The Sexualisation Dialogue

Goal of the project:

Educate and Empower teenagers to safely and consciously interact with sexualised content on social media

Design steps & activities


Focus of the project

    Understanding of the context: teenagers, social media and sexualisation
    Analysis and understanding of the needs of the target audience (teenagers) in order to ensure a safe and conscious interaction with sexualisation on social media
    Development of a concept that answers to the design goal: educate and empower teenagers when interacting with social media sexualisation

Design Process

Here I present the project’s stages, while highlighting the lessons learned in relation to each step.


The first step of the project consisted of understanding the domain. I talked to many stakeholders and did literature research to validate assumptions and get a comprehensive understanding of what the context was like, and what the problems, challenges and opportunities were.

"This project aims to improve the interaction between teenagers and sexualised content on social media to avoid any negative and unconscious influences on their wellbeing, attitudes, and behaviours."

  • Domain definition

    ● Talk to stakeholders of the context and do extensive literature research to fully understand the domain of the project● Leave assumptions aside and let the findings guide your design process

  • Problem definition

    ● Clearly define your initial problem statement, to guide the first steps. Describing goals, scope and approach are key to stay focused


After having a clear picture of the domain, and an initial problem definition, I turned to the target audience (teenagers aged 12-16) to learn from them first hand. So, using the context mapping method, I sensitised 11 participants and collected information from them about the topic of the project: their interaction with sexualisation on social media. Sensitizing is a process where participants are triggered, encouraged, and motivated to think, reflect, wonder, and explore aspects of their context in their own time and environment.

Sensitising booklet

  • Contextmapping

    ● Adapt to the context (and its constraints): I made an online sensitising booklet using Google Presentations, allowing remote participation and tracking● Have a clear plan of the study, its participants and goals

  • Design Brief definition

    ● The design brief is a living document, and it should adapt to the findings along the design process● Narrowing down the scope when dealing with complex contexts can allow for a clearer goal setting and more effective and impactful outcomes


After defining the design brief, I designed and facilitated four co-creation sessions with teenagers to gather some initial ideas to jump-start the ideation of concepts. Thereafter, I came up with multiple ideas that proposed solutions to various stages of the process (interacting with sexualisation on social media).

Co-creation sessions

Ideation process


The visual above shows the timeline of the design scope: the interaction with social media sexualisation. The icons represent the interaction qualities, placed in the timeline, which were used to come up with 5 concepts (marked by the boxes and numbers)

  • Co-creation sessions

    ● Having input from the target audience is always very insightful, as long as there is a clear goal and plan on how to interpret the data● Collaborating remotely (Miro and Zoom) can be difficult, and even more with teenagers. Plan ahead!

  • Interaction qualities

    ● Defining interaction qualities helps guide the ideation process● When designing for a complex context, having a tangible set of qualities to discuss with the target audience helps obtain practical input

  • Ideation

    ● Use post-its to note down all the findings and let the process guide you and take shape to uncover main takeaways ● Seeing the design scope as a timeline helped to really understand the process and the most fundamental stages. This allowed to design concepts that covered the entire timeline, focusing on the most impactful/necessary aspects

  • performance-checklist-evaluate-estimate-advantage

    Exploratory evaluations

    ● Involving experts and relevant stakeholders throughout the process helps obtain comprehensive input. 7 stakeholders were consulted (parents, teachers and experts from the field). ● The evaluations aimed at getting insights on which concepts were more fundamental, impactful and realisable. 




Having designed five concepts, and after evaluating them with the stakeholders, I used all the insights to propose a preliminary design. I tested this design with my target audience: teenage girls aged 12-14. Based on the outcome of the test, I came to a final design.


The preliminary design proposal consists of a 2 year program for secondary schools, where teens learn about sexualisation and social media in weekly, or monthly, sessions. This program also introduces two tools. The first one, The Awareness Sticker, aims to prompt a reflection at the time of posting content. The second, the Power-App, is a content editing app aiming to give the control teens and empower them by using hashtags and stickers on their photos.

Revised Design Goal

"The design goal is to improve the interaction between 12- to 16-year-old girls and sexualised content on social media by generating awareness and empowering them to avoid negative influences that affect them on a personal level."

Test setup

  • Design goal

    ● The design goal should adapt and reflect the findings of the design process● The core goal remained the same throughout, but the experiential and emotional aspects changed

  • Preliminary design

    ● It's key to consider all aspects of the design goal and intended interaction when defining the preliminary design ● When working on a broad design and context, it might be good to first work out the areas of the design that will be tested. Plan what should be tested and why, and define those fully to allow for a successful testing.

  • Field test

    ● I remotely tested the design with 12 teenagers in the actual contest: a classroom. I tested two of the sessions, the sticker and the app.● The test showed the potential of the proposed solutions, and the need to further develop certain aspects. 


Would you like to work with me on developing this project further?

I am looking for collaborators to bring this project to a further stage, continue the research and evaluate the concepts with teenagers, with the hope to implement it in schools and have a real impact on teens and the way the interact with sexualisation on social media