UN goal 5: Gender Inequality
Applied social design to our brief Gender Inequality to consider the broader application of design as a way of informing and creating social outcomes.
Throughout the project, i was in charge of conducting co design workshops with those apart of the Trans Community, to help us define and iterate the concept.
Implemented a design thinking process to understanding user and stakeholder needs, define problems, ideate solutions, prototype and test designed solutions.
Social Design, UX research, CO-Design, Interactive Product Design.
Within the global landscape gender equality is seen as a fundamental human right. In fact, the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 is to: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The Goal is broken down into 5 main targets, but in consideration of our context, we found these particularly interesting:
The need to end discrimination and violence, provide equal opportunity and enable social protection.
This can be achieved through reforming economic policy, using tech to empower female voices and adopting and strengthening legislation to promote equality and protection.
COVID has caused unprecedented social upheaval.
More specifically, the pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities for women and girls in areas ranging from:
Health- a higher proportion of women are frontline workers and carers at home
The economy- with 60% of women working informally , putting them at a greater risk of poverty
And lastly social protection- where the pandemic has lead to a steep increase in domestic violence as lockdown measures trap women at home with abusers
Our aim was to just immerse ourselves in the space and gather an understanding of what is currently happening within gender inequality. We conducted Contextual Observations and Interviews at the March4Justice, as well as Online Ethnographies, to triangulate our approach.
At the March we saw immense support and passion due to recent allegations made regarding men in parliament. However to our surprise we saw little diversity and the march was very dominated by white cis women and men.
To validate our insights from our Contextual Observation I conducted Online Ethnographies. I began by organically collecting current media posts relevant to the problem area, these posts were not searched for and moreover appeared within the teams various social platforms highlighting its current relevance. The resulting 35 posts were systematically evaluated.
Affinity Diagram was performed on all of the data. This process led to the discovery of 5 key themes:
We then undertook some background research and started to look at feminism so we could grasp an understanding of patriarchy, power and their influence on the gender inequality movement.
We found that there is a greater problem in the way feminism has manifested due to its movement away from its core mission of ‘equality for all’
Many vocalised disdain towards the term “feminism,” believing the movement has been co-opted by white, cis-gender women, alienating marginalised women from the mainstream liberation movement. We realised that gender policing and gate keeping of the feminist movement has alienated transgendered women. Isn’t the point of feminism to bring equality for all? - it seems like the movement has been far removed from its purpose.
Our research so far has set off alarms regarding the current UN goal 5. Since its release, the gender discussion has evolved and we saw an interesting opportunity to redefine the goal, to be more inclusive.
We realised that gender policing and gate keeping of the feminist movement has alienated transgendered women.
We than used system mapping as it provides an “exploration of the system, communicates understanding, and allows for the identification of knowledge gaps, intervention points, and insights” (Acaroglu, 2017), I created the system map.
In completing this we reached a series of conclusions we used to inform our problem space.
We validated four key findings in the systems map with various sources including the 2015 USTS and other reports.
Surveys were conducted to clarify the problem area with quantitative data (Appendix 6). It specifically filled in knowledge gaps between our understanding and general public perception on transgender people's issues.
After completing surveys, we wished to move away from perceptions of transgender people from the general population, to the human experience of people within the community themselves. The aim was to facilitate discussion around their experiences to validate our proposed problem areas, and assess any redirection.
After conducting our research, I was in charge of analysing the data through a thematic analysis to discover key needs.
To initialise the ideation process, we found value in analysing and critiquing existing design solutions. In researching existing design precedence surrounding social interventions, we can assess the strengths and weaknesses of existing solutions as a means of justifying our own design decisions.
To bring our research to life we used 3 rounds of Brain writing 365 against our problem areas of; economic inequality, violence and mistreatment and misrepresentation (Appendix 9.2). During this process we decided to avoid ideating under the problem area of intersectionality as this problem would require larger social change beyond the scope of a possible design solution.
This technique enabled us to individually ideate and write down our ideas with time constraints. In passing these ideas around and building upon the previous person’s ideas, it encouraged our team to ideate collaboratively, creating multi-dimensional concepts.
We then reframed our problem areas as How Might We (HMW) questions to turn the challenges into opportunities for design (Appendix 9.1). This consideration of stakeholders, aside from transgender people themselves, helped us gain perspective on the potential impacts of our solutions, thus more holistic solutions surfaced.
Undertaking two design sprint challenges, we generated 99 ideas.
To narrow these down and workshop them into comprehensive concepts, we used a thematic analysis under each problem area to enable us to draw links between concepts. This visualisation emerged into 14 holistic solutions which were situated in our 3 problem areas.
We used co-creation sessions, to introduce these initial ideas, here we discussed and workshopped them with people within the Trans Community, helping to ground our design solution (Appendix 10.1).
Through a thematic analysis of the data from the co-creation session (Appendix 10.1) overall, feedback from our participants highlighted a lack of holistic concepts and solutions they would find value in as a trans person. Our concepts "made sense and (are) helpful" (Rosa, an expert citizen, 2021), however were often not trans-specific, and "surface level, instead of tackling some things that are probably deeper that should be tackled, or understood" (expert citizen).
This process lead to us identifying 3 concepts which we positively received by those in the trans community. We than presented our 3 concepts to experts and let their responses guide our direction. The concept of a support group, peaked the most interest and enthusiasm. In interviewing the parent of a trans-boy, we received the same positive reception.
In discussing the trans experience with some citizens, we identified commonalities that all individuals share irrespective of gender. The demand for belonging and connection within an inclusive community transcends relevance beyond trans women. Thus, as a group we decided that going forward, our design solution would be more beneficial if it addresses all transgender people.
To further aid design refinement, we then engaged with design critique from fellow designers and an expert citizen. Their opinions and feedback highlighted which concept was the strongest and most needed. the Trans Support Group for Friends and Family was seen to peak the most interest and enthusiasm, and was taken onto the next stage of the design process.
To further develop our ideas and refine our concepts, we presented our strongest ideas to evaluate usefulness in relation to our citizens. We utilised semi-structured interviews to collect feedback and gain deep insight into the experience of the possible user (Tomitsch, M. et al., 2018 p.78).
In the development of TLC, we formed user journey maps to visualise how citizens would engage with the platform.
From these user journey maps, we created the storyboard. After creating this, we further engaged in co-design by presenting our concept to some citizens. We used choosing your own adventure to make the design process more accessible. This feedback session was run in a semi-structured setting whereby a scene would be presented and then discussed as a group, allowing us to gauge if our conceptualisation of the user experience was realistic.
Feedback was overall very positive and certified the linear story was realistic. There were however some nuanced changes we needed to make including:
That mentors and mentees should organically form relationships
Using gender-neutral terminology until personal pronouns are formed.
And the potential for integrating medical practitioners as members
We then created the platform based on TLCs point of interaction within the storyboard.
Low fidelity sketches were made to understand key functionalities. Based on our technological design precedence, co-creation session and internal team discussion, we made changes to improve the usability of the system. These included:
Simplification through removing elements
And Enabling learnability through implementing familiar concepts
These changes were then translated into an interactive mid-fidelity prototype. Creating realistic interface designs and interactions on Figma, provided an immersive experience for users to interact with our usability testing. I was in charge of conducting the usability testing.
Trans Loving Community (TLC) is an online platform that centres around bringing families, friends and practitioners of the trans community together, to provide as much support as possible for the transitioning stage. The platform aims to reduce the stress of self-education, provision of care and navigating the difficult and confusing world for their children. TLC attempts to foster organic relationships between users and mentors to promote sharing of experiences and resources amongst families of trans children who are not yet old enough/comfortable enough to live independently