The creative possibilities in designing for social media conversations

talk – 15 min | Feb 6 – 12:25

How do designers influence how people talk together in social media?

How can we design social media according to an intended conversational culture? Trolling and polarized opinions in social media and commenting fields is still a challenge for online newspapers and social media providers. This presentation will give designers tools to become aware of how they shape peoples’ expectations to a social media space – and in particular: how you can see creative possibilities and influence how people talk together online. It is based on my design-based PhD, where I have studied the designers’ creative possibilities in shaping social media and how people can express themselves. What are the designed social media “ingredients” you as a designer can challenge to shape culture? Can the designer influence what people say in social media through reward systems, conversational architecture, typography, invitation model, and choice of input options? What is the designer’s role in shaping these conversational spaces; how does the designers background, experiences and inspirational sources affect their ways of designing for conversations and expressions? And lastly; how can social media designs be inspired by dignified roman cathedrals that encourages quietness and reflection, or relaxed cafés with bean bags for chairs, that encourages a relaxed and informal space?

About the speaker

Nina Lysbakken

Nina Lysbakken


I am a Norwegian designer and PhD-fellow in interaction design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. My PhD is about how design can influence conversations and culture in social media, with particular focus on participation in society, democracy, online newspapers and commenting fields – or “conversational spaces” as I describe them. My background is from visual communications, and I have a Master degree from Bergen National Academy of the Arts. The topics for my master project also define me as a designer; school, learning and motivation – a project that was designed as a social media concept for kids, a visual learning profile that connected hobbies and life to kids’ learning processes. The project won prestigious awards in Norway; the Norwegian Design Council DogA’s Young Talents 2011 and silver in the Grafill Visuelt-award 2011. My experience ranges from consultancy and running my own business, in addition to being representative at the board of IxDA Oslo in 2012–2013, and a PhD-representative at the research committee at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

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