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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Finding LGBT-friendly businesses

App designer turns to crowd sourcing to fund her project that rates LGBT-friendly businesses

by Sam Inglot
Illustration by Dana Casadei/City Pulse

Thursday, Feb. 27 — A masters thesis turned Kickstarter project aims to rate LGBT-friendly businesses through a mobile device and computer application. 


Emily Brozovic began work on an application she’s calling “People Like Me” about a year and a half ago as part of her digital media and art technology master’s thesis at Michigan State University. The app is designed to allow users to rate businesses on their LGBT-friendliness. After graduation in the summer, she decided to continue the project and make it a full-blown product.


Brozovic said, as a community, LGBT folks are always talking about where not to take their business — but there’s very few resources or discussions about which businesses don’t discriminate.


“The whole intent is to focus on good places that are out there for people in the LGBT community,” she said. “I do believe it will serve a niche in the community that isn’t being filled.”


Brozovic has made prototypes and is ready to produce the actual application — which will require funding to pay her developer. Her hope is to reach the goal of $10,000 and have the app finished by June. She said her plan is to get the app out in time to showcase it at gay pride events this summer.


With a little over two weeks left for fundraising, the project has raised over $1,200.


Brozovic has been testing the app within the Lansing community and will have the app expand to cover any city people visit. She said the app would come “prepopulated” with businesses that are registered with Google. As new businesses register with the search engine, they’ll be added to the list.


She wasn’t ready to share how the rating system will work because she’s waiting on more user feedback before finalizing how to run it.


For the first iteration of the project, she’s making it a “web friendly” app that can be accessed from any mobile device with Internet capabilities. The app will also be available from desktop and laptop computers. She said she plans on later developing downloadable apps for Android and iPhone devices.


To donate to the Kickstarter and see a video of Brozovic talking about her project, follow this link.

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