Interactives to help around loneliness

"Go celebrate, toast, eat or talk together with friends.” It might be obvious, but not for everyone. Not everybody has friends or the right one to come to their social needs. That’s why someone can be touched by this sentence. Often, we don’t dare to share these feelings of loneliness with each other, because it's a sensitive subject. That making it seems that we are the only one, but actually as much as one-third of young people feel regularly lonely. How can we develop tools for students on the field of learning skills to get more to the need of social interactions and making feelings of loneliness less?


Design research
Interaction design


September 2018 - Maart 2019


Humanitas & Hanze Hogeschool


Ya Present! from BNO at the Dutch Design Week 2019


Need of young people

By gaining more insight into how loneliness plays out among young people, I started interviewing and holding surveys among several young people about their experiences and feelings about loneliness. In this way, I have come to different perspectives.

That young people namely more in need of:

  1. Meeting with friends
  2. Mutual initiative
  3. Meaningful and deeper conversations
  4. Loneliness being more discussable
And that it holds back by:
  1. Negative thoughts and reflections
  2. Knowing how to start a conversation and having lack of social skills
  3. Knowing how to make and maintain friendships and having small social network



Icebreaker table for conversations

To help around social contact I created an interactive conversation table that works as an icebreaker, conversation starter, and pop-up place. After many different application designs and testing, I started this, because out of talking to people I heard that they would be happy, if there was a place where they could get easier contact with new people. The table helps people to start more easily a conversation and make new contacts.

With the help of questions and activities on the screen after pushing the button. On the table, you can press two buttons controlled by an Arduino and the Max MSP Jitter. By pressing the buttons, you can choose the language and then whether you want a question or an activity. Through the exposition, a lot of new contacts were made and people laughed with each other. Also at a later stage, I created a website of the activities and questions on the table.


When do you feel lonely and what helps you with that?

Also I want to make loneliness more open to discussion through sharing cards and inviting people to share their story around loneliness with each other. The cards consists of stories of other people's experiences around loneliness including myself, with the question “When do you feel lonely and what helps you with that?” With that I want to spread the message that together we can help each other around loneliness, by talking more openly about it and giving advice to each other.


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