Post 10: THE Final Idea

Post 10: Reflection and Proposition
Christine Ye

Throughout my blog research, I’ve noticed that while the statistical facts regarding housing affordability have shown a rise in housing prices and cost of living that is jumping ahead of the rise in wages, there has still been vocalisation on the attitudes of Generation Y getting in the way of achieving their home ownership goals. Assumptions, stereotypes and discussions of the psychological and emotional aspects of housing affordability describe Generation Y as not willing to work hard to achieve long term goals, preferring to spend on short term luxuries and material goods. They tend to have high expectations of their first homes, which are significantly out of reach when looking at their relatively low level of income and savings.

Due to the difficulties of entering the housing market where they are placed at a default disadvantage compared to older generations and property investors, Generation Y feel a sense of helplessness towards the situation and hence have put the housing dream on a low priority, at the same time minimising confrontation towards an issue they feel like they have no control or say over. Intergenerational differences and misunderstandings resulting in judgement and ‘if you worked as hard as I did’ comments from older generations also don’t help boost confidence in young Australians, even though there has been a definite change in lifestyle and focus.

With this contextual focus in mind, I presented to my peers a few options that I felt could be possible design interventions:

  • A questionnaire that generates data on what Generation Y think of the housing situation, and how the situation makes them feel – an attempt to understand the emotional struggles of the younger generation in order to spread awareness of housing as not just a physical struggle, and possibly promote empathy in others.
  • A product budget calculator that generates how many of a specific luxury item in the Generation Y lifestyle would equate to the average home loan e.g. ‘if you drink coffee once a week instead of every single day you’d save x amount and over x years you’d be able to afford a home loan’ – this can serve to remind the younger generation that a home loan isn’t an impossible saving task, to better their saving habits and splurge less, and also to raise an awareness that while Generation Y lifestyle is different to previous generations, it shouldn’t be discriminated against.
  • A continuous data visualisation based on a questionnaire that asks how important home ownership is to Generation Y, and what things they would be willing to give up or not give up to save for a home – this aims to provide the younger generation with reassurance that their material-based lifestyle is okay and that there are plenty of others in that same boat, and also to redefine what a home means to the younger generation in terms of their lifestyle and promote acceptance of that different lifestyle.

On talking to peers, most people felt that the second and third concept were more developed, however they also mentioned that the third concept seemed resonate a lot more with what I focused on throughout majority of my blog posts which was empathy and understanding. The third concept also seemed to encompass elements of the first and second, and further discussion introduced a possible service design intervention through social media posting to generate more conversation and drive change in attitudes. Pitching the proposal draft to my peers gave me a bit more confidence and reassurance that I was on the right track, which is something I needed at this point.

Design Proposal

Project Title
‘What I’d Give Up’

Practice Type
The proposed design is a generative system with a small service design element.

The Issue
It is no secret that saving up and investing for a house is a small or easy task, however in 21st century Australia the housing market has been set up by previous generations of Baby Boomers and Generation X, along with foreign buyers, property investors and tax gearing policies to reveal a very disadvantaged starting point for young Australians to enter the housing market. It should also come as no surprise that as times have changed, so has the culture and lifestyle of Generation Y Australians which shows more short-term spending on material goods and lifestyle luxuries such as holidays. Studies have also shown that the younger generation of Australians consider notions of a house past the physical aspect; it was also a medium to enhance their identity and personality and hence expectations of what a house could fulfil were also higher. This lifestyle and higher expectations of a house, combined with the unfair nature of the housing market has resulted in a lack of motivation to even try and an unwillingness to seriously confront the situation, with social media postage only including posts of a first-world-problem nature.

However in the eyes of Baby Boomers and Generation X who have gotten over the initial home ownership hurdle and are current home owners, Generation Y has been stereotyped as lazy, whiny, expecting too much and judged as not willing, wanting or capable to work hard and save up for a long term goal. While this stereotype may have developed from a superficial understanding of the younger generation, studies have shown that the housing affordability situation can end up taking a toll on mental health; young Australians aren’t exempt from this possibility with added intergenerational judgement and misunderstanding not helping the situation physically or psychologically.

The Possible Change
The housing affordability situation has shown itself to involve so many stakeholders, from small stakeholders such as individual home owners or renters to larger stakeholders such as the government body. It would take a collaborative action between all major stakeholders to direct possible large scale change in terms of the housing market and affordability issue. However Australian individuals can provide mental and emotional empathy and understanding in order to support each other, instead of bestowing judgemental which ends up putting more pressure on the younger generation and causes a likelihood for them to completely close off and ignore the issue. The lifestyle of young Australians shouldn’t be something held against them because of intergenerational differences, it should be accepted as a different lifestyle instead of seen as an excuse. If young Australians were to open up about their individual struggles and their perspective on housing expressed through a valued part of their lifestyle, they would possibly be more inclined and encouraged to face the housing issue head on.

The Design Action to Support Change
This design proposal provides the younger generation of 18 – 24 year olds a platform to express what material goods or luxuries they value in their life and what they would give up or not in order to afford a house; this generative system will seek to redefine what a house means in the language of younger Australians for other younger Australians and the older generations. It will provide reassurance through the possible variety of individual responses, promote acceptance or empathy of this changing lifestyle and also generate a more honest level of social media conversation.

Data will be collected through a simple and quick online survey, and then added to generate a compilation of individual responses which can be seen by all people visiting the website. There will also be a social media option to post up what the individual has answered and to generate more talk and activity about housing from the eyes of the young Australians.


What are we talking about? The Language of Homelessness

Post 10 By Alice Stollery

Reflection & Revision

My colleagues raised a number of issues with my initial draft proposal. Being my first attempt, it was quite rough and I had not given enough consideration to the requirements of the brief.

My colleague could not see the link between my proposal and the required 18-25 year age bracket. And she was right, I had got so carried away with my research that I had lost sight of this requirement. She questioned whether this issue of language had come out of this age bracket or whether I was attempting to target 18-25 year olds with my design proposal. Reviewing this point, I will use tweets that have come out of this age bracket while contrasting their misuse of language with facts and statistics that focus on homeless youth within Australia. I also aim to target the 18-24 year old age bracket through my design proposal, by basing the exhibition at the UTS campus or other university campuses. I would like to target this age group, as I believe it is important for them to be empathetic towards this issue as they are the next generation of leaders, teachers, politicians and by starting with them, I will be able to instigate change in the future. Their views on this issue are incredibly important.

Concerns were also raised with the location or geographical nature of my data. Am I able to tell where tweets are being tweeted from and whether this issue of language is an issue that occurs within Australia. Reviewing my data, I have found that terms such as tramp or hobo are geared more towards an American context while misusing the term homeless occurs within Australia. Therefore I have narrowed my focus to the misuse of this term. I have also experienced the misuse of language in my daily life long before this assignment, throughout school, work and university. It is not unusual to hear someone describe themselves or their friends as looking homeless. However, it was not until I saw all of these comments collated on a spreadsheet of tweets that I was able to recognise language as a key barrier in solving the issue.

Another piece of useful feedback included the form of my response. I was told not to limit it to a book so I have given further thought to how this data could be represented. I have decided to create a public installation or exhibition that could possibly include posters, flyers or brochures as well. I will elaborate further on this in my proposal below.

The Issue (From research)

The misuse of language is a significant barrier in tackling homelessness. Insensitive, and politically incorrect terms such as hobo, tramp and bum, and the casual misuse of the term homeless to describe ones appearance, have seeped into the common vernacular. Dehumanising those affected by homelessness through this passive misuse of language takes away from the real issue, meaning wider perceptions of homelessness are less empathetic and communities have become detached from sufferers.

Through research into homelessness in the mainstream media, journal articles, social media platforms, image libraries and brainstorming sessions, the misuse of language and terminology around the issue has emerged as a negative actor that is creating a barrier between those in need and those with the power to help. We talk about homelessness in reference to appearance, rather than experience. In short, we no longer seem to be talking about the actual issue.

Possible Change

A design response that tackles this wider problem of perception and language will create influence rather than direct action. This will be an attempt to create internal change in those that misuse these terms, in order to create empathy, and ultimately to generate positive outcomes, enabling more people to engage with the issue rather than offering an immediate solution.

Design Action to Support Change: Data Driven Design

An exhibition titled “What are we talking about?!”  that aims to juxtapose the the misuse of the term ‘homeless’ in everyday conversation with the real issue and experience of homeless youth. Ultimately highlighting the disconnect we are currently experiencing between the two. The exhibition will be a visualisation of data collated from twitter and online statistics on youth homelessness collated during the research process. It will be a contradiction of meanings within the same issue and will highlight how language is acting as a barrier in our ability to help the homeless.

Sketch of the exhibition space depicting alternative perspectives of the issue.


I will design the exhibition, mapping how the audience will move through the space as well as designing the look and feel for the exhibition, including collateral such as postcards and posters. The exhibition will be a series of hanging posters that enable you to see both sides of the issue. Looking in one direction you will be bombarded with the misuse of language as you see tweets that misuse the term homeless, for example “OMG I look so homeless today” or “That moment you look at a new pic of your ex and wonder how you could have dated him. #whatwasithinking #lookinghomeless” while the other side will contradict this with overwhelming statistics about youth homelessness such as “How can we still call Australia home when 32,000 young people don’t have one?” or personal experiences of sufferers such as “My friends don’t know I’m homeless”. The idea is that while you are looking in one direction at the language we use, you are unable to see the real issue  on the other side of the posters and as a result you are unable to empathise with sufferers. If you choose to talk about homelessness in this way, you are unable to be empathetic and to understand what sufferers are really going through. Visualising and organising data in this way will enable people to see both sides of the issue, one at a time and will hopefully generate internal change within the audience without publicly shaming those who have used this language in the past.


Post 10: Reflection & Revised Proposition

By Yu Zhang


During week 7, I had a opportunity to receive feeback from colleague and tutor for my draft proposal, and it’s really useful that I got lots of idea to understand how to refine my proposal that base on the data, and what kind of data are appropriate to my data visualization.



The direction of my draft proposal is about the inequality between women and men, includes treatment, physical power, and protection. On the other hand, I was confused about what’s the specific issue for the proposal because it includes a lot of data that’s relevant but still too broad to develop a data visualization. Fortunately, my colleague and tutor suggested me to focus on how does men treat to women while make women feel less equal, so I had a specific audience for the proposal. This suggestion helps me to finalize the audience and direction of my proposal and guides me to narrow down the sources of the data, which is really useful. Also, for the visual style of my proposal, my colleague suggested developing a data of question that relates to inequalities of women and creates a map that base on specific locations in Australia. For example, the data could be ‘The percentage of women that feeling abused at home’, and the location could be Pyrmont, Burwood, Seaforth etc. I think this idea guides me to realize visually about how’s the data visualization look like and helps me how to insert useful information to provide a useful data while engage and synthesize with the audience, which is men. Overall, this session really helps me to understand further about what’s the next step to arrange the data, develop it visually, and what kind of data should I research further for my revised proposition.

Revised Proposition

Project title: Women = Men

Practice type: Data Visualization

The issue: Inequality between women and men. According to the survey report of young people attitudes violence against women, women are always higher than men in the rate of being violence and assaulted. Also, men,especially young men between age 16-24 are lack of awareness about their treatment to women are hurtful and disrespectful, especially non-physical behaviors. On the other hand, women received more violence and assaulted from acquaintance than strangers, includes husband, boyfriend, father etc. It’s the social issue that would affect the mental health situation of women, the rate of domestic violence and the level of authority of women in the society.

The possible change: Reduce the rate of disrespectful behavior to women from men and encourage men to rethink their treatment to women, includes forces women to have sex, tries to control by threatening to hurt others, harasses by repeated phone calls etc. Also, educate men to start recognize the awareness of protecting and respect women instead of using violence to harm women. Finally, display visually what kind of behavior should be forbidden to women and how to affect the mental health situation to women after they had experience with those behaviors.

The design action to support change: Develop a data visualization to support the evidence of women are being the situation of inequality in gender while educating men to recognize their inappropriate behaviors to women. Basically, I would like to develop the design as a digital advertisement that can display on screen. The ads are able to publish on the big digital screen around the city and shopping center, audience is able to touch it and the ads will show the data on screen. The ads also available on any school and government website to publicize the issue. The data will base on two main aspects: physical behaviors and non-physical behaviors. Every individual data will base on one specific behavior from men to women like repeatedly criticizes to make women feel useless. Visually, the design will display by a circle to briefly describe about the issue. After that, audience is able to extend the circle to the next circle while there will have several selection to choose. Also, every circle include 2 to 3 different colors to represent the percentage of the data. After extending all of data by the main aspects, the data visualization should look like a molecular system that can reflect the serious problem of treatment to women from men are in an inequality situation with rich information as the evidence.


Harris A., Honey N., Webster K., Diemer K. & Politoff V. 2013, Attitudes towards gender equality, Young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women, Australia, pp44-47.


Visual documentation of the brainstorming


Blog post. 9 Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

Written by Hyunjoung You


5W visual document.png

I was quite enjoyed doing 5’W’ process. This exercise helped me to narrow down to specific one issue, and it also organized my idea in a logical. It was appropriate approach to draw clear problem statement, and identify what I have to look at more and design for it.

Brainstorming for possible design responses
brainstroming after.png
Brainstorming map after feedback 

As you can see two above images, I needed to brainstorming for possible design responses. Our tutors let us divide into three practice types for brainstorming: service design, data visualization and generative system. It made me having diverse types of design response. If it was not divided like that, I came up with limited practice types of design. Other process was sharing ideas to each group member’s brainstorming map. My group members’ issue was also obesity and healthy living, so they all have some knowledge of the subject. They were able to give some more platforms such as magazine and postcard that I could not come up with. However, they do not have deeper understanding of the association between sedentary work and health (my specific issue); hence, it was hard to obtain the contents which would be in design. Overall, it was nice opportunity to draw suitable possible design responses for my issue.


Post 8: Defining the problem space and brainstorming possible design responses

Molly Grover

Reflecting on my research and interaction with the refugee and asylum seeker issue so far throughout the semester, I was able to see a clear trend in my interest in public dissatisfaction with the Australian government’s current immigration policies, most particularly in regard to offshore processing centres. Passionate discourse around the inhumanity of the current detainment of 442 persons on Nauru and 854 persons on Manus Island reveals a growing level of discomfort amongst the Australian public. Social media hashtags such as #BringThemHere and #CloseTheCamps exemplify such sentiment.

Brainstorming session

With this key idea in mind, I then collaborated with my classmates in a group brainstorming session. Focusing firstly on refugees in detention, a number of themes recurred and became evident in our language and mapping, including mistreatment, trauma, ethics, injustice, accountability, secrecy, protest and outrage.

Focusing next on attitudes towards refugees in a more broad sense, our mapping revealed a huge dichotomy of sentiment, with recurring themes of fear, racism, selfishness and boundaries contrasting with generosity, empathy, compassion and acceptance. This reinforced to me the polarising nature of the issue and the resulting strength of opinion and sentiment from both sides of the argument.

Defining the problem statement

In light of this, I decided to keep my focus narrowed to those expressing dissatisfaction towards offshore detention policies, and used a series of framing questions to shape my problem statement.

  1. Who does the problem affect?

Most primarily, public dissatisfaction with immigration policies affects the future of the refugees and asylum seekers to whom such policies apply. Secondly, the issue affects the communities, jobs and everyday lives of Australian citizens. Further to this, public dissatisfaction affects the Australian government, most particularly its votes, its policymaking and its reputation. Lastly, the issue affects foreign governments and citizens, in their perception of Australia as a government and a people.

  1. What are the boundaries of the problem?

The boundaries of such growing public dissatisfaction are complex and networked. Secrecy and lack of media access, combined with leaked reports of deplorable conditions and incidents of abuse, represent a significant boundary. Attached to this, ethical concerns exist regarding the detrimental psychological and mental consequences of indefinite detention.

Another boundary presents itself in the form of Australia’s international obligations, based on not only the human right to seek asylum, but also on the government’s signature of the UN Refugee Convention.

At odds with this boundary is yet another boundary: the agenda of the Australian government. Despite announcing plans to close the Manus Island detention centre (with no specified date), the possibility of bringing current detainees to Australia for settlement has been firmly ruled out. Neither of the two major parties possesses the will to grant these 1296 persons residency and protection in Australia.

Perhaps the most significant boundary of the issue is the displacement crisis itself, without which there would be no influx of refugees to begin with. Such migrations of scale inevitably bring risks along with them, regarding the receiving country’s economic stability, cultural identity and safety.

Due to the range of opinions present within the citizen body, public dissatisfaction with the government’s immigration policies can arguably never be fully resolved.

However, when focusing on the issue of offshore detention, resolution of the issue could look like closure of the camps, resettlement of the 1296 persons Australia, and thus a successful end to protests and campaigns such as #CloseTheCamps and #BringThemHere.

If offshore detention is not addressed, the volume of the outrage is only likely to increase. If the camps are closed, but the refugees are not allowed to settle in Australia, our country’s international reputation and relations will arguably be damaged, by the government’s unwillingness to exercise compassion towards those whom they have undoubtedly mistreated.

  1. When does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

The expression of public discomfort with offshore detention procedures is only increasing as time goes on. The recent leakage of the Nauru Files has further amplified the demand for action. This issue needs to be addressed by the government immediately, so that those detained may be granted protection and the hope of a new life.

  1. Where is the problem occurring?

Whilst the root of passionate anti-detention sentiment is being caused by the detainment occurring on Manus Island and Nauru, the resulting problem is occurring in the disconnect between the will of the government and the will of many passionate Australians. Furthermore, my previous Twitter scraping exercise revealed that this sense of dissatisfaction extends beyond the borders of our own country, with users from a multitude of other nations expressing disdain for Australia’s offshore detention situation.

  1. Why is it important that the problem is fixed? What impact does it have on all stakeholders?

From the perspective of campaigners against offshore detention, the camps must be closed for the sake of morality, ethics, and an end to refugee mistreatment and trauma. From the perspective of the government, fixing the problem will stop what has become a major economic drain. Furthermore, relations with Papua New Guinea will be improved.

On the converse, relations with Nauru are likely to worsen if the camps are closed, as the small country will no longer receive support and funding from the Australian government. Most importantly, the closing of the camps will be most beneficial for the detainees themselves, who hope for permanent protection and settlement in Australia or elsewhere, in order to build a new life.

Summary of 5 possibilities

This framing of the problem statement brought to light a number of possibilities for the development of a design response.

  1. Visualising and deploying public will in order to bring about political change.

Using either data visualisation or generative design practices, there is great potential to harness passionate public sentiment expressed on social media (both Australian and international). Thoughtful formatting and deployment of such discourse could do much to increase government attention, concern and action towards the issue of offshore detention. Possible formats could include a generative Twitter bot, a graphic data visualisation, or a cartographic Google Earth map.

  1. Investigating language used in the refugee and asylum seeker debate.

Once again using data visualisation and/or generative design practices, there is interesting potential to highlight and analyse the dichotomy of attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers, with particular focus given to language and semantics. Does one side of the argument have more of a tendency to use derogatory language or verbally abuse other actors in the debate? This could reveal interesting insights regarding the social interactions between those who do not agree.

  1. Investigating the trajectory of social media sentiment.

On social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, passionate arguments created by one user are often disseminated with momentum across circles and groups of users all over the world, using re-tweet or sharing functions. Once again using data visualisation practices, interesting potential lies in the idea of mapping the trajectory of online statements, as well as the resulting breadth, or lack, of unique thought amongst the digital community.

  1. Highlighting the inhumanity of indefinite detention

An increase in public support and for the closure of offshore detention centres may be achievable through the poignant communication of aspects of the issue. By highlighting details such as the ever-increasing time elapsed in detention, the personalities and aspirations of those detained, or the secrecy of the government, emotion and outrage may be evoked amongst the public, thus increasing the potential for change.

  1. Gathering the opinion of the wider community regarding detention

Writing letters to local MPs is often a time-consuming process. Petitions, on the other hand, are quick and easy, yet usually not pervasive or wide-reaching enough to gather the signatures of all those who care about the issue. Here lies potential for a generative system or service design, in which a petition or pre-written letter is integrated into an aspect of daily life, so as to be exposed to a larger percentage of the population, whilst still being simple and convenient.

Draft Proposal: Generative System / Visualisation
Collecting and visualising support for #CloseTheCamps using participatory practices

Thanks to the pervasiveness of richly networked digital communities in contemporary society, it is easier than ever to share your personal opinion and show support for a cause. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide a place for discussion to be initiated and disseminated like never before. However, with this proliferation of digital self-expression comes an element of detachment and distance. Proclaiming your views within the circle of your limited digital community has little resonance in your real, physical, day-to-day life.

In the case of Australia’s current offshore processing policies, many Australians take to social media to express their frustration and outrage regarding the inhumane and indefinite detention of innocent asylum seekers. However, it can be argued that there are just as many who do not. Whether they are not opposed to the issue, unaware of it, or simply not one to post their opinions online, social media is not an exhaustive indicator of public opinion within a geographical community.

In order to measure the opinions of my local community regarding offshore detention, I propose to create a generative petition system using Opal card gates at train stations throughout the Sydney region. By attaching a sign to half of the open Opal gates reading “Close The Camps: Tap here to sign” (or similar), commuters and public transport users will be offered the choice to show their support in a very physical and immediate manner.

By placing the interaction within a part of their existing daily routine, the users are not inconvenienced and are thus highly likely to participate. Furthermore, the system also holds potential to engender change in this portion of the community, by bringing the issue to their attention in a way that is not reliant on the political positions (or lack of) of their online friends and followers. Those who may have been previously apathetic towards the issue are now prompted to make an active decision, or at least think about the situation in more depth as they continue their commute.

Applied over a number of days and locations, this system will provide a data set rich with potential for both campaigning and visualisation. Using an algorithm to collect the number of taps registered through each gate, a quantitative petition is generated, pertaining to both time and geographical location.

This then has the potential to be visualized using an automated program, forming a live, active petition in support of closing refugee camps. If brought to the attention of the Australian government, this sort of participatory system could potentially affect policymaking and create change, as the scale of public support for the closure of the camps is expressed and reinforced by the daily movement of commuters throughout the city.

Blog Post 5: Primary Sources

This post is structured around an informal interview that was conducted on the 16th August 2016 between the researcher, Rose McEwen and Participant A and a probe that was conducted throughout the period between the 16-30th August 2016.

Interviews and probes are a form of primary research, allowing researchers to collect original and unique data, generating new insights. The goal of this research was to allow discussion around refugees and explore some of the reasons behind our societal desensitisation and apathy towards offshore detention centres and the treatment of refugees.

The participant began the conversation by identifying as ‘uneducated’ in refugee issues. They said that they cared but ‘wouldn’t go out of their way to get involved’ and felt as though they needed to be more educated in order to participate in refugee activism or volunteer work.

Upon enquiry into the participants’ views on immigration they said they had concerns about safety and space, although they believed that immigration detention centres and strict policies were not the solution.

‘’I don’t think it [immigration] should be less strict because I’m concerned about people coming into the country and keeping the country safe, but I just feel like there has to be something better than what there is. . . I suppose just knowing who people are when they come into the country. Like where do you put everyone? What if we start letting people in and then everybody will come”

During the interview there was discussion around the context of the refugee discussions, which revealed how exposure and education played a significant role in an individuals engagement in the subject matter.

The participant said that they lived on the northern beaches in a community that wasn’t very multicultural or political.

“I think it’s one of those issues that I’ve stuck my head in the sand about because I don’t feel like I can make an impact. My way of caring about issues is when I socialise with people and when I come into contact with people. I’ve never met a refugee, I’ve never met or seen anyone who has been effected by those issues apart from the news where you become so desensitised.”

When questioned on her lack of motivation to self educate, the participant said that the mainstream media sometimes made her feel indifferent towards refugees as it was talked about so much. Secondary sources confirm that in the last two decades the Australian government has worked to perpetuate the indifference of the public by moving detention centres offshore and away from public eye. We can see this through the enforcement of policies such as temporary protection visas to offshore processing and total media blackouts at the offshore camps.

One of most interesting and important aspects of the interview process was that it helped confirm my belief that the Australian government and media have effectively promoted widespread apathy towards humanitarian crises. This interview process has helped me identify an audience for my design research and enlightened me to some of the causations of societal desensitisation and apathy to tragedy and trauma.

In summary;

  • Government policies for offshore processing and low media coverage of camps perpetuate attitudes of indifference in the Australian public.
  • The interview highlighted that a lack of education or knowledge is a barrier for people to connect with the refugee issues and activism. .
  • The media and community greatly contributes to an individual’s exposure and education towards an issue. In a sense the context greatly informs content.
  • The target audiences for my research and design project are (1) People who are interested but uninvolved in refugee issues and (2) People who don’t care about refugee issues.

Probing Task

Brief: The probe given to the participants was to look through their respective local newspapers (Manly Daily, Inner West Courier, Mosman Daily and St Mary’s Standard) since the beginning of the year and note when articles were written on refugees. They were asked to note the date of the issue and whether the author was writing favourably or against immigration laws and multiculturalism within Australia.

Below is a visualisation of the information that I collected for my probe.

graph.jpgRaw Data

The results of this probe indicate particular and nuanced attitudes held within different geographical areas in Sydney. In the Inner West Courier, there were no negatively geared articles written about refugees and were overall written about more than any of the other areas. The Manly Daily had a mixed bag of articles, seemingly trying to appeal to generally conservative audience. In line with these results, Mosman Daily had almost no coverage of refugee issues. Minor issues occurred within the probe, mainly from resulting from a misunderstanding of an article. The subtlety of language and tone of voice are techniques that continue to shape mainstream narratives of refugees and play a major part in media consumption and public perception. These issues were clarified and adjusted accordingly.

Image Reference:
Wallman, S, A Guard’s Tale (2014)

Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

Kathy Ngo

“Designers should care about ethnography because it can help produce more compelling innovative design that really connects with users – in a way that creates delight” – Darrel Rhea

Design-led ethnography is “to learn and understand cultural phenomena which reflect the knowledge and system of meanings guiding the life of a cultural group” – Clifford Geerts.

Ethnography has 3 step process:

  • Go to them
  • Talk to them
  • Write things down (Rick Robinson)

Therefore, to approach to design for change and design-led ethnography, we need to interview people to find out different insights towards the LGBTIQ rights issue.

My main goals in this interview was to:

  • How is the LGBTIQ community life in Asia like?
  • How did the country decrease discrimination? By what methods (social media, movies…)
  • A personal experience of the interviewee of homosexual bullies
  • Sexual & gender education in an Asian country
  • How TV series and dramas influence and support LGBTIQ


The interview questions:

  • Do you know what LGBTIQ stands for?
  • Have you known/experienced anyone any verbal abuse/discrimination relating to different genders before?
  • Did they have any challenges to fit in the society?
  • What are the issues of LGBTIQ rights you think the community is facing?
  • Do you often see videos/articles related to LGBTIQ on social media? Where?
  • What is the most important right that the LGBTIQ should have?

My questions in the interview were intentionally lack of in-depth in order to let her give me her own perspective towards the issue. Interestingly, her answers gave me another view that I had not expected. From the interview, it could be assumed that young people in China had little knowledge about this issue. She didn’t know what LGBTIQ stood for and also didn’t pay much attention to this issue. However, when I asked some questions related to her, the conversation got more open and more in-depth. She said that in her country China, LGBTIQ had gone quite popular in tv series, dramas and social media, where the young generation mostly associated with. However, in real life, general public and especially the government often ignored this issue. People still called homosexual people mental illness or need to be sent to hospital.

After the interview, a task I gave to her was to collect any TV dramas and series she watched and could fine that were with LGBTIQ characters or storylines. The result was far from my expectations.

Love of Siam – Thai Movie


Alternative Love – 2016



Go Princess Go – 2016



Yes or No – Thai Movie

Some of the movies she mentioned were very popular that I had watched several times. Most of them brought the gay relationships to the big screen in such a natural way that there was no different between straight and gay relationship. Those movies had influence the audience for a long period of time and were called the big revolution of gay movies in Asia. They normalised the LGBITQ people in order to erase the discrimination and impact to those very traditional and cultural societies. 2016 has been a big year that there are many Chinese dramas released with gay storylines. Therefore, as an impact, the perspective towards this community has shifted positively.

However, most of the films and dramas were banned by the government as being called “not appropriate”. This had raised a lot of questions from the audience of the definition of being “appropriate”. It can be assumed that for now, China government still doesn’t support much to LGBITQ.



Key insights:

  • Discrimination in China ( Asia in general) was not as intense as I imagined. In fact, social media and film industry play a vital role in the change and in raising awareness about LGBTIQ issue.
  • There is still a lack of knowledge of young generation on this topic. It is important and essential to educate people from different generation about the issues.
  • However, the youth are the main factor of the change. They are easily influenced by what they read, watch and see everyday.
  • It was very awkward at the beginning of the interview. However, if I let the conversation grow, there are many more information from the participant that are unexpected and very interesting to know since the person slowly relates the questions to herself. Also it is very good to have some generic questions and to avoid yes/no ones. Those could kill the flow!
  • I think the next step of my research is to understand more about Religion in LGBTIQ rights as they are potentially a major factor in the change of LGBTIQ rights.


Identified Project in an Emerging Issue

(WGEA 2015)
(WGEA 2015)

The Workplace and Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory division created as one of the enforcers of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

They work collaboratively with employers to further the cause of equal representation of men and women in the workplace. In their collaborations they provide advice, education and tools to help employers achieve positive gender equity goals. The Data Explorer (WGEA 2015) tool has been created for this purpose, it is an entry point for the public to explore the agencies data more clearly and in detail. It provides overviews of industries by gender pay equity and workforce comparison, and allows the user to explore data across a range of topics in the majority of industries. The Data Explorer also enables the user to specifically compose role and employee types in order to get a more specific result of gender pay gaps. It additionally shows comparison to prior years and how strategies and actions towards gender equality affects this data.

Industries by pay equity and gender composition
(WGEA 2015)

Datasets traditionally face the issue of lack of accessibility and lack of impact due to difficulty in synthetising and processing its complexity. What the data explorer effectively achieves is simplified and visual access to statistics. This takes an issue that is often dehumanised by numbers and brings it into the clear light of day by giving all users simple access to the explorer.

Corrs (2015)
(Corrs 2015)

WGEA also encourages employers and employees to use the social media tag #MyEqualityStat to share the statistics uncovered using the explorer. Once again this is a clever way to raise awareness through simple and social digital tools.

The Data Explorer was built and designed by Flink Labs (2015), which is a design agency specialising in data mining and visualisation. Their work revolves around solving problems by designing and creating interactive data visualisations, that in the end provoke conversations and enhance understanding and engagement in the subject. They achieve this through simple and beautiful presentations of complex data in a format that allows both exploration and understanding regardless of analytical ability. Flink Labs collaborates with various different clients, with many projects focusing on the processing and presentation of economic data relevant to peoples everyday lives.

The Data Explorer is an excellent example of a growing area of design where data visualisation is used to communicate a message that otherwise would have been lost in the depths of complex numerical representations. Global leaders in the media space such as the New York Times have adopted data visualisation as a key tool of communication and designers continually improve the visual representation of this information to provide users with an engaging and informative experience (New York Times 2015).

The self service nature of the visualisation tool also plays an important role, where traditional written journalism requires writers to communicate a single point to readers data visualisation acts as a choose your own journey style of communication. This leaves users with access to the most relevant and interesting data to them, rather than simplified and generic information.

Data journalism and visualisation represents a growing amalgamation of the fields of journalism and design. Both rely on the basic concept of conveying meaning to people, with one achieving this through words and the other through images and interactive visual elements. In this particular example data journalism has a significant advantage over traditional written articles, particularly in a situation like this where the issue is often considered a contentious one. Visualisation presents statistics in self service fashion without bias or perspective, this allows conclusions to be drawn by the viewer on their own merit rather than under the influence of the opinion of the author, which has been seen throughout some of my other research in this area.

To summarise,

we see this data explorer as excellent example of the growing practice of data visualisation and data journalism in design. The use of interactive visual design to represent complex datasets to users in a simple and easily digestible form. In this case this visualisation is used to shine a light on the stark nature of gender inequality in the workplace in Australia. Often a hotly debated issue in the media this tool allows users to draw their own conclusions from the queries they put into the tool. As a result the tool is able to draw focus to an issue that is often misrepresented or lost in complex historical records and statistics.

By Camilla Ahlström

Corrs, 2016, ‘Domestic Violence is also a workplace issue’, Twitter post, 26 November, viewed 21 August 2016, <>
Flink Labs, 2016,  viewed on 21 August 2016 <;
New York Times, 2015, ‘2015: The Year in Visual Stories and Graphics’, viewed 21 August 2016, <>
WGEA, 2015, WGEA Data Explorer, viewed on 21 August 2016 <>

Blog Post 4 // We Feel Fine

‘We Feel Fine’ is an incredibly rich and versatile data set which employs an emergent practice of generative systems to investigate human emotions on a global scale in an unbiased and unobtrusive manner. The project utilises a code system which collects, collates and processes data based upon the world’s newly posted blog entries which contain the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. The system records the entire sentence and categorises each of them according to the feelings that are expressed within the sentence, for example: happy, sad, depressed, excited, etc. Using the information provided within the blog, the system can often record the age, gender and geographical location of the author; even the weather of the location can be extracted and ultimately used as a means to categorise the data. The project then employs another emergent practice of data visualisation to depict and communicate the rich data in a plethora of different ways, such as colour, size, shape and opacity.

The data is displayed in six different categories: Madness, Murmurs, Montage, Mobs, Metrics, and Mounds. This data can then be further filtered by five sub-categories: Feeling, Gender, Age, Weather and Location. [Harris & Kamva 2005]

‘We Feel Fine’ is authored by everyone for everyone, ultimately producing a wide exploration of the notion of human emotions and mental health. I was particularly interested in this project as it not only explores mental health, it even utilises technology and online platforms to collate and provide information of the current ‘feelings’ being felt and expressed across the world. However, this generative system has proven to be quite thought provoking, as it utilises information provided in public blogs without the permission of the author. For although the information accumulated is open to public consumption and is not private information, the nature of feelings and personal reflections almost seem sacred or sensitive, thus causing a slight sense of unease within the audience as they are able to focus in on particular sentences that may be describing how someone feels about their sexuality or current family situation.

‘We Feel Fine’ not only displays large scale macro data sets, but can also provide a micro observation of a single sentence within the larger picture; here is one such example. [Harris & Kamva 2005]

The project is quite fascinating as it does not seem to have an apparent agenda, or opinion, that it wishes to present, it merely wishes to provide a space which “helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life”. [Harris 2006] This is an exemplar of universally minded design, as it not only uses the internet as a medium which can be easily accessed by a large number of people, it also uses a communicative language which supersedes all linguistics, cultures and nationalities, such as colour, shape and size. Ultimately, the project provides an expansive and versatile avenue through which people across the world can better understand human emotions on a global scale and ultimately the intricacies and beauties of human emotions as they occur within their own lives.


Harris, J. & Kamva, S. 2005, We Feel Fine, viewed 20 August 2016, < >

Harris, J. 2006, We Feel Fine, viewed 20 August 2016, < >

Post 4: Seeing Data

‘Seeing Data’ is a data visualisation research project initiated by the University of Sheffield, Migration Observatory Oxford and CLEVER° FRANKE. The project looks at how people see big data visualisations and how they affect people’s perceptions of current issues, such as migration.

Image caption: ‘Seeing Data’ – a data visualisation project about the news coverage of different migrant groups over seven years (CLEVER° FRANKE 2015)

By Olivia Tseu-Tjoa

Initially, I couldn’t think of many contemporary designers who work in an emergent practice context related to the issue of refugees off the top of my head. However, upon further research, there were various interesting projects that addressed the topic of refugees through service, product and data visualisation design.

‘Seeing Data’ is a data visualisation research project initiated by the University of Sheffield and Migration Observatory Oxford (University of Oxford). They commissioned Netherlands based data visualisation agency, CLEVER° FRANKE to produce two different sets of data visualisations as case studies: one focused on migration data taken from the 2011 census and the second was based on 7 years of news coverage. Using migration and news data from England and Wales, the project looks at how people see big data visualisations and how they affect people’s perceptions of current issues, such as migration.

As an academic project commissioned by educational institutions, CLEVER° FRANKE had wide access to various resources, services and datasets. For their dataset of ‘Migration in the news,’ CLEVER° FRANKE explored this issue by partnering with sentiment analysis specialists of AI Applied for a textual analysis of migration terms in news articles. The Migration Observatory had collected over 100 million words from the UK’s national newspapers. In addition, they used services such as Nexis, an archive of periodicals and news articles and Sketch Engine, a web based linguistic tool which generated lists of words based on their frequency in news coverage. The agency used ‘D3.js’, a JavaScript library to produce the interactive data visualisations for online browsers. Overall, the project involved data prototyping, UI/UX design and user testing.

I was most interested in the visualisation of the words that were frequently used to describe each migrant group featured in the dataset ‘Migration in the news’. It allows the user to click through the different groups and see the variety of terms. The boldness of the word indicates its frequency in news coverage. Under the category Aslyum Seekers, ‘failed’,’bogus’ and ‘genuine’ were the most frequent and salient adjectives used. Although this visualisation was made using textual data from news coverage between 2006 and 2013, I would be curious to find out what words are currently being used in today’s Australian media reporting and compare the results.

Keywords and terms used in news coverage over seven years (CLEVER° FRANKE 2015)

The research project had identified their target audience as a ‘cross-section of English society’ (CLEVER° FRANKE 2015). Interestingly, one research participant was surprised by the data visualisations and said it had changed their perception of migration. As the participant John states:

“I was a little bit surprised at the actual data itself: it was either higher or lower than I thought. It kind of changed my perceptions of how I looked at it. For example, there were more South American migrants to East Northamptonshire than I thought there were.” (CLEVER° FRANKE 2015)

A graph showing changes in the amount of coverage of different migrant groups (CLEVER FRANKE 2015)

Through explorative and interactive visualisations, CLEVER° FRANKE has distilled something that could have been potentially dry, dense and difficult to read, into a project that conveys information about migration in an engaging and easy to navigate manner. Additionally, it offers insight into how people perceive big data, how these visualisations can affect their views of current issues and offers academics the chance to examine their overall effectiveness. This particular project feels very relevant to this subject as it is not only an ‘isolated’ piece of design, but is a research project analysed by researchers as they attempt to understand how people interact with big data visualisations.

‘Work–Seeing Data,’ CLEVER° FRANKE, n.d, Viewed 17 August 2016, < >.

‘Seeing Data’, n.d, Viewed 17 August 2016, < >.

CLEVER° FRANKE 2015, ‘Seeing Data-Migration in the census‘, video recording, Vimeo, viewed 20 August 2016 < >.

CLEVER° FRANKE 2015, ‘Seeing Data-Migration in the news‘ video recording, Vimeo, viewed 20 August 2016 < >

Kennedy, H 2015. ‘Views from ‘Seeing Data’ Research (Part 1), 12 October, viewed 20 August 2016 < >.

Post 4: The Refugee Project – Mapping Global Displacement and Asylum

Molly Grover

A collaboration between social impact design agency Hyperakt and technologist Ekene IjeomaThe Refugee Project is a sophisticated interactive map of global refugee flows over the last 40 years (Information is Beautiful 2016).

Winning gold in the Interactive Visualisation category of the 2014 Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards, the project explores the temporal, geographical and historical nuances of global emigration using a combination of quantitative data visualisation and qualitative storytelling.

Starting from 1975, the visualisation uses an interactive timeline to separate global migration data into 40 yearly sets. Using information supplied by the United Nations, each yearly view visualizes the total worldwide breakdown of asylum seeker immigration by volume, origins and destinations (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.01.38 PM
With the year 1989 selected, each circle indicates displacement from its respective country (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).

In order to distinguish between countries of origin and destination countries of asylum, colour has been cleverly employed as an element of the visualisation. Loaded with psychological associations, the colour red conjures up notions of physical movement, anger, conflict, violence, survival instinct and life force. Such a dynamic colour has thus been used to demarcate those countries that have been fled in any given year by those seeking asylum.

Conversely, the colour blue possesses connotations of trust, reliability, peace, tranquility, calmness and order (Scott-Kemmis 2016). Thus, this colour has been used to define those countries which have been destinations for asylum in each particular year, providing protection to those who have sought it.

The option to toggle between a view of these two colours greatly enhances the user’s experience with the data, by breaking it down into two separate sets: countries which have been fled and countries which have provided asylum.

For example, when operating in the red colour view, clicking on a country reveals how many people fled from that country in the chosen year, as well as a list of their final destinations. Conversely, when toggled to the blue colour view, clicking on a country reveals the number of asylum seekers residing in that country in the chosen year, as well as a list of their countries of origin.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.06.01 PM
The red mode shows that only one person fled Australia to seek asylum in 1996. The line connects to their destination (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.06.21 PM
Changing to the blue mode, the map shows that 67,280 asylum seekers resided in Australia in 1996, from a total of 100 different origins (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).

This numerical data is also interactive, and able to be toggled between a total number and a ratio proportional to the global population, making complex statistical information accessible and digestible to the average user.

It is in these functions that the interactivity of the visualisation becomes incredibly valuable, allowing for greater comprehension of the data by breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. This principle is further echoed in the categorisation of the data into forty separate yearly sets. By clicking on each year, the user is able to gain an immediate grasp of the refugee flows at a particular moment in history, without the distraction of the rest of the forty year set. Rather than being bombarded with an enormous collection of unmanageable information, the user is guided through the data at their own pace thanks to the interactive and catalogued nature of the map.

As well as visualising geographical and temporal flows, the map also includes a rich historical storytelling element, acting to contextualize the complex numerical data sets with relevant qualitative information.Upon selecting a year to view, the user is greeted by several text block icons, positioned atop relevant countries. When a text block is clicked upon, it expands to reveal a summary of ‘the complex stories of political, social, and economic turmoil behind each displacement’ (Information is Beautiful 2016).

Using simple and easily understandable language, the text provides the user with an understanding of the conditions which forced people to flee that country and seek asylum elsewhere. The map thus allows the user to gain a deeper understanding of refugee flows, moving past mere statistics to the nuances and reasons for such displacements.

This is what makes the project most effective: its ability to shift from the macro to the micro, synthesizing both the qualitative and the quantitative to create a picture rich with historical context.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.02.24 PM
With the year 1994 selected, a text icon appears over Rwanda (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.05.13 PM
Upon click, the map zooms in and presents the story behind the Rwandan displacement of 1994 (Hyperakt & Ijeoma 2014).

The issue of displacement and asylum has never been more pertinent than in contemporary society, with 2015 marking a record high in worldwide displacement due to ever-increasing levels of persecution and conflict (UNHCR 2015). Engaging with this issue, The Refugee Project represents an incredibly valuable resource, distilling the complexities of historical refugee flows into a sophisticated, elegant and interesting piece of communication.

Particularly valuable from an educational standpoint, the map makes an increased understanding of global displacement accessible to all who use it. Personally, I plan to refer back to this resource regularly this semester in my investigations of asylum seekers.

Interact with The Refugee Project here.


Information Is Beautiful 2016, The Refugee Project, London, viewed 18 August 2016, <>.

Hyperakt & Ijeoma, E. 2014, The Refugee Project, The Refugee Project, New York City, viewed 18 August 2016, <>.

Hyperakt 2016, Hyperakt, New York City, viewed 18 August 2016, <>.

Ijeoma, E. 2016, Ekene Ijeoma, New York City, viewed 18 August 2016, <>.

Scott-Kemmis, J. 2015, Empower Yourself with Colour Psychology, Empower Yourself with Colour Psychology, Sydney, viewed 30 August 2016, <>.

UNHCR 2015, Worldwide displacement hits all-time high as war and persecution increase, Geneva, Switzerland, viewed 30 August 2016, <>.