To humanise the GCHR stories for audiences unaware of the specific political contexts and nuances the human rights defenders across the Gulf region are facing, the team chose to make the story relatable by asking the user a stark question on the entry screen to the platform.
Website users were then matched with the profile of someone the same age as themselves, or shown someone who could be their child, sibling, or parent based on an algorithm that determined age difference. A biography and a detailed timeline for each of the human rights defenders is presented in the style of a social media feed, with each event colour coded according to its category.
The team developed a concept filtering system that also has a data visualisation component. Prior to filtering a user can see how many human rights defenders there are per country, profession, and and what type of violations they have endured. Once a user picks a filter, the rest of the filters update automatically to match the user’s choice. Simultaneously the image grid updates to only show human rights defenders that match the query, allowing users to access profiles for further exploration.
Overcoming data challenges
GCHR arrived at the workshop with a wealth of information, but no structured data that could be worked with immediately by the developers. The mentors who worked with this group spent time with the GCHR representatives to come up with a coding schema and structure for their data that could form the basis of a custom database in the future, and then the researchers and HRO representatives populated this with sample data so the creative team could begin building the prototype. With this solid foundation in place, they were able to move very quickly during the final two days of the workshop, using the Bootstrap framework and a rapid prototyping approach, to produce the visual proof of concept and prototype.