Purpose-driven design: user experience design driven to social change

During the unprecedented time in this pandemic, as the session within course, moving all the learning virtually, but the world changed frequently beyond our previous normal life, especially worsen the situation with the social issues during the lockdown. With this interactive data visualisation project we had arranged, I had chosen the inequality as the topic within the project.

Chao-Ling Chyou
4 min readFeb 13, 2021


Browsing all the topics with “inequality” itself, there are several issues, especially during the lockdown, it seems that the people who had experienced more specific issues, such as violence, obesity, immigration(shelter-related).

Choosing specific topic with the domestic one, actually it is the reason that I had witnessed situation previously in the public while post-lockdown period in London, I can see the women who is terrified and can’t look straightforward with her husband’s eye sight while experiencing the abuse.

Based on BBC’s report, domestic abuse and violence cases surge during the lockdown in the whole UK. It seems that it is crucial to let audiences(who had experienced domestic abuse) get the direct assistance particularly.

What is purpose-driven design?

Assuming that we are addressing the issue with people who had experienced the harassment now, firstly, arranging the purpose you would like to have now, such as help them get assistance or emotion support(people who is prefer reaching out and face the issue privately). Secondly, it would be more likely to see which way is more impactful to reach out the goal.

Thumbnail: how purpose driven to design

Why we need to purpose driven to design?

As the design itself not just only for the arts, and surfaces as it would be look “nice” or “beautiful”, it depends on “why”, all the design must be driven to their purposes, for instance, communicating or solve problems and even the campaign strategies. But all are pointed out as the purpose itself.

On the other hand, if you need to purpose driven to design, it would settle down the topic, stakeholders and audiences you would like to expose.

If we don’t do the design driven to the purpose, how it would be look like? In my opinions, if we only focus on the “surface”, we may lose the opportunities with on the purpose, it will be without impactful masterpiece or the chances to think out of box.

Case Study: How purpose design driven to help the people who struggled experiencing domestic abuse?

1. Settle down the purpose

Settling down the purpose as helping those people who had experienced domestic abuse, aged between 16–60, mostly are adults and some of are teenagers.

Where/ When and What is the most impactful way to reach out the audiences/users?

2. Create Campaign details

Period: Normal + Lockdown
Scenarios: London Tube/Bus(Transportation)+ Newspaper(Dispatching along with tube station and bus stop)+Supermarket(buying food more frequently during lockdown )+ Clinic especially Boots or other pharmacy(if people who had any chronic disease or prescription if necessary)+ Post office(daily administration and trade delivery)

3. Solutions I design

  1. Design a poster with Hotline topic(copywriter) showcased in the public space I had mentioned in the previous paragraph
  2. Create a brochure dispatching with newspaper
  3. Build up the web design(audiences who prefer addressing issue privately during lockdown or normal time) (Unfinished*)

4. Contents with Design

  • What is the domestic abuse → user can recognise the behaviours on whether it is domestic abuse, case study based on Refuge(NGO who mainly deal with domestic abuse in the UK)
  • Situation before lockdown → user/audiences have basic fundamentals on the issue
  • How it worsen during lockdown → user have basic fundamentals on the issue
  • Victim Story → “you are not the only one” and how they escape their abuser
  • Hotline number → user can quickly get help

5. How to implement

Based on those contents, arranging those contents through different platforms, such as brochure, poster and website design.

Pics with poster escape a lockdown abuser
Brochure I had designed with experimental paper materials and layout

Design idea originated from the floor plan that interior designer had created each details before designing the client’s dream home, same as the concept with all the domestic abuse occurred in each space at home.

With poster, the user can scan the QR code go through more information to reach out the content, at the bottom of the poster, seeking for help directly.

With the brochure design, as I arranged user experience design with costumed size on the brochure with the last page, while they browsed each page on the design, they can seek help any time. Attached with the materials with paper of brochure, picking up material that preventing water invading into brochure(glossy paper is anti-water material as the cover page and end page), and others are picking up with Japan B7, which aiming to be more light in the book itself and clear while printing different colours.

So, with user experience design on itself, the user can go through the cover page, letting them more curious and willing to seek help individually while scrolling information.



Chao-Ling Chyou

UX Designer/researcher. Now Product/Project manager. Based in London/Taipei.