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Zuzu. Just in Case – Developing Civic Engagement among Young Adults in Israel 2023


Adi Simon

Design Management and Innovation track

Mentor — 

Hadas Zemer Ben-Ari & Roee Bigger

App's demo screens: personal journey reflection

Zuzu - Application. Image: Adi Simon & Nurit Young

This study started out in examining the social impact of digital culture. We have identified a relationship between international socio political trends and social media behaviors. While formulating the research question, life itself intervened, when in January 2023, Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv Levin announced his “legal reform”. As mothers of young adults, we could not ignore the political storm, and wanted to examine the effects of that same digital culture on their political engagement. 

Our premise was that a strong democracy is characterized by high civic engagement. However, during the study we realized that there was a gap between the engagement of young adults in past protests and their limited participation in the current protest. We focused on 20-25-year-olds, referred to as “digital natives”, and the effects of the digital culture and social media on them. We wanted to examine the thoughts of members of this age group, which historically played the most energetic and effective roles in protests: how do they perceive their civic position, their impact, and what would make or prevent them from being engaged. We found that the situation was complex: members of this generation do have strong views, but for various reasons, their engagement in the protest is limited. 

The barriers and facilitators found in the study led to a model for increasing young adult’s civic engagement. Based on this model, we developed Zuzu (“Let’s Go”), a digital platform to encourage youngsters to take part in strengthening Israeli democracy. Based on interviews with youngsters, experts and stakeholders, the model is based on four content worlds: informational mediation, social envelope, emotional support, and emphasizing the individual’s role in the bigger story, while connecting the digital and physical. 

In designing the platform, we were guided by five principles:

  • Bottom-up: A system based on the characteristics of the target audience that encounters it in its own space based on its dynamic needs.
  • Graduality: Slow exposure of the app’s capabilities based on the user’s engagement. 
  • Tailoring: Adjusting contents and usage to the users, as an enabling and safe space. 
  • Framework for varying contents: A platform that organizes, mediates and integrates contents and tools adjusted for the target audience. 
  • Coolness: Product design using a language and tools suitable for the target audience’s way of speaking, acting and perceiving itself. 

In videoclips in the app, we present the stories of Bar, Mickey and Ella, and the way the app strengthens them in situations of inefficacy, disinterestedness, or emotional overload.

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Adi Simon

A user experience designer with over twenty years of experience in designing complex systems spanning multiple domains such as medical, information security, automation, and network management.

Currently serves as the Head of Product Design at MDI Health, a startup that develops a management system for clinical pharmacists treating polypharmacy patients.

M.Des graduate, Bezalel, Industrial Design Department, Design & Innovation Track.

Holds a B.Des degree from Bezalel, Department of Visual Communication.

Adi is married with three children and a cat, and resides in Tel Aviv.

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