Design For Social Wellbeing
The Project Outline:
The project looks into the relationship between young adults and social media in the future and how can design make things better. By setting the scene in the future, we have a better understanding of our lives today and the challenges we might face in the future, which provoke thinking and actions. I worked closely with a diverse user group and experts from the related domain and identified that social media addiction might become a critical problem in the future. An alternative social experience that provides a positive connection and manageable social circle for its users to find the balance of their social life is needed. The outcome is Playground, a social platform based on a local community, provide a more tangible and positive social connection playfully for the users.
The ‘STEEPlE’ card stands for ‘Social, Technical, Ecology, Economical, Political, Legal and Ethical’. It allows me to frame the insights I learn from the multi-dimensional perspective and establish a way to track societal shifts.
I used the ‘STEEPLE’ card to clarify my mind and start to have some rough ideas about the future based on the desk research. I mapped the ‘STEEPLE’ card differently until it shows some potential appetite and mindset for the future world.
I noticed my research is lacking a human aspect. Therefore, to make my future scenario more human, I started gaining insight by engaging with potential users. I interviewed people from diverse backgrounds. I got many valuable insights into how people interact and thoughts about social media, which brings my project to life.
Apart from the human factor, I also tried to approach the problem from a scientific perspective. Trying to understand how our brains process information and make us addicted to certain things.
A Future Vision
I gather and analysed the insight from my research, and created a future scenario when social media addiction becomes a critical problem. To make the future world more tangible for designing, I created fictional news and organisation, which belongs to that future world. These visual references can help people to understand the future scenario I create and have a reflection on the life we are having.
“I feel very disconnect and lonely when I tried not to use social media.”---Wade (the reference of my extreme user persona)
The Design Opportunity
The design opportunity comes from a consequence of my future world. Many people fail to use less social media because of the side effect of feeling lonely and disconnected.
The future vision lead me to a design opportunity: How can design create an alternative social media experience that provides a positive connection between the users?
The Concept Development
After knowing the design direction, I started to explore different concepts through drawing, prototyping and user testing.