Nina Lysbakken The communication design of social interfaces

I study how we may consciously design spaces and digital rooms for conversations – both in terms of what possibilities we give the users to express themselves, but also in terms of how we design the context around these conversations. I argue that design has the power to shape people’s expressions through designing the ways in which people can contribute in social media. Commenting forums in online magazines and newspapers are interfaces consisting of a variety of designed choices – such as graphics, layout, typography, images, colors and animations. Behind these again there are systems that invite people in, moderate comments, reward behavior and recommend specific content. My research is about how we can design these choices in order to guide the readers’ ways of expressing themselves, and how this may shape the culture of the conversation.

I analyze existing concepts of social interfaces (e.g., and visualize ideas for new concepts and possible answers to some of the challenges we see in the social interfaces of online magazines and newspapers today. I study these through a social semiotic lens, where I view the designed elements as codes and semiotic resources that shapes meaning. This meaning depends on the context in which the commenting forum is placed.

The questions I seeks to answer are about how social interfaces can be designed to enhance engagement, and how the expressive possibilities of these interfaces can be enhanced through design. The thesis is article-based, and is part of the delTA-project with SINTEF, Opinion Perduco, NRK P3, Plan Norge and Kongsvinger kommune. The project is about how we can engage young people to take part in the society through social media.

Institute of Design / Henry Nsaidzeka Mainsah (Supervisor)

PhD started in 2014