Project Unlabel

Graduationproject / bachelor thesis Unlabel
Don’t label the disabled!

Purpose : WHY?
My graduation project started about one year ago with the question: which topic do I want to investigate? Well, after some brainstorming and inspiration from bachelor thesis’s from past years I knew it. I wanted to investigate loneliness amongst young disabled people.  Why? During my search for a suitable topic I found out that loneliness amongst elderly is getting a lot of attention. But I thought ‘what about the others?’ What about other people who are suffering from loneliness? Research showed that next to the elderly also young people are suffering from loneliness. A problem in a big group which is often forgotten. The starting point of my thesis!

Lonely & Disabled
In the beginning of december 2016 I held some sessions with the company to define the borders of my investigation. My supervisor, Frederike Manders, advised me to make it smaller because loneliness has a lot of different perspectives. She is the founder of Interupsy, which I wrote a blog on. It is a virtual reality experience which lets people experience what it is like to have epilepsy. She told me that when you have a disease you can also be lonely because people don’t understand it or you are forced to live at home. This inspired me so much and reminded me of the video ‘Welkom in dit wereldje’ from Jeff Horsten, where he sings about the seperation between the hearing and the deaf world. From that point on I decided to specify the research to young disabled people.

Design Research
The reseach was based on the design research principle and took place from December 2016 till May 2017. Design research is about doing research and using the results as a input for the design process.

  • DOTS analysis: target group needs and pains, company strengths and weaknesses, trends around inclusion and sector developments health and appearance.
  • Developed a new trendmodel and segmentation model.
  • Hackathon Challenge: Free Hilde from being and feeling lonely
    Two groups worked under my supervision on my challenge.
  • Brainstormsession with an international team of professions.
  • Developed a demo app with an intern application designer and an intern userexperience designer.
  • Graduation Show from International Lifestyle Studies

Outcome: Concept unlabel
I developed the concept Unlabel for HyperSpace Collective. Unlabel is about the assumption that we as a society label people too quickly and this is something that disabled people don’t like and suffer from. Unlabel wants to stimulate society and the disabled young people to look more to the ablilities of these people and not the label ‘disable’.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-02 at 15.43.10

How does it work?
Concept Unlabel sees inclusion as something that has to be strenghten from two sides. Both the society as well as the person has to be strong in order to have a succesfull inclusion. Unlabel does this through encouraging both the society as well as the disabled person to look at the abilities and not the disabilites. But how exactly? Through the augmented reality app Faces & Places! The app protoype is already designed!

APP IDEA: Beat the shadow
Faces & Places is about beating the shadow. The shadow stands for the disability. Wherever people with a disability go, it is always there, you can hide it, you can beat it and you can be friends with it. It is like a shadow always following you, it is always there. The app spreads all over the city different shadows which you can find through following specific routes in special zones.


There are three special shadow zones: Bravery, Access and Being Unique. Every zone trains different things through different routes and levels. Relevant topics like dealing with lonelines, bullying, or access with a wheelchair are discussed during the game. The boys and girls who are playing the game are following the story of the shadow and getting points when they interact well with the shadow. This doesn’t necessarily mean to beat the shadow, sometimes it is needed to be friends with it (to accept the disability). They can share their experiences online to get new routes and challenges.

It is a new kind of eHealth. It blurs the therapist room into the real world by taking the cognitive therapy training outside in the field. Real life situations with a training to make people feel more self-confident, less lonely and more independent. In this way, these young people are learing coping techniques without knowing they are.

Foto tentoonstelling!
Faces & Places now at Counting Digital Sheep Exposition Picture: Christina Bakuchava

More information
Are you interested in more information? Just want to talk or do you want to work together with me to complete this project? Feel free to contact me. Next to this, you can also ask me to give a presentation about the project, motivational speech or to get in touch with one of the disabled young people. Young disabled people who prove that we must stop labeling disabled people.

Are you ready to unlabel? Let me know!