Hannah Jiang

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Final Project – Design Brief

Problem Statement

People from different cultural backgrounds have different ways to express themselves, in the meantime, message receivers interpret them according to expectations based on their experience which is also different from one another, so miscommunication often occurs in intercultural scenarios.

Context Analysis

There are no products designed for this problem yet, but there are positions such as cross-culture experts, communication consultants whose job is to help cross-culture businessmen to connect and interact more effectively with each other.

However, intercultural miscommunication happens everywhere, not only in professional relationships, but also in intimate relationships, and not every group can afford a communication consultant when miscommunication occurs nor do they want a third party to get involved in the problem. What’s more, sometimes people don’t even realize there is miscommunication, they just feel offended, irritated, or confused.


The target audience is the ones who have experienced miscommunication in intercultural scenarios and curious about the reasons.

Proposed Solution

After doing a lot of research on communication and linguistics, I realize that Intercultural miscommunication is not a problem that can be easily addressed by a product, and the best solution is from people’s heart, be aware, be curious, be patient and learn. As a designer, I’m going to achieve this goal through art.

Firstly, I want the audience to be aware of the difference. I’m going to put one message outside of an installation and another one inside, which audience can reach by interacting with the installation, the outer message represents the superficial meaning of the communication, the inner on the contrary, represents what the message sender really means in the heart.

Secondly, I want the audience to think about how they can get the inner message. To achieve this goal, I plan to use distance and thermal sensors, so only when the audience gets closer and use their hands to warm the installation, the inner message will show up. The distance and temperature are metaphors of the relationship between people.

Lastly, I want to show culture difference to the audience. As we know, some cultures are more explicit and some are more implicit. I’m going to make several message containers and set different values for them to show the inner messages. For example, one container will show the hidden message when the audience is within 1 meter away, while the other container won’t show the message until the audience is within 0.1 meters away.

Ideas Sketch


  • Visually appealing – it will live in an indoor public place.
  • Interactive – to help the audience discover themselves, to leave a stronger impression on the audience.
  • Contradictory – it will have at least 2 different contradictory statuses to project the miscommunication scenarios.
  • Inspiring – the goal is to make the audience think about the contradiction and reflect on their own experience.
  • For materials, the board needs to be firm to hold all the followers and wires behind the board, the followers material needs to be thin and soft, easy to cut and distort.