This project offered a unique opportunity to write our own brief, determining what needed to be created ourselves. Taking an issue that inspired us in our own lives, we researched around the issue and considered how we could improve an existing situation, by design.
We pitched Humans of the Internet, a global movement for kindness operating both on and offline. We wanted to inspire a collective group to take action in humanising the internet to quench the hostility and harassment that takes place on the internet.
My group began by creating a list of problems using Tim Brown’s recently published Medium post, “The Next Big Thing In Design”, for inspiration. We did a quick fire individual ideation sprints around each of the seven topics he called out, to get us started. After a series of dot-voting rounds and a weekend of mind-mapping, we decided on our final question: "how might we encourage passive users in online communities with the tools and structure they need to transform conflicts into opportunities for learning and growth?" For a detailed explanation of how we reached this topic, please see my process book here.
We spent some time really diving into the double diamond to make sure we covered all stages. We realised that there was a fine line between moderation and censorship online, and decided to jump into some primary and secondary research. We reviewed some online movements for kindness that already existed, and discovered a definite gap. We interviewed a selection of people from our personal networks to fulfil our goal of understanding average users of social media. We also interviewed expert Rob Morris, founder of Koko, to uncover the use of cognitive reframing and crowdsourcing to help people deal with stress and anxiety.
Using the data we collected, we decided to use some simple models to frame our question.
We discussed the idea of an online engagement prompter, and to test this concept, we sat next to people and observed how they used Facebook, as they normally would. When they paused over a piece of content, we offered small positivity prompts, and discovered that often times, people forget that a simple “thanks for sharing!” or “interesting thought” comment is as relevant as a discouraging comment.
We also created a visual prototype of a plugin that would scan language and prompt you to rethink your reaction. We also toyed with the idea of using a gif or emoji rather than a word. We tested this with a number of social media users in our locality and it proved successful, as long as it was created in a non-intrusive way.
We asked ourselves the question: can all of our research, insight and prototyping really just be summed up in one product? We reached the conclusion that it couldn’t, and this led us to the conclusion of a constellation of services and tools.
Our solution was a global grassroots movement to spread kindness, positivity and self-awareness, both on and offline. We were inspired by the spirit of “Humans of New York”, and this “Humans of the Internet” was born. Each element of the constellation was underpinned by our Humans of the Internet manifesto
We hung the manifesto and a feedback sheet in the hallway of our studio in order to get feedback from our peers, and sent it to our interviewees. We iterated on the copy based on this feedback and released the final document.
In order to pitch our idea, we created physical prototypes of our “letter to a friend” and “little man” concepts.