VOICES OF ALLIES
Voices of Allies was designed as a submission for the Just Design 2020 designathon. It is a multilingual mobile web and app platform providing social media sharable content on social justice to find common ground through communication. It serves as a well-organized library of visually compelling digital flyers meant to easily find social justice topics in a preferred language.
The ultimate purpose of Voices of Allies is to be a tool for diasporic families to bridge their language and cultural differences and find a place of understanding and inspiration for good. This is not a distraction platform, this is an engagement platform to start real-life and necessary conversations on direct messages, dinner tables, group pages, family visits, and more.
2020 has been a year of difficult conversations. We've been encouraged to have these dialogues with the real and online world, our community, and ourselves. One area of tension that is close to home for immigrants, such as myself, is the gap in understanding between immigrants parents and their Western children, both linguistically and culturally.
I developed this idea knowing it was hard to convince older family members to use new apps or websites to inform themselves instead of receiving information from social media platforms that already contained most of their community. I decided a different approach would be to provide digital flyers to be distributed onto other popular social media channels directly from person to person.
The problem with the distribution of digital flyers is there is currently no centralized resource to search for them. If you don't know the right hashtag or the right Instagram account, you may not find the right graphic for a specific topic in your desired language.
My solution is Voices of Allies, a community-produced platform to serve as an organized resource for social justice sharable content in multiple languages.
I surveyed individuals with non-Western families and found that WhatsApp and Facebook were the most popular platforms among their relatives, with Instagram and WeChat following.
The most cross-platform compatible format would be 1 x 1 graphics with minimal, legible, and high-contrast design.
Voices of Allies provides these downloadable graphics so users can post and share to various platforms while maintaining its striking and aesthetic presentation.
Designing with a mobile-foward intention allows for fast and fluid sharing, since most social platforms users are mobile.
A problem with Voices of Allies was designing how it would be sustained, expanded, and translated in as many languages as possible.
My solution: mobilize humans.
Voices of Allies is produced by a grassroots community of designers, translators, and moderators. The platform features ways to submit designs and translations for provided flyers. The core moderators of Voices of Allies would be the ones writing and fact-checking the information to make sure all flyers are factual, clear, and correctly communicated.
The current landscape of social justice information is decentralized and gathered by researchers, visually formatted by designers, shared by activists or meme pages, and distributed by users. On Voices of Allies, activists with various abilities are united to collaborate on one centralized platform.
Access is key to understanding.
The design guidelines of the graphics maintains legibility and clarity to make reading accessible for all users, especially mobile users visual impairments. Visual accessibility is of key importance, as social justice flyers have historically been designed to be mass-distributable and widely influential.
Growing the catalogue of languages and dialects allows for a diverse pool of information to be accessed internationally for a wiser global community.
Though Voices of Allies provides visual content, there is opportunity to provide downloadable audio translations for users that prefer receiving information by listening.
Connection and empathy flourishes when information is made accessible for as many people as possible.
Voices of Allies is personally inspired by my own linguistic obstacles with my Vietnamese family members.
Although I do not have the fluency to communicate complex racial theory and systemic inequalities in Vietnamese, these important conversations are still necessary to share, and possible to aid through design and community.
I believe the racial melancholia of immigrant children, exacerbated by their personal disconnect with their own families, can be healed through design.
The text used in the graphics is from Letters For Black Lives.
If you would like a real of library of social justice information in multiple languages, please check them out.