IA Summit 2018 Main Conference TalkTopic(s): emotional design, place, and psychology
Approximately 51% of the world’s population is on the internet. As more people join this sphere of connectivity, the feeling of being safe within this space becomes increasingly threatened. The implications of having a vehicle to connect to 51% of the world could be incredibly positive. On the other hand, this level of connectivity and access to information could threaten someone and
inflict harm — whether physical, psychological, or emotional. The internet can, and has become a space where some individuals feel unsafe.
To understand how and why this happens, we need to dig into the concept of safety. What does it mean to feel safe? How do we better understand and categorize the factors that contribute to the feeling of being safe? This talk will draw upon social science research investigating the construct of safety to answer some of these questions. We will investigate the concept of safety in both physical spaces and digital spaces to formulate a set of factors for how the concept of safety manifests in these spaces.
An example of such a factor could be the establishment of identity. In certain spaces, a level of anonymity could lead to a heightened feeling of protection — if no one here knows who I am, I may potentially feel safer discussing something like my sexual orientation. On the other hand, how are anonymous people held accountable for their voices or their actions? A decreased level of accountability may potentially lead to a greater feeling of danger.
Once we have formed a better idea of what influences the feeling of ‘safeness’ in a space, we will then analyze a couple of social platforms to evaluate how the affordances of these platforms may bolster or counteract these feelings of safety. We will look at how the boundary between the physical space and the digital space may be blurred by some of these affordances, such as Facebook’s Safety Check.
Finally we will use this analysis to establish a set of principles for how to design spaces and environments that feel safer. Through the analysis, we also will touch upon concepts of privacy and identity and how they relate to the sense of safety. Ultimately attendees of the talk will leave with a better idea of what makes a space feel safe and how to design spaces that encourage the
feeling of safety.
About the speaker(s)
Ramya Mahalingam is an Experience Design Consultant.