Ramkumar Shankar

design  /  research


Research and design concept to support community activism

Role Designer
Delivery Independent — research / Team — concept, prototyping and evaluation
Period September 2015 — November 2015

“Does campaigning work? (...). I’m increasingly convinced that either we’ve been using the wrong methods in our campaigns, or we’re missing something altogether.”

— Deborah Doane, former director of the World Development Movement

Background Research & Site Observation

Activism is a campaign for social change. The causes driving activism can vary significantly in scope and scale, as the methods to effect change. I specifically focused on participation and how technology can encourage people to move to a higher level of engagement with causes they care about. Focusing specifically on how to engage adults between the ages of 18-35, I set out to understand the needs and challenges of activists, organisations and the broader public.

“How can we encourage non-activists and provide them the tools to create social change?”

Emerging Themes & Opportunities


Users want participation to be convenient, giving them the ability to vary their commitments based on their schedules. We need to broaden avenues for participation.

Privacy and Safety

People were concerned with privacy and would be open to participate in other ways.

Higher level of involvement

People are looking for ways to move them to a higher level of involvement, but at the same time allow them to balance this with other commitments.

Opportunities to engage with stakeholders

People wish to work within the systems available to effect change. They are very keen to engage with stakeholders and other parties in their causes.


We started with low fidelity prototypes and bodystorming to get a sense of whether the concept would work well as if a user is out and about. The wireframes were refined over multiple rounds of testing.

High Fidelity Prototype

Data from multiple rounds of evaluation were used to direct and inform the final high fidelity prototype.

Branding & Logo

Jaago (verb, Hindi) - English: Wake Up

The typeface is set in Proxima Nova, which combines a humanist and geometric appearance. It shows that the concept is about empowering people, by offering them the tools to create meaningful social change.

The logo is derived from the iconic ‘raised fist’, traditionally used as a symbol of solidarity & support. We reduced the image to its essential form. The final logo is a stylized upright triangle represents progress and movement towards a better tomorrow.

Rather than asking how democratic institutions can better reach out to and integrate citizens, Jaago empowers young citizens to influence and strengthen democratic institutions.