Japan's Nuclear Water Discharge

Universal & Flat Ontology & Inclusive Design Research

Sep 2023


Allison Ren
Huda Hasan

Project Type

UIUX Research
Inclusive Research
Research Proposal



The challenge

These challenges could disrupt Bajau Group's longstanding traditions and deep-rooted cultural ties to the ocean while also raising global environmental concerns.
The Bajau community encompass the looming threats to their marine-centric lifestyle, health vulnerabilities arising from contaminated resources, economic setbacks, a deficit in consultation and information dissemination, and apprehensions regarding the lasting repercussions of Japan's nuclear water discharge.

The solution

All in one platform
Our solution integrates advanced technology and community engagement on a single platform to address challenges faced by the Bajau community. Unlike traditional approaches, our holistic solution combines technological innovation with community participation, recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental health, cultural preservation, and global awareness.
Back-end Technology
On the backend, scientists can access data from both the ocean and external sources, utilizing technology that emphasizes data reporting. This capability enables real-time information about the ocean, facilitating the monitoring and improvement of water quality.
Humane Ai Pin Environment Warning
On the front-end, developing an app through which users can daily check nuclear levels, promote sustainable fishing practices, and advocate for responsible chemical disposal. We will utilize cutting-edge technology, Human AI Pin, to assist people in comprehending the challenging environmental situation.
VR Experience tour
To enhance public engagement, the app will offer an VR function, allowing users to immerse themselves in the underwater world, experience water quality, and gain insight into the emotions of marine animals.

Design goal

Inclusive Design
Implementing water education programs within communities to raise awareness and increasing awareness through streaming platforms (such as Netflix) could serve as solutions for the global population, including ground animals (the non-human actors) and humans.
Flat Ontology
In embracing a Flat ontology, ANT does not give precedence to specific actors or categories of actors. Instead, it presents a "flat" perspective, acknowledging that all actors, whether human or non-human, hold the potential for equal influence.
Life Centered Design
Recognize the needs of nature and life on our planet by understanding the importance of the survival and well-being of all ecosystems


Our research process adheres to the "Double Diamonds" framework, employing tools like "5 Whys & 5W1H," Venn diagrams, Empathy maps, and User journey maps to gather and connect insights effectively.
1. The integration of the 5-Why and 5W1H methods enables us to conduct comprehensive research, identifying all actors associated with the nuclear water issue.
2. We attempt to categorize these actors into four categories: non-living entities, human beings (organizations, political actors), non-human, non-organic beings (technology), and non-human living beings. The closer the actors are within these categories, the more closely related they are to the issue. Since each category of actors has some degree of controversies and tensions, we utilize a 4-circle Venn diagram to illustrate their interconnections.
3. During the development phase, we employ empathy maps and user journey maps to generate as many solutions as possible. In the delivery phase, we use two Venn diagrams and a "bridge" to connect these solutions in order to create a solution that is applicable to the global population.
4. Connecting the dots, During the development phase, we employ empathy maps and user journey maps to generate as many solutions as possible. In the delivery phase, we use two Venn diagrams and a "bridge" to connect these solutions in order to create a solution that is applicable to the global population.

Ways of prioritizing a solution and actants

We adopt a flat ontology approach, where everything is considered equal as a whole. We list all the solutions we can think of and draw connections between these actors. This part may contain biases, which I will address in the limitations section. We are guided by three principles when prioritizing our choices of actors and solutions.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
We consider Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which comprises five parts: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. We prioritize actors who do not have their first physiological needs and second safety needs met.
Urgency of Ability
We have redesigned the inclusive map to the "ability map". The smaller the circle an actor has, the less ability they possess. Our goal is to expand the solution to enable more people to have the ability to access it. Based on these three criteria, we ultimately select our actors to address and solve their issues.

Insight & Takeaways

Unable to confirm the authenticity of the news report
Human beings naturally have biases, and as researchers, we need to strive to maintain fairness as much as possible. Sometimes, news can be influenced by political tensions between two countries. For instance, during my research, I discovered that Japan's nuclear water has not exceeded the IAEA's standards. However, some data suggested by North Korea found that fish around Fukushima surpassed these limits (Kim, D., & Jung, 2023, July 6). This discrepancy led to controversy, with Japan's report differing from South Korea's. Throughout the research process, we encountered human factors. As a researcher, I continually reminded myself to be fair and make impartial judgments. Failing to do so could result in cognitive bias.
Solution validation
Due to constraints related to time management and the size of the research group, we were unable to conduct user surveys. Without testing and iteration, it is difficult to convince the public of the viability of our proposal, as we have not tested whether the solution is practicable.Moving forward, I envision adopting a business-oriented calculation and a well-defined stage-by-stage implementation plan for our project.
Filtering solution
Thirdly, during this project, we did not employ a urgent-important matrix priority and possibility map to assess our solutions. This omission was due to the lack of participation from real actors to create such maps. If our group had solely evaluated the feasibility of the solutions on our own, it might have been too subjective. Instead, we adopted a flat ontology approach, considering everything as equal within the whole, listing all possible solutions and drawing connections between the actors.

Future Planning

Building cost-effective prototype
In our future implementation of this project, we will focus on involving more direct actors and conducting user interviews. Additionally, as we primarily use VR and AR as the main platforms, it's crucial to consider an efficient and cost-effective way to test the prototype.
Preparing more real life stakeholder interviews
We need to establish a timeline for bringing more resources on board, including determining the best times to contact documentary directors and inviting product designers. Since we cannot definitively determine which solution is the most ideal, our approach will involve incorporating every solution we can think of that has the potential to benefit all indigenous groups, non-human entities, and human beings. Involving direct actors in this evaluation process will help ensure that the solutions are well-informed and tailored to their needs and perspectives.
Comparing & Share solution with the community
Given that some other groups are also addressing water pollution, it is likely that there are overlapping actants with our direct actors. We plan to compare our results with these groups to identify both similarities and differences in terms of actors and potential solutions that we may not have considered.
The Next Project
The Next Project