WeTransfer sparks responsible innovation with Snap Who

By Sujata Burman

Many of us know WeTransfer as a file sharing platform, but there’s much more going on inside the space of the internet that it inhabits.

WeTransfer prides itself on putting people first, being a force for good, and defending the space for creativity. Many of WeTransfer’s initiatives focus on the user. Take WePresent, the arts and culture editorial platform that offers audiences “unexpected stories about creativity”, and is on a mission to be the most representative creative site on the internet. Or the Creative Studio, which is where the self-started research and development project Studio Lab sits, itself a playground for experimentation.

The Studio Lab team includes writers, strategists, designers and creative engineers, whose work centres on WeTransfer’s B Corp ambitions in the space of environmentalism, diversity and inclusion. “We wanted to do something around our responsibility,” says Nessim Higson, executive creative director at WeTransfer, on Studio Lab’s recent exploration of unconscious bias. The team wanted people to “reflect on themselves”, and considered various approaches to encourage this, including gamification.

Enter Snap Who – a game that “essentially asks people to make quick decisions based on a variety of characters”. Using an illustrator and a bias expert, they developed the platform to shine a light on our individual and societal biases. “I think, if you can gamify an experience in a really light way, there's an inherent shareability with it,” notes Higson.

1. Art direction and typography 

Blending 60s-influenced art direction with a lively voice to encourage interaction, Snap Who radiates playfulness. It is a nostalgic pop of excitement. The vibrant colours, malleable shapes, and bold typography are all designed to invite play and wonder.

2. Illustrations by Bijou Karman

Users can engage with diverse portraits created by Bijou Karman. Representation is key to the game – as is the fact that everyone cannot be represented. The illustrations include as many unique attributes as possible to echo the game’s sentiments.

3. A psychedelic experience

Snap Who is intended to be a mind-altering experience. It is a conscious trip into the awareness of tendencies towards bias and generalisation. The psychedelic and fluid designs are reminiscent of acid-tinged, kaleidoscopic lava lamps, serving as a visual metaphor for our ability to form and feel new thoughts.

4. Inclusive and accessible language

How do you stop bias from affecting what you create? WeTransfer consulted sociologist Karen McCormack to help design a fair and inclusive gamified experience. Together, they reviewed the language and accessibility of the game’s questions, and also broke them down into diverse social and economic themes.

5. Statistics and data

Snap Who is a shared learning experience that shows how we see things in relation to our peers. Each randomly generated collection of portraits, questions and responses adds to the data – rather than being accusatory, the results invite conversation, learning and introspection.

6. Conclusions

The crescendo of the experience: increasing receptiveness to new ideas to improve our creativity. Delivered through expert storytelling, the final stage of Snap Who shares advice and commentary on how to be more aware of our thoughts and biases, and their impact on our perceptions of people and situations.