An ethnography process to discover design opportunities at residences for socially vulnerable young people.

User research / Probes / Ethnography / Workshop 


Welfare technology has been familiar for most of the departments in the municipality of Copenhagen for many years now - e.g. the elderly or people with disabilities, however the department ‘Children and Youth Administration’ has not had much focus regarding digitalisation and welfare technology. 

It was the ‘Socialforvaltningens’ Children and Youth administration’s vision to make a plan of digital actions for the future based on a user study, and it was our job to do the user study and give them some insights for their plan. 

We focused on Hybelinstitutionen, which is an institution that includes different residences for socially vulnerable young people - in our case, we worked in close collaboration with Bifrost (Nordvest, Copenhagen) and Granbo (Brønshøj, Copenhagen). At these two residences, young people in the age of 15-23 years old are living in order to get support in their everyday life and get help to be more independent.


Since our user group with the young residents was a difficult group of people to set up meetings with, we needed to approach them in a different way. Thereforw, we got insights from them through probes placed in the two residences. These probes included a mailbox and a personal book to write, draw or take pictures to us. 

Based on the insights from the young residents, we facilitated two workshops with the employees working at the residences. We verified our insights, brainstormed ideas and tested ideas through low-fi prototypes.  

Finally, we presented our findings to ‘Socialforvaltningen’ and people from ‘Hybelinstitutionen’. We highlighted innovation opportunities as systems that can establish relation and communication between the residents and the employees. Besides this, we enhanced the need for a digital system that can be accessed through the residents’ smartphones.

// Master thesis 2019