Co-designing a chatbot for and with refugees and migrants

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Collaborative and Industrial Design
An information portal,, is developed to support the integration of refugees and migrants into society in Germany. However, the information-seeking process is exhausting, cumbersome, and even confusing if refugees and migrants are not proficient at using web services. In light of this, a chatbot-based conversational service is considered as an alternative to enhance the information-seeking experience. For the purpose of designing products and services for refugees and migrants, a great deal of research proposes employing co-design methods as an effective means. The overall aim of this thesis is to explore, understand, and define possibilities of improving refugees and migrants’ experiences of social integration by proposing an engaging and efficient chatbot solution. Furthermore, this thesis aims to explore the necessity of co-design approach as a critical methodology to develop solutions. Therefore, the main research question in this thesis is how can a co-design approach contribute to designing a chatbot supporting social integration within the context of refugees and migrants. User experience, problems, and needs are unveiled in depth by listening to migrants and refugees’ problems, behaviors, and expectations (i.e., document studies, questionnaires, cultural probes, and expert interviews), and observing how migrants interact with the chatbot (i.e., participant observations and empathy probes). The research findings are then transformed into design questions. The designer, developers, and migrants jointly generate concepts leveraging generative toolkits in co-design workshops. By using surveys, the Method for the Assessment of eXperience (MAX), and property checklists, the resulting concepts are later validated with refugees and migrants. As research through design, this thesis draws three conclusions. Firstly, the co-design approach benefits defining problems in the complex context of refugees and migrants by supporting them in expressing ideas and thoughts. The defined problems can then be converted into design questions that promote the proceeding of the design process. Secondly, the co-design approach helps to develop mature concepts, which lays a foundation for the final design. Thirdly, the utilization of co-design tools plays an essential role in validating and refining the solution efficiently, as they make ideas concrete and visible so that refugees and migrants can easily reflect on them throughout the whole design process.
Lucero, Andrés
Thesis advisor
Nieminen, Mika
Lu, Yichen
co-design, chatbot, conversation design, co-design tools, co-design approach, refugees and migrants
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