William Cowper

Dissertation Project:

'Designed to Doomscroll: Examining the past and present of social media and envisioning a future evolution'
Social media is addictive; it has been the product of conscious design decisions that take the form of design patterns that have made it this way. The initial research in the form of a literature review will touch upon the idea of ‘blame’ - which relates to an overarching question of ‘who is to blame for enabling these addictive design patterns to emerge in social media?’

The artefact aims to showcase how businesses could make addictive design patterns more so. The artefact runs on the basis that the business could be seen as the primary cause of addiction, as a presentation of new features.

The artefact [a presentation of new features to an existing social media site, pitched in the near future so operates a speculative design approach] incorporates existing hardware and software technologies, to add a sense of realism.

Three names encompassing the new technologies.
Dynamic rewards hero image.
Engagement Challenges for users.
Notifications specific to getting more rewards.
Spending points earnt from engagement.
Community League hero image.
Leaderboard screen explained.
Wireframe of sending a message to your friend to get them to reengage with the app (to avoid losing vital app functionality).
Hardware Insights hero image.
Explanation of the existing hardware used to allow these features to happen.
Eye tracker to better target ads.
Ads will now pause when the user is looking away or doing something else.
Purposefully bad mental health bonus feature (mocking the current perception of how social media companies neglect this at present.
The app pauses and locks the user from using the app, they must look away for a certain amount of time or spend some points they have accumulated.
Almost comical idea to impose a wellbeing time limit on the usage of the app, but its locked at 19 hours.
QR Code to full presentation video (not all slides were used here, and is better explained).



William Cowper, BA Design (Placement year)

User-focused design student with a keen passion for exploring heuristics in design systems and creating widely accessible design patterns through User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design.
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LinkedIn & Portfolio: William Cowper
Email: wcowper02@gmail.com