Whatfutures: Designing large-scale engagements on Whatsapp

Daniel Lambton-Howard, Robert Anderson, Kyle Montague, Andrew Garbett, Shaun Hazeldine, Carlos Alvarez, John A. Sweeney, Patrick Olivier, Ahmed Kharrufa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


WhatsApp, as the world’s most popular messaging application, offers significant opportunities for improving the reach and effectiveness of engagement projects. In collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) we designed WhatFutures, a collaborative future forecasting engagement for global youth using WhatsApp. WhatFutures was successfully deployed with 487 players across 5 countries (Kenya, Bulgaria, Finland, Australia and Hong Kong) to inform strategic change within the IFRC. Based on our analysis of the activity - including 16,100 messages, 95 multimedia artifacts, and a post-engagement survey - we present a reflection upon the design decisions underpinning WhatFutures and identify how decisions made around group structures, processes and externalization of outputs influenced engagement and data quality. We conclude with the wider implications of our findings for the design of engagements that best utilize the affordances of existing messaging applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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