Post 8: Possibilities for Design led solutions

Developing concepts seems to be the greatest challenge beyond developing sound conclusions from different sets of data. In saying that, in order to develop some ideas to directly respond to the issue at hand, I had to develop a set of questions to lead me to that point. I focused on what I knew so far, analysed what I had drawn from the collaborative class sessions.

In that I could take away two questions that I wanted to respond too

  • How can we expose metaphorical language as a ploy to influence opinions?
  • How can we change exposure to this topic in a way that allows people to develop an opinion BEYOND the influence of the media?

Following this, I wanted to develop unique design responses (which in all honesty I struggled with). Saying that, it did allow me to develop 5 key points that I could concentrate on to develop the first proposal.

  1. Expose how the media uses metaphor led languages in order to create false narratives surrounding the issue whether they be led positively or negatively.
  2. How shifting migration patterns change attitude over time: as we saw with post-war immigration, institutionalised racism seems to be typical within Australia’s borders which seems to stem from a force nationalism. By tracing migration patterns we could uncover the ways in which migration BENEFITS the nation as a whole (eg stimulates economy and job growth)
  3. Focus on how political influences trickle down into media streams then down into the public – this could be done by collecting data on certain media outlets that  are popular within age brackets or amongst the general public and to track their attitudes towards certain MAJOR events.
  4.   Create a sense of empathy amongst the public beyond the influence of the media by developing a first hand narrative account of a maritime asylum seeker to emphasise the desperate situations that many find themselves in.
  5. Focus on how we could shift polarised views (eg extreme right) to a happy medium. People have incredibly strong views on this subject that are seemingly influenced by their political orientation. Most people seem to take sides on right-leaning or leftist ideals and those who are happy mediums simply find that they are fed information by the media, once again eliminating opportunity to experience the issue first hand.

The first idea I came up with was a generative piece of design which had a series of words which were commonly used by Australian media surrounding the refugee crisis at times where the issue seemed to saturate the media (eg the Nauru files). In saying that, I wanted to track people emotion reaction to that and have them react on a scale of 1-5 (positive to negative) and have the results presented in a data visualisation. However, looking into this idea further, it was merely an extension of research blogs, and would best be suited in for task 3A to gain a general idea of attitudes towards refugees when directly related to the Australian media (see below).

An example of how this design “response” would better serve as data visualisation

As I mentioned, beyond this I struggled to develop a unique, provocative response. I begun to specifically concentrate on the idea of “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” OR design led solutions that responded to direct perspectives of asylum seekers in order to develop a level of EMPATHY rather than sympathy which may be shown in the media. As such, I started with the idea of doing a book that directly told these stories – however this was merely  a surface level response that did not deeply reflect the real issue at hand, nor did it demonstrate how varied responses to a work (generative) may be able to inform an audience on the issue.

This brought me to my second proposal; that is an app that makes light of the “choose your own story” programs that seem to be abundant in the social landscape. It would follow the story of a refugee, but no matter what option the user chose it would still move along the same narrative no matter what – taking away choice from the user, to put them in shoes of a refugee who may not necessarily have a choice. In saying that, although it’s emotive it still does not develop great insight into the issue, and therefore there needs to be some sort of generative or data visualisation to aid the users in extracting meaning.

In this way, I want to guide users to empathise and develop meaning beyond the influence of metaphorical language that is so often used in the media and by decision makers.