Connect by Asking People to Take Sides

One of the bonuses of working in a firm alongside an eclectic group of creative designers and user experience architects is you are exposed to a large volume of diverse and compelling visual concepts.

The parts that don't make the client's site or presentation are as ingenious to me, even when the best (as in most appropriate) one wins.

Visuals make for powerful artifacts to engage in a conversation, even if only with yourself. We are visual creatures, our sight takes up most of our oxygen consumption on a daily basis. Unless we're asleep, we're turned on.

The eyes are a window to our soul, say the poets. Which is why the scene where the probes go scan Tom Cruise character's eyes in Minority Report gave me the creeps.

I came across two examples of using visuals to go beyond communicating concepts, to action.

View your side

Then take it. The first example, [hat tip Doc Searls], is by The Guardian. The British media company launched its first U.S advertising campaign called “Voice Your View”. You can see it here. It combines Guardian's editorial voice with open journalism.

As you can see, it's a series of ads showing two sides of an issue by using simple visual representation created by artist Noma Bar. The content changes based upon your view. The Guardian gets the point across — we provide differing viewpoints.

The NYT reports#,

The ads are meant to evoke a response from people who choose to take a side on the issues.

“For us it’s about telling the story through the editorial lens,” Jennifer Lindenauer, director of marketing and communications at Guardian US, said in an interview at the publication’s New York office.

It doesn't stop there, though. According to the NYT, if you wish to increase the amount of coverage on one of those issues, you can take a photo of the ad and tweet it (or use Instagram) to hashtag #VoiceYourView.

It's worth testing. Asking people to take sides may prompt taking another look at the publication. My take is focus on the product first, then call attention to it.

Design for use

This second example [via Springwise] is a transparent bag made available to individuals in the Netherlands. They can place unwanted goods in the see through bag, and passersby may decide if they could make use of the discarded items.


Even done so anonymously, it is such a connective act, both to place the items in the bag, and find items you can use.

In Italy we recycle everything, including
swapping articles of clothing, furniture, bicycles, and so on. It's part
of the culture around where I grew up, an outcome of tight incomes/high cost of living, small
spaces/being okay with sharing them.


We connect based upon our focus/attention on the issues, not necessarily because we're on the same side. In fact, most of my longer-lasting connections started with a strong disagreement.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *