Organ Outlet

Organ Outlet is a satirical site that raises awareness on organ trafficking.

The goal is to present a heavy and socially relevant subject in a way that's engaging, humorous and most importantly, respectful.

The information conveyed on the site is based on aggregating data from books and online articles on the prices, players, reasons and consequences of the kidney black market.

  • Context: Class Project
  • Role: Research & Design
  • Members: Solo Project

Video introducing the concept


Why Organ Outlet?

The organ trade is an important topic for me as someone who is raised in the Philippines, a known kidney hub and a top exporter of human labor.

While there is overwhelming demand for organs for medical and scientific reasons, there isn't enough supply to address the current need. The poor and desperate then sell their organs for profit, for as low as $750.

Ultimately, I wanted to create a platform for raising awareness and encouraging organ donation. 



My main challenge is finding data on kidney prices. Because organ trade is illegal in almost all countries, there is no definitive source on the topic besides anecdotes from articles and research journals. 

Because of the scarcity of information, I wore my investigative researcher hat and created a database of prices and anecdotes collected from various journals and news articles.



Based on a rapid user testing session, users were confused by what the circles meant. My intent was to present prices per region, but instead they thought they were population sizes. The prototype also lacked context on its goals and interactive elements.


For the second user testing session, I created an interactive paper prototype that I myself manipulated.

I changed the circles into icons of people. I created a name for the site, and banners that presented the purpose of the site.

The feedback was a lot more favorable, with users liking the sense of humor. However, they were still confused by what "donor" or "receiver" meant. It also lacked a satisfying conclusion, such as a way to finalize the purchase.


For my final low-fidelity prototype, I aimed to provide more context through clearer introductions. Instead of switching between donors or receivers, I put the user into the shoes of a kidney buyer. This also adds a clearer motivation for interaction. 


Final Iteration

 The final site was implemented with HTML5JavaScriptLeaflet.jsJQuery and the Flickr API. 


I used trendy advertising language and shopping website elements to have an e-commerce feel. Filtering prices would present related luxury goods within the same price range.  

Clicking on each person on the map would show their story.

To create a sense of finality, I added an "add to cart" interaction, which leads to a check out page that shows the outcome for the kidney buyer & seller and a list of resources.



What I learned

This is so strong it deserves wider exposure.
— Dr. Janet Murray, Professor

My work was received positively by my peers and professor, who described the project as "ambitious and compassionate" with the right balance between seriousness and satire. As far as I know, it is also the only site that compares informal data on kidney prices.

I realized that the multiple rounds user testing were invaluable in creating a tighter concept that conveyed my intended meanings.

What made my work highly effective was putting the user in another person's shoes as a kidney buyer. That way, they were motivated to explore the visualization, and a foreign, sensitive issue became a lot more relatable.