Vatsalaa Jha
UX designer


The case for equity


UX Researcher




Natalie R.

Heidi J.

Jerome A.


October 2020-Present


Public Art Piece and Presentation

UX Research Art: Equality vs. Equity (Passion Project)


WHAT IS Equality vs. Equity?

This project is based on the famous cartoon of equity with the three individuals standing on top of boxes of different heights. The initial idea was to construct a physical, 3D sculpture of that cartoon near Target Field (baseball stadium) in Minneapolis, MN (Minneapolis is the location of Mr. George Floyd's murder). Upon partnering and collaborating with Artist Heidi Jeub and social justice organization, Unite Cloud, the project invited deeper conversations and insights about the concept and understanding of equity, as expressed below. A major goal of the research and final art presentation(s) was to validate that equity is better for a society versus equality and provide evidence for that reasoning.



Recently, the concept of equity has become a hot topic. The ultimate goal remains social justice for all. Previously, equality attempted to provide equal opportunity for all. However, it did not take into consideration differences within the paradigm. 

How do we achieve social justice? Is equality enough? Does equity solve the problems equality may fail to solve?


Explore whether equity as a concept can overcome the problems found in the concept of equality and furthermore. The final outcome will be a public art project that will visually represent our findings from the research conducted.

UX Research Art: Equality vs. Equity (Passion Project)

Craig Froehle


"Back in 2012, shortly after the US elections, I [Craig Froehle] had crafted up a graphic to illustrate my point in an argument I was having with a conservative activist. I was trying to clarify why, to me (and, I generalized, to liberals), “equal opportunity” alone wasn’t a satisfactory goal and that we should somehow take into consideration equality of outcomes. I thought the easiest example of this concept is kids of different heights trying to see over a fence. So, I grabbed a public photo of Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park*, a stock photo of a crate, clip art of a fence, and then spent a half-hour or so in Powerpoint concocting an image that I then posted on Google+." 




During the Primary Research Phase, we conducted five online presentations to foster conversations and ideas on the topic of equity versus equality using descriptive review, interviewing, group discussions, and debriefs.


The online presentations and conversations were structured and outlined thusly: 

1) Part One of the online presentation included the breakdown of the original Equity vs. Equality cartoon using descriptive review

2) Part Two of the online presentation included an interview-style guided conversation with a social justice Community Champion who explained whether equity or equality were beneficial and why?

3) Part Three of the online presentation included breakout rooms to discuss four other Equality/Equity cartoons (see below) and the messages they illustrate using predetermined questions: 1. What do you see? (i.e. 3 people)  2. What questions does it raise? 3. What does it mean?

4) Part Four of the online presentation included a debrief and share back of the participants' comments from the breakout room sessions and an open discussion about what they learned from attending the presentation

The Research Phase helped us to understand the concepts of equity and equality from multiple perspectives using the original famous cartoon and four other versions that have circulated within the cultural landscape of our current times. 

UX Research Art: Equality vs. Equity (Passion Project)




1) In the second picture, people are more engaged/happier.

2) Relationships are key in including a person. It’s hard to engage people without relationships.

3) You cannot give a soccer team the same shoe size shoes.

4) Can community on right afford to support community on left?

5) Why was the fence there to begin with? Is it safe for the fence to not be there? How do you fund the sports event?


1) Why aren’t the three individuals included in the stadium? Are they related?

2) There is emotional change with equity.

3) Even people who you disagree with need to be included because that is an act of equity.

4) Aren’t all solutions a way to fulfill a need? Isn’t innovation a way to equity? A way to fulfill needs? Isn’t the fulfillment of needs the way to equity? The need is greater for those who are disadvantaged hence innovation should be skewed toward them.

5) If we allowed each opposing group to exist knowing we disagree but still here in space together we might understand each other? 

6) We are not socialized to be in both and spaces we are socialized to be in either or.


1) Globalization and its effects on perpetuating inequity practices across the globe. 

2) Equality: when the system provides opportunity for all. Everybody is the same. 

3) Golden rule: Like I would like to be treated. Others are like me. Ultimate goal is fairness. Equity’s ultimate goal is justice. Equal outcomes. Platinum rule: Treat everybody as they would like to be treated

4) Social justice cannot be achieved without equity.

5) Pandemic has shifted conversation around equity because of the resources needed to implement education that not everyone has. Everyone has been affected by pandemic. Sympathy and empathy toward students.


1) We are looking at an art piece. We all see it differently. Subjective. 

2) Relationships between people and how that impacts equity. Will people behave differently with each other if they share a relationship? 

3) Does someone have to give something up for someone else to have that in order to achieve equity?


1) Body language changes/environment changes with equity.

2) How did the boxes get redistributed? Who owns the boxes? Only when the boxes are redistributed, can all three individuals see the game.

3) Why are the three individuals not included in baseball arena? Race? Class? Ableism?

4) There are some things i.e. basic needs that everyone should have regardless of equality or equity.

5) Understanding person as a whole before providing treatment


1) Equity results in success and happiness for both groups and individuals

2) Giving resources to one doesn't mean taking away from another

3) Some resources should be universal regardless of equity or equality

4) Some elements are constant regardless of the amount of equity or equality



1) Play a game.

Give cards with numbers on them depending on the number of people at the table. Without saying anything, people will rank from 1-10 (if there are 10 people at the table) who is most privileged (1) and who is least privileged (10) and give each other corresponding cards. Then have a discussion on why those cards were ranked as such and what that means. After discussion, people will re-rank themselves. Since we can’t have people standing on boxes like in the cartoons, cards will work. 

2) Use small boxes for people to build art pieces.

Like legos but with boxes. Have disadvantages/"underprivileges" structures be in the center of the table and have people add to the structures so they become whole just like the cartoons. From one to another. From underprivileged to privileged. From equality to equity. From non-equity to equity.

UX Research Art: Equality vs. Equity (Passion Project)



The activity we developed was held at a local event where community members are known to gather. With the help of cross-functional partners, we created a community table that acted as a public safe space to discuss privileges, underprivileges, equities, and other social justice topics. Using the community table as a base, we encouraged community members to participate in an activity game. We converted blocks containing stamps of various privileges and underprivileges into a dice-like object and asked community members to roll the blocks and then have a conversation about what privilege or underprivilege appeared, how that relates to them, their community, society at large, and what role equity has?