AsylumConnect catalog • Printable versions of catalog results for users with limited access to computers and/or the Internet • Open-sourced code and accompanying community contribution guidelines The following features, although not currently anticipated to be ready for the Philadelphia launch, comprise AsylumConnect’s next highest priority catalog improvements: • Additional filters for specific target populations (e.g., transgender, bisexual, Hispanic, etc.) • Ability for users to “endorse” resources for: »» Key access features (e.g., requires identification, requires payment, etc.) »» Subjective aspects (e.g., LGBTQ-friendly, safe for asylum seekers, etc.) • Improved geospatial visualization for resources »» Users will be granted the option to share their location with Google in order to more easily find which resources are closest to them »» Users will be able to sort resources by distance (from current location)

submission process will lessen the maintenance burden on AsylumConnect staff and pave the way for more easily expanding to other cities. • Community-centric. Allowing community members to not only submit but also endorse catalog resources (e.g., as LGBTQ-friendly or safe for asylum seekers) provides a level of resource verification that AsylumConnect volunteers alone cannot guarantee. In addition, target population filters will enable LGBTQ asylum seekers to conduct more personalized searches. • Transparent. Open-sourcing the code for the AsylumConnect catalog will allow community members to contribute directly to the catalog’s structure and content. In addition, similar initiatives may leverage AsylumConnect’s code base for their own enterprises. This vision for an open-sourced, crowdsourced catalog is in alignment with AsylumConnect’s principles of community empowerment and sustainable development. Ultimately, AsylumConnect seeks to provide a platform for LGBTQ asylum seekers to self-design their own resource collection and curation tool. While ensuring both user freedoms and user protections/data privacy may be a delicate balancing act, AsylumConnect is excited to rise to the challenge. The long-term vision of the AsylumConnect initiative remains to scale the AsylumConnect catalog to all major U.S. cities and ultimately, transform how LGBTQ asylum seekers connect with fundamental human needs service providers in the U.S.

These refinements to AsylumConnect’s resource submission and verification model have been developed in accordance with AsylumConnect’s core organizational values. In particular, the catalog aims to be: • Scalable. Opening up and automating the resource


Appendices Appendix A: Catalog Version 1.0 Screenshots


Appendix B: Catalog Version 1.0 Resource Categories

• Medical Services • Women’s Health • Dental Care • Medical Clinics • HIV/AIDS Care • Social Services • Meal Assistance • Homeless Shelters/Temporary Housing • Community Centers • Hygiene Centers, Laundry and Clothing Assistance • Counseling Services • Support Groups • Mental Health Services • Cultural Organizations • Legal Services • Legal Assistance • Legal Documentation & Enrollment • Other Services • Libraries • Computer Labs & Free Internet Access • Free Mailing Services • Recreational Activities & Facilities


Appendix C: Goals for Participant Interviews

To ask questions that will evoke both overt and underlying user needs. To understand how LGBTQ asylum seekers are currently utilizing our catalog. • By asking what was most helpful, what was least helpful, and why To discover how we can change the catalog to better serve our audience. • By understanding what resources LGBTQ asylum seekers need, in what capacity they need them, and when they are needed • By understanding what information LGBTQ asylum seekers require when evaluating if a resource is right for them • By asking about the kinds of questions they ask potential resources • By asking about which, if any, resource(s) did/did not work out, and why this was the case • By understanding what method of presenting resources is most intuitive or helpful • By asking what kinds of resources they (a) searched for (b) knew they needed (c) discovered they needed later on • By paying attention to terminology and categorical grouping in their answers To identify bottlenecks in our current catalog design. • By asking about major challenges in the resource-searching process • By asking about information that LGBTQ asylum seekers want to know about a resource before they feel comfortable utilizing it To identify the prime considerations LGBTQ asylum seekers have in mind when making decisions.


Appendix D: Participant Information Statement

Thank you for agreeing to talk to us about your experience with seeking asylum in the United States. This interview is being conducted on behalf of the volunteer initiative (*in June 2016, AsylumConnect transitioned from a volunteer initiative into an incorporated nonprofit startup), AsylumConnect, which is working to build the United States’ first comprehensive database of resources across the nation that are willing and able to assist LGBTQ asylum -seekers like yourself. It is our goal to make the asylum seeking process easier for LGBTQ asylum seekers by improving access to safe and high quality programs and services. Your answers to our questions will help ensure our catalog is as useful as possible, with all of the features an asylum seeker might need to locate the resources most useful and appealing to them. In brief, we want your input on how we can best serve you. Before we interview you, we wish you to know the following: • Your name and other identifying information will always be kept private. Any reference to information you provide presentations or publications will be attributed to a pseudonym. • The information you provide us may be used in the following ways: • To guide the design of our catalog and other services • To inform our ongoing case study of Seattle, Washington • For presentations and publications • For marketing • Please let us know if you are not ok with one or more of the above uses of information. • If at any time you wish to pause or discontinue interviewing or to retract the information you have provided, just let us know. We will not interview you or use information you have given us without your consent. • Do not hesitate to ask questions or voice concerns. We so appreciate your contribution to making AsylumConnect better able to serve LGBTQ asylum seekers. Please feel free to tell your friends and acquaintances about AsylumConnect, especially those who like you have undergone or are undergoing the asylum seeking process. We are always looking for more sources of feedback and insight. Tiffany Lu Director of Software Development & User Experience Emma Biegacki Director of Catalog


Appendix E: Participant Interview Questions

Demographics • Country of origin • Age when began seeking asylum • Age when asylum was granted Searching Experience • How did you arrive in the U.S.? • Did you choose the city that you settled in? • What was most important to you in choosing which location to settle in? • If you could have chosen the city that you settled in, what factors would have been the most important to you? • What was the first thing you did upon arriving in the U.S.? • Could you describe the asylum-seeking process you went through? • What was the most important to you at each point during that process? Resources Needed • What kinds of resources did you utilize during your asylum-seeking process? • How did you find them? • What was the order in which you searched for resources? • What resources were easiest to find? • What resources were the hardest to find? • What resources did you know you needed? • What resources did you not know that you needed? Resource Background • What information would you want to know about a resource before feeling comfortable enough to access it? Tools Used • What barriers did you encounter in finding resources? • What tools or connections were useful to you during the process? • What tools do you wish you had during the process? • Looking back, what do you think could have helped you? Platform • Did you have access to the Internet during your asylum-seeking process? • Did you have access to mobile technology during your asylum-seeking process? • Was there a language barrier? • What kinds of features would you like to see in our catalog? Reflection on Process • What advice would you provide to people undergoing the asylum-seeking process? • What would you have done differently? 19

Appendix F: Catalog Version 2.0 Resource Categories

• Medical Services • Medical Clinics • Women’s Health • Sexual Health • Trans Health • Dental Care • Legal Services • Legal Aid • Documentation & Enrollment • Housing & Shelter • Food & Meal Assistance • Hygiene, Laundry, & Clothing • Computer Labs & Free Internet Access • Employment Assistance • Educational Resources • English Language Classes • Libraries • Community Support • Community Centers • Cultural Organizations • LGBTQ+ Centers • Counseling Services • Support Groups • Private Counseling • Psychiatry • Free Mailing Services • Recreational Activities/Facilities


Appendix G: Catalog Version 2.0 Wireframe


Appendix H: Catalog Version 2.0 Resource Verification Form




Questions about the Seattle pilot of the AsylumConnect catalog v2.0 may be directed to Emma Biegacki, Director of Catalog, at emma@asylumconnect.org. Questions about the catalog v2.0 design process or catalog v3.0 development may be directed to Tiff Lu, Director of Technology, at tiff@asylumconnect.org. Please also contact Tiff Lu if you are a developer and wish to contribute to the open source development of the AsylumConnect catalog. Persons interested in volunteering with AsylumConnect on the ground in Seattle, WA or Philadelphia, PA should contact Matt Noel, Director of Human Resources, at matt@asylumconnect.org. General questions about AsylumConnect and overall organizational development may be directed to Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder and Co-Director, at katie@asylumconnect.org. Report published November 2016.

Profile for AsylumConnect

The Seattle Pilot of the AsylumConnect Catalog: A Case Study  

AsylumConnect is an incorporated nonprofit startup creating the first online, centralized database of service providers for LGBTQ asylum see...

The Seattle Pilot of the AsylumConnect Catalog: A Case Study  

AsylumConnect is an incorporated nonprofit startup creating the first online, centralized database of service providers for LGBTQ asylum see...