tools & methods
FIGMA
AFTER EFFECTS
ILLUSTRATOR
PARTICIPATORY DESIGN
PROTOTYPING
DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY
WORKSHOPS
collaboration with
the team
Lukas Moro
Tobias Ertel
Amanda Wallgren
background
This project was a collaboration between Umeå Institute of Design and the Swedish and Norwegian police. As a young person, contacting the police when something "weird" happens online, comes with much uncertainty. The police wanted us to look into what a relationship of trust and support that lowers the threshold for seeking contact could look like.
outcome
The concept BUFFER is a collective effort initiated by the police where different people and NGOs come together to guide youths in the online world. Buffer is designed to lower the threshold for seeking initial contact by making the platform accessible, both in the physical and digital world, and help youth define what they are looking for without necessarily having to describe it in words. Furthermore, the Buffer community is designed to approach the youth instead of youths having to find the right help by themselves.
my role
Planning and preparing for workshops with the rest of the team, creating prototypes, and acting out different scenarios. Making the final look and flow of the Buffer platform in Figma.

01/03

buffer

Approaching the police through a Buffer-Zone

Approaching the police when something has happened online can feel hard. Both because you might not know if what happened was actually a crime or not but also since there is little knowledge of what the consequences of filing a report might be. To make this easier we suggest installing a "buffer zone" that consists of different people, such as therapists and mediators together with different NGOs, that will support youths while establishing the first contact.

Approaching the police, especially when something happens online, comes with a lot of insecurities. There is a need for a buffer zone between the youth and the police that lowers the threshold for contact and enables a culture of trust and support without fear of unknown consequences.

Scenario using BUFFER

Anuja is 14 years old and for some time she has been receiving nudes from a stranger adult. At first, she was just laughing it away with her friends but now it has started to make her feel uncomfortable and angry.

Discovering BUFFER

While visiting the bathroom Anuja sees a poster on the wall. She decides to scan the QR code and an App Clip guiding her towards BUFFER opens. While exploring the page she gets to read about what the platform can support with and decides to move on and download the full app.

Searching for advice

While at home Anuja picks up her phone to open BUFFER. She is guided through some questions on why she is visiting the platform today and answers that she wants advice regarding the unwanted nudes she has been receiving.

Getting informed

BUFFER then presents her with information on the topic as well as links to related stories from other youths that has been experiencing the same thing. BUFFER also recommends people/NGOs, that are experts on the subject, that she could reach out to.

Creating a story

Utilizing the search she made earlier BUFFER helps Anuja create a post where she describes what she has been experiencing. Since describing something in text can be hard, BUFFER tries to help out by filling in guiding words. The post is fully anonymous and the purpose is to connect her with youths that have experienced similar things as well as to get advice from experts.

A representative from a NGO reaches out!

Sara is a representative from an NGO that works with supporting and empowering youths. She has been notified by the post since it included tags that are connected to her account. Since the person that sent Anuja the pictures is an adult, Sara realizes that there has been a crime and decides to ask if she can invite Sabina, a police colleague, to join the conversation. Anuja has to actively accept this since after telling the police about a crime they, by law, have to report it. After joining the conversation Sabina informs Anuja of what might happen if a report is filed and then agrees on keeping this chat room open so that they can re-connect.

Depending on where you are from you will have a different relationship/experience of the police. Therefore the police can not necessarily be the people youth approach first for advice. BUFFER instead highlights that collaboration between different stakeholders, such as NGO´s, is crucial to create a safety net around the youth and to guide them towards the right form of help.

System Map

Guiding youths to Buffer through both the physical & digital world

It is important that the threshold for gaining help through Buffer is low. Therefore we were thinking of places where youths might be more willing to explore the app. The idea is to utilize both the online world, through different social media and influencers, together with the physical by placing posters at different public places such as a bus stations or on the toilet.

02/03

visual identity

Creating a graphic profile for Buffer

The concept BUFFER is meant to be a collective effort, however, initiated by the police. We, therefore, felt like an important aspect of the project was that it got a new brand identity that would speak to youths and encourage them to use the platform. The guide words Brave, Friendly and Young were chosen to inform the design.
Background
Research
Concept Development
Final Project

03/03

exploration

Project overview

We went into the project with a participatory approach where we wanted to, through multiple workshops, involve the different stakeholders as much as possible.

Interviewing through journey mapping

Initially, we held 5 interviews with youths from different countries. However, cause of the very north location of Umeå, all interviews were held over Zoom. We tried an approach where the interviewer sketches what the person is saying and later lets them retell the story-  hoping that new details will come up. Due to the setup, we had to improvise by adding a second camera to the call which was filming the paper. Surprisingly this worked quite well!

Workshop 1.0

For the first workshop, we created four different card decks, each telling a specific story/scenario that we had gotten from the interviews. For example "What if you knew what would happen if you contacted the police?". In the session, the participants would turn one card at a time to try and figure out what they would do in that situation as the story evolved.

Workshop 2.0

he second workshop was held together with the police. We had prepared different paper prototypes that we placed on a table in the middle. Then the participants were divided into groups, each working with a specific prototype, where they could either add notes of their opinions or add on to the idea by creating their own sketches.

Video Prototyping/mid-fidelity

To test the prototypes and concepts out, and get feedback, we created different video prototypes where we would act out different scenarios. These videos were afterward shared with the different stakeholders to get their initial reactions.

Workshop 3.0

The final workshop was held online where we met up again with the same youths that we had talked to at the beginning of the project. We showed them our video prototypes to get their reactions and later made them prioritize what they found most important/essential for the platform vs. not.

Formulating our insights

As part of this project's final outcome, we compiled our most important insights together with our opinions on what actions that are needed to be taken. The brochures were, at the time of the final presentation, handed out to our collaboration partners for them to use internally as the discussion material.

Read it here:

The brochure is divided into five different sections and overarching topics: Foundations, Empowerment, Communication, Structure, and Support.

BUFFER aims to lower the threshold for youth reaching out when something "weird" is happening online.

-  Learnings & Retrospective -

​​During this project, I reflected a lot on how one relates to the participant before and after an interview/workshop/project. I feel a greater responsibility in keeping them in the loop to avoid just “extracting information”, and in one way misusing the often personal information that has been shared. After the project was over our group spoke about how important it is to reconnect, show the result, and say a proper thank you to everyone who was involved.​

In one sense this project touched upon a wicked problem. The police want to be there for the youth to make them feel safe and heard. On the other hand, the police are there to enforce the law which in many aspects makes it nearly impossible to create a relationship of trust. Another thing to take into account is that depending on where you are from you will have a very different relationship to the police. What we want to raise with this project is that the police do not necessarily need to be the people youth approach first for advice, and probably they even should not. Instead we want to highlight that collaboration between different stakeholders, such as NGO´s, is crucial to create a safety net around the youth and to guide them towards the right form of help.​​

Thoughts on workshops: One major thing I will bring with me from this project is how to design workshops. I believe our group prepared a too detailed first workshop which had way too many elements. We should have kept it simpler and thought of ways to just activate people’s imagination. In our second workshop, we spent less time preparing and used a freer format which turned out to work better for what we wanted to achieve. However, preparing in detail for a workshop is a great opportunity to narrow down a project direction. While creating material and exercises one is forced to somewhat define what the project is about. So even though our first workshop was not a success it still gave us value in this aspect.
Secondly, the outcome of a workshop is of course determined somehow by its structure and facilitation. However, it is equally determined by the amount of energy the participants give and how open-minded they are. My takeaway here is to think about how one can, even before the workshop starts, work towards making the participants more comfortable to achieve this.