Over the past 8 weeks in working and brainstorming with my peers I found that there is an emotional conflict on the issue of refugees receiving benefits by the government and it starts to become evident that the negative emotions outweigh the positive ones.
Benefeel is a hybrid between a data visualisation and service design installation that targets the negative outlook and emotions people have over the government helping refugees through benefits. The aim of the installation is to make people aware of the majority opinion on the issue and how the negative emotions and feelings are dominant over the positive ones. Citizens aged 18-25 are encouraged to be honest and rate their emotions on the topic through a series of four coloured stickers that represent four different emotions. Once the user has picked an emotion they are then encouraged to draw a face on it which represents what they are feeling and place it on a blank wall in a line. Overtime the installation grows and becomes a visual representation of what society paints their emotion and feelings as on the topic of refugees receiving benefits. The transitional design becomes a data visualisation through emerging patterns of emotions with the use of colour and shape that becomes evident in the installation. The aim is to create empathy through user participation and bring awareness to the negativity that the issue causes which then leads to other issues. When people start to see how their emotions effect the issue they start to think about the consequences and how it adds to the problem. Nothing can be fixed through negativity, only positivity becomes an action for change. It allows for people to be open for discussion and give them the opportunity to react and display their views on the issue, therefore creating awareness.
My peers helped me realised a couple different key points I should consider about my proposal and how it aims at being a design action to support change. The first key point was to map out sentiment over a period of time to see how effective it is in practice. Another key point was to look at in depth how the design will invite the user to engage. Looking at the who, what, when, why and how of the design and whether it ticks all the boxes is also something we explored while breaking down my proposal. It is important to consider all these key points because it ensures a successful design that works. Through looking at these key points and seeing how it resonates with my design it can help shape it into an action that will possibly support change.
By Tamar Nazarian