Piercing the Veil: Designs to Support Information Literacy on Social Platforms

by   Jan Wolff, et al.

In this position paper we approach problems concerning critical digital and information literacy with ideas to provide more digestible explanations of abstract concepts through interface design. In particular, we focus on social media platforms where we see the possibility of counteracting the spread of misinformation by providing users with more proficiency through our approaches. We argue that the omnipresent trend to abstract away and hide information from users via UI/UX design opposes their ability to self-learn. This leads us to propose a different framework in which we unify elegant and simple interfaces with nudges that promote a look behind the curtain. Such designs serve to foster a deeper understanding of employed technologies and aim to increase the critical assessment of content encountered on social platforms. Furthermore, we consider users with an intermediary skill level to be largely ignored in current approaches, as they are given no tools to broaden their knowledge without consultation of expert material. The resulting stagnation is exemplified by the tactics of misinformation campaigns, which exploit the ensuing lack of information literacy and critical thinking. We propose an approach to design that sufficiently emancipates users in both aspects by promoting a look behind the abstraction of UI/UX so that an autonomous learning process is given the chance to occur. Furthermore, we name ideas for future research within this area that take our considerations into account.



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