10: Put a ring on it.

Post 10: Reflection and proposition
Angela Tam


Going into this class, I had a brief idea of what I wanted to do—after having some time to reflect and ponder, out of the last three concept maps from my previous post, I felt most inclined and interested in the one regarding the Australian Dream. What I presented to my colleague was only a vague idea of where I wanted to take the project and what I envisioned, and so it was really helpful to have her comment and give feedback. I was able to not be ‘too precious’ with my idea and was open to the constructive development. Coming from a different issue all together, my colleague was able to give me a fresh perspective on my project having never seen it before, which made explaining the concept clearly to her very important.

I showed her the mind map I had previously, explaining how I noticed during my data scraping that the Australian Dream of owning your own home is not really represented on social media, in particular, on Instagram – the most visual and image-based social media platform. I wanted to somehow archive the images found under #AustralianDream (or similar) and perhaps redefine the Australian Dream for young adults through a data visualisation/service design piece.

The first thing my colleague noticed was that I didn’t really have a problem statement. I noticed this too—as it was quite broad, it was difficult to explain and picture within an emergent practice in a succinct manner. We also agreed that service design would probably not be the best emergent practice to explore for this concept and that there were more opportunities for better design in the other options.We discussed possible problem statements, and concluded with something like:

There is a disconnect between the expectation of the Australian Dream and what is perceived today in young Australians.

By seeking data found from Instagram under that hashtag #AustralianDream, I aim to document what the demographic on this social media platform are posting. (Recap: what I found in data scraping was that in #TheAustralianDream there was an incredibly minimal number of posts related to housing within a pool of 200 or so images.) We discussed how this data collection and visualisation could become my process for Task 3A, and then for 3B could create some sort of campaign incorporating these visualisations about the contemporary Australian Dream.

Aside from her helping me refine my problem statement and proposal, I’ve learnt and been reminded that this process may be time-consuming, however it is important to run with ideas and extract as much as we can from them in order to progress. I’ve also been reminded of how interesting ideas can come out of talking to people who might not usually see your process as they could have fresh perspectives and offer feedback from a non-biased way while also encouraging you to be able to explain concepts clearly. Communication is vital in this part of the process in order to move forward, and later I aim to communicate this concept clearly through a set of visuals.


Proposal 💍

Project Title: Dream On, Mate.

Practice Type: Data visualisation + Generative

The Issue: Young Australians are finding it more difficult to buy a home in the city they live in and the topic of housing affordability is not really spoken about or represented on social media. While data-scraping, I found that under #theaustraliandream there were not many posts about ‘the’ Australian Dream of owning your own home, rather of other things that make up a particular lifestyle. If owning your own home isn’t the ‘Aussie Dream’ for young Australians anymore, then what is?

Problem Statement: There is a disconnect between the expectation of the Australian Dream and what is perceived today in young Australians.

The Possible Change: (This still needs refining) The proposed design intervention will bring the issue of the evolving Australian Dream to the forefronts of the minds of young Australians. By doing so, it could relieve any pressure on this group of people to own their own home by redefining the Australian Dream, subject to each individual. Once achieved and people are aware of the housing issue in Australia and the relevance and personal impact it could have on them, then further action towards bigger change could be conducted when this conversation starts.

The Design Action to Support Change: This design intervention intends to provide a simple, relevant data visualisation of images found under the hashtag #australiandream on Instagram. These then could form the basis of a campaign that aims to redefine the Australian Dream for 18-25 year olds.This would be a community based approached that encourages social media users (predominantly in the targeted age group) to think about and realise why they do not reflect this ‘classic’ dream in what they post. The campaign would have a main website/app that the audience is directed to, where there would be the data visualisations, and informative yet approachable details about the housing issue in Australia/how the Australian Dream has evolved over time that can then inform and spark conversation. This website becomes a resourceful platform that highlights relevant articles, videos or other links and allows the audience to comment/share on the issue, reducing the sense of isolation, stress and/or anxiety that one may face when looking at the unaffordable housing market today.


*added 27/09/16 after feedback in tutorial

The concept remains the same, however I will be aiming to create a generative data visualisation that is poetic in nature. Instead of creating a website that has links to articles etc., the proposition is leaning more towards a website that asks users to select an option/s of key topics or categories that would define the Australian Dream for them. These category options would be collected from analysing the type of images that are found under #australiandream. After typing or choosing the words that mean most to them, users will be directed to a visualisation of responses that changes over time as people interact with the platform. This suggests and documents the evolving and personal definition of the Australian Dream today.