Blog Post 8 / Brainstorming possibilities for a design solution

I was brainstorming in a group of two for the design response, which had its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages being that, each person had more time to go into more detail about their concept and flesh out their ideas in more detail, but the disadvantages were that we were not able to brainstorm as many ideas as other groups of four or five would have been able to. In essence, the brainstorming session was more quality over quantity. It was an insightful session as with just two people in the group, we were able to see where our concepts and problem statements coincide. For example, as both of us were part of the online privacy and data group, by analyzing the problem, we were able to find overlaps in both problems, such as the technological aspect and the surveillance and digital interface aspects.

The process of dissecting the what, when, where, how and why of the problem was very useful in forming the problem statement. The actual worth of this process became clear once all the information in relation to the problem was written out in the five easily digestible categories.

As my area of study Is online privacy and data security, I chose to focus on the individuals that are most commonly associated with security – hackers. Through my previous research, I learnt of the existence of white hat (ethical) and black hat (malicious) hackers. I also learnt that the current laws do not accommodate and distinguish between ethical hackers and their malicious counterparts. Thus, the problem statement that I formed was:

There are various types of hackers and current laws do not discriminate between them. Transparency needs to be shed on the processes and differences between white hat (ethical) and black hat (malicious) hackers. More businesses and corporations could make use of ethical hackers, however, turn away due to the negative stigma attached by the general public and media.

At its core, the issue is about the lack of transparency and lack of laws surrounding hackers. The two main categories that ideas fell under was service design and data visualization. The process was quite interesting as it included standard mapping of ideas as well as stakeholder maps, which was an exercise performed in a previous class. The design possibilities that were brainstormed and identified included:

  • Visualisation of data in the form of an infographic
  • A black and white, monochromatic colour scheme for any data visualization ideas (portrays the contrast between ethical and malicious hackers, playing on the idea of black hat and white hat hackers)
  • A service that sheds transparency on the different processes and methods of white hat and black hat hackers, whilst at the same time provides or prompts some form of interactivity
  • A data visualization of the many stakeholders that have a relation to hackers, including businesses, corporations, individuals and governments. The concept was mapped in the form of a stakeholder map and ideas that formed included data and political warfare
  • A service/visualization which “hacks” into real life public objects such as bus stop kiosks to shed transparency on ethical hackers and malicious hackers. For example, corrupt images and content with ill intent would be shown on the kiosk to portray malicious hackers and images/content promoting a positive message or promoting solutions would portray the ethical hackers

The design proposal I have in mind is more a combination of two of the above points. The main focus and content will be on drawing the relations between hackers and other entities such as governments and businesses and with that data, a data visualization service would be provided that would prompt some form of interactivity or briefing of information, such as the kiosk example stated in the fifth point. By further breaking down the stakeholders map, it is easier to determine which technologies and locations should be targeted. As the main issue is transparency, there needs to be an efficient method to display this information to the general public. At first, kiosks appear to be effective, however, the effort necessary to make it effective would not be efficient in terms of informing a large number of people. For this particular concept, media coverage is most likely the largest factor contributing to success. The content, also needs to be engaging, however, coverage by news and social media will spread transparency at a more rapid pace.

The location is also of great importance, as hotspots and areas with great population density will allow the content to be digested by a large audience. Examples of such areas include tourist attractions and areas with large signage such as New York’s Times Square, with its abundance of large billboards and screens. The largest disadvantage of these areas is the inability or difficulty to prompt some form of interaction due to the amount of people and also the placement of screens/billboards and other outlets. A space however, that encourages interaction, at the cost of less participants, is a museum or gallery space. At the sacrifice of ease of view and access, a gallery space can provide more information and more content that can be interacted with. As such, I will continue forward with this concept in the space of a gallery or museum space.

The content for the museum/gallery can be in the form of installations throughout the space. I’ve identified two possibilities, one of which could be a linear progression that portrays the narrative and history behind hackers and the other possibility being installations throughout the space that each has its own purpose and story. The design I propose is a combination of the two – by having small spaces within the exhibit space that have some relation to one another.

Examples of the smaller spaces include installations that display the largest hackings and data breaches to occur, such as eBay, Target and Sony’s hackings that accounted to over 100 million records being hacked from each company (Allen 2016). The aim of every space should be to be immersive, either with interactivity or by being physically immersive such as in teamLab’s Immersive Inauguration of Pace Art and Technology (Powers 2016). Some data visualization spaces can be purely informational without interaction, whilst others, could have, for example, a way for users to move time back and forth to see which stakeholders are affected and the hackers’ process at a given point in time. This form of visualization would show the user when and how fast particular stakeholders such as government authorities become involved, or if they notice at all. The space should be divided into white, black and grey zones, each symbolizing white hat, black hat hackers and the grey zone, which could be where it is difficult to judge if they are politically correct or incorrect. The importance in establishing these three different spaces, is to provide clarity in the process of shedding transparency on the issue, as the three distinct colours will allow the audience to differentiate between ethical and malicious hackers. The aforementioned examples of the eBay, Target and Sony hackings would be in the black zone when stakeholders include black hat hackers and are influenced by malicious hackers, however, there could also be a similar space in the white zone that tells the same narrative from the white hat hackers perspective and their respective stakeholders.

teamLab’s Immersive Inauguration of Pace Art and Technology / An example of an immersive space, the tone and physical immersion is similar to some of my design proposals 


A screen capture of the Norse Attack Map, this is a relatively “calm” map

Another possible installation is an immersive space or room that displays Norse’s Attack Map in real time. Norse is the largest threat detection network and intelligence agency in the world, they specialize in detecting “attacks, uncovering breaches and tracking threats” (Norse 2016). Several walls in the room could be dedicated to portraying the map itself and one wall for displaying the “attack origins, attack types, attack targets and live attacks” (Norse Attack Map 2016) data. A tablet or kiosk could be used to hone in on one location which would alter the portrayal of the map on the walls (zoom in or out and movement of the map). This would provide transparency on not only hackers, but also transparency on how prevalent, ongoing and widespread the issue is. There should also be an option to replay past cyber warfare on the map. One wall could also be dedicated to typographically displaying facts about cyber warfare, the various hackers, important events and more. To make the experience more immersive, surround sound audio should definitely be considered, either in the form of ambience, sound effects and/or voice over narration.

cyber warfare.png
A more active map that portrays a cyber war in progress

Overall, the proposal encompasses a mixture of visualization and service design to accomplish bringing transparency to the issues surrounding hackers by portraying the data and information in an immersive and engaging way that prompts the user to interact with the installments throughout the gallery space. By creating engaging content, the success of the overall space will also lead to opportunities to media exposure which will further shed transparency on the issue. Ultimately, the space aims to exhibit original content as well as existing content, such as the Norse Attack Map in an environment that prompts interaction and conveys the information in an easily digestible manner.


Allen, M. 2016, Datafloq – Hacking, Data Breaches & Cyber Warfare, Datafloq, viewed 12 September 2016, <>

Norse 2016, Norse Attack Map, Norse, viewed 11 September 2016, <>

Powers, E. 2015, TeamLab’s Immersive Inauguration of Pace Art + Technology, Stanford Arts Review, viewed 12 September 2016, <>

Real-time cyber-attack map shows scope of global cyber war c.2015, Newsweek, viewed 11 September 2016, <>