A multifunctional app exclusively For polycule (Polyamorous family)

Scope: 2 months
Categories: UX UI, Concept Ideation, Service Design, Prototyping, User Research Role: Solo project. Conducted desk research, interviews, wireframes, prototyping and design strategy
Tools:  Sketch, Principle, Adobe Illustrator, After Effects




Polyamorous people who are in non-hierarchical relationships want to be equal with every partners. However, All of the relationship coordination and management is manual and fragmented. They spend time using multiple apps to communicate and schedule time which is time consuming.



Improve the way they manage things between partners.Polyamorous people need to know each partners’ partner(s) which requires a huge amount of time getting to know each of them. It would be valuable to build a visualization of the polycule.



People who are practicing polyamory and have their own polycule(poly family) also, want to make it easier to manage their relationships.



PolyPop is an integrated polycule exclusive app with multifunctions. It visualizes the poly family showing three layers of one user’s relationship, including their partner(s), metamour(s) and metamours’ partner(s). In the app, Users can chat online and schedule time simultaneously. Also, users have access to many online services in discover section.


How might we help polyamorists better manage their relationship(s) and coordinate sounder between their partners?



Design Process


Quick Click To:



What is polyamory?

Polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy".


“4%-5% of Americans reported currently being polyamorous”

This, though, assumes rather than establishes that polyamory is a tiny minority. What research there is suggests otherwise: a survey of some 8,700 US single adults in 2017 found that more than one in five engaged in consensual non-monogamy at some point in their lives, while in a 2014 survey 4%-5% of Americans reported currently being polyamorous.

Olivia Goldhill <Polyamorous sex is the most quietly revolutionary political weapon in the United States>



I drew this illustration of some terms of relationships that has been usually used.

  • Escalator Relationship

    This term is used primarily by people who want to get "off the escalator," who want to judge the success of relationships by criteria other than how smoothly and automatically the relationship gets more serious.

  • Polycule

    A polycule refers collectively to all of the people who are in a relationship with one or more other members of the group.

  • Metamour

    metamour (plural metamours) (rare) In a polyamorous relationship, one's partner's partner, with whom one is not directly involved.

  • Hierarchical/Non-Hierarchial Relationship

    arranged or not in order of rank

  • Unicorn

    the term Unicorn is used to describe a bisexual person (usually though not always female) who is willing to join an existing couple.

Screen Shot 2019-01-12 at 7.12.59 PM.png





How It Works


User information input

  • Basic Information: Name, Date of birth, Gender and sexuality.

  • Close Poly Community: For privacy protection, user need to create a PolyPop ID so that only people know their ID can find and add friends.

  • Diversity: PolyPop supports gender and sexuality equality.

  • STI Test (Optional): Sexual Transmitted Infection test every three months is suggested by doctors that people who have high rate sex activities. In poly community, this is also a recommendation and responsibility to do this regularly. However, PolyPop has this in information section as optional, user can choose to show or not.


Visualizing the Polycule

  • Showing three layers of user’s relationships: 1) partner(s); 2) Metamor(s)—one’s partner’s partner, but to whom, have no romantic relationship; 3) Metamor’s partner.

  • Notification of new member(s): if someone within the three layers has new committed partner, the user will get notified.

  • Poly Dynamic Interaction: It is a subtle but interesting interaction in the homepage that user can drag the photo to change the place.


Multiple Functions

  • Time Schedule in the Chat: Many poly people use google calendar to schedule time with partners currently. In the PolyPop, user can make an appointment with each other in the chat.

  • Online Services: In the Discover part, there are many services that users have access to such as knowledge, health consulting, etc.

  • Poly Event News: There are many polyamory events held regularly, however, they are fragmented right now. Discover page will show upcoming events nearby where the user live.



Throughout this project, I conducted interviews with people who are practicing polyamory. They are from different background and have varies stories of being poly. To better understand this kind of relationship, I asked them about lifestyles, benefits of being poly, obstacles and also plans. Some of them choose to be anonymous due to many reasons.

Key Takeaways

Many interviewees talked about the stigmas around polyamory, I am aware of that, however, in this project, I want to focus more on their daily needs and how I could make their relationship management batter.

  • Time and Energy Consuming: Most polyamorists need to meet their metamour(s) (partners’ partners), it’s a way to form their poly family, Polycule. Yet relationship management is time consuming.

  • Higher Levels of Contagions: Living in the different relationships exposes oneself to a higher level of contagion. Not only infections, sometimes bad emotions can be contagious in the relationships as well.

  • Improve the way they manage things between partners: Polyamorous people need to know each partners’ partner(s) which requires a huge amount of time getting to know each of them. It would be valuable to build a visualization of the polycule.

  • Build more sustainable and reliable relationships: Polyamorous people need to get STI testing theoretically every three months especially if the relationship is inclusive. Sometimes bad emotions can be contagious in the relationships as well.



Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis, I focused my research on relationship and dating applications that are most regularly used. Most of these platforms are designed through a monogamous lens. However, the application polypop fits in is a blue ocean, exclusively for polyamory management.


Information Architecture








Final Product


Next Steps

  • Get back to users: Do more usability testing and iteration

  • Develop the system: Expand on how the journey points system would work

  • Collaboration: In-app services expand in the future