Design for Global Challenges Communicating Emergencies for Behavioral Change through Disruptive Technologies

Ami Licaj (1), Eleonora D’Ascenzi (2)
(1) Research Fellow, Design for Sustainability Lab, University of Architecture of Florence, Italy, Italy,
(2) PhD Candidate, Design for Sustainability Lab, University of Architecture of Florence, Italy, Italy


The current emergencies such as climate change and sustainable development, are outlining the responsibility we have as researchers and designers to transform disruptive technologies into action/reaction tools able to address and overcome the nowadays challenges.

From this perspective, as designers, we indeed believe that the key to change lies in human behavior, and thus precisely in this direction design can impact using disruptive technologies in raising awareness by resulting into behavioral change.

Specifically, this paper aims to encompass how advanced technologies such as Data Visualization and Immersive Realities can cooperate in order to activate proactive behaviors in contemporary society through a careful analysis of opportunities and limitations.

On the one hand, Data Visualization has always been used as a tool for analyzing and communicating emergencies (Snow, Nightingale, etc.), on the other hand, immersive realities are more recently beginning to explore this field.

It is indeed at the meeting point between technology and Human Interface that the biggest gaps emerge, sometimes making the deployment of these technologies fail, due to sensory, sociological, psychological, and cognitive limitations.

Have we ever wondered, for example, whether the rules of Gestalt and Bertin's theories, belonging to the first half of the 1900s, are sufficient today in making effective Data Visualization?

Are we relying too much on the "astonishing" effect of immersive realities, paying more attention to their use rather than to the conveyance of the content?

This paper attempts to critically analyze – in a multidisciplinary way and through a historical analysis, case studies, and personal experimentation – the use of disruptive technologies, such as XR and Data Visualization, trying to clarify their limits, potentialities, and plausible common application fields.

The objective of the study is in fact related to the determination of possible theoretical and practical approaches for the development of validation tests regarding the use of disruptive technologies and their relationship with the Human Interface.

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Ami Licaj
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Eleonora D’Ascenzi
Licaj, A., & D’Ascenzi, E. (2023). Design for Global Challenges: Communicating Emergencies for Behavioral Change through Disruptive Technologies. Resourceedings, 3(3), 01–09.

Article Details

Received 2023-09-12
Accepted 2023-10-17
Published 2023-12-31