Project: MA Thesis - Integrated Design (Part 02)
Institution: Köln International School of Design
Project duration: 5 months
About the project
#dubsnow is an approach to visualise the controversy behind children refugee age assessment in the UK. It is part of a campaign to enact Lord Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act Section 67. It aims to educate public through visualisations regarding why the Government has kept changing its mind and could not keep its promises when it comes to the children refugee policy. Since the issue assessment and analysis has been conducted in the previous stage, this stage is to find a design solution that can become more accessible to the audience understand the issue in order to achieve the goals. It is based on an argument that when dealing with controversial topic, one should not shy away from controversial topics that a community may not understand or want to talk about but rather tackle them head-on.
The aims behind public posters are to address “culture of disbelief” within society and local authority towards children refugee, to doubt the testimonies of asylum seekers merely based on physical appearance and demeanour judgement. It also serves as a critique to the said method which have been highly criticised as subjective and do not take into consideration of different aging process due to race, ethnicity, climate, and psychological development. An error of judgement that could cause a vulnerable child’s future.
The poster uses a splitting image of a minor refugee, where on the left side shows his actual young and fresh face, while on the right side shows a traumatising situations that happened along the journey which affected the boy’s pysique. A related yet provoking question “If every wrinkle means struggle, how old am I?” accompanies the images to reflect that we cannot judge someone solely based on appearance and demeanour. Although using photographs, the design is kept simple and bold with the same font and color tone.
The challenge is to find the right balance between complexity and simplicity while keeping the legibility. Through captivating images and short text, each of the chapter starts by introducing a micro story around a topical theme which were hand-picked from issue assessment stage in the previous chapter. In the subsequent views, the visualisation is fixed in place on the right side. It is the common denominator on which a different datasets are loaded as the user scrolls through the chapters.
Additional highlights, explanations and visualisation controls allow the user to further deep dive the topic. This interplay between the visualisations on the right and controls on the left creates a dynamic yet clear experience. The overall design style is simple, neat to make the visualisations stand out. The lines and shapes of the visualisations dictate the atmosphere of every page. Focussing on content and a clean, elegant look and feel, the user is drawn into the topics.
Part of the challenge in presenting the complex debate is to display all the information in a simple and legible manner yet still capturing the different viewpoints and perspectives of the actors. The most challenging part is visualizing the Controversy Map. While the Contrversy Map resulted from previous stage were crucial for a comprehensive understanding of the issue, there is a need to simplify it even more when it comes to the public. Time and attention becomes an imprtant consideration. The “Tree of Disagreement” content was extracted from the Controversy Map and it was designed in a playful way whilst still exploring each aspect of the issue. The branching structures reveal that controversyies tend to span from a general principle to the most specific details.