The Web makes us more divided and cynical.
It could make us more connected and civil.

With an international network of designers and behavioral scientists, the Prosocial Design Network is dedicated to helping transform the Web into a healthier, more respectful place to visit.

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Tested Interventions
Untested Interventions

The Prosocial Design Library

About the Library

The Prosocial Design Library is a pattern library of evidence-based design interventions, which designers may use in their products to improve the quality of their users’ interactions with one another.

What Are Interventions?

Interventions are specific user experience design elements for digital platforms, which produce—or could produce—a quantifiable prosocial outcome in controlled experiments.

Examples of prosocial outcomes could include:

An icon showing a dumpster fire, signifying disorder.

Less Dysfunction

Reductions in online trolling, bias, harassment, cyberbulling, and cyberhate

Two hands holding one another, signifying care and dignity.

More Dignity

Increased feelings of safety, recognition, inclusion, and acceptance, for users hailing from real-life, marginalized communities

A network of people, signifying connections and understanding.

More Understanding

Disagreements become more productive. Regardless of outcome, parties exit disagreements feeling as though their dignity was left intact

What are Tested Interventions?

Tested Interventions are interventions that the Prosocial Design Network has deemed to work, based on published and preprinted experiments.

Each tested intervention is given an evidence-grade based on the quality and quantity of the research supporting it.

From high to low, those evidence-grades are: Convincing, Likely, and Tentative.

Validated

The best of the best, a grade of Validated is reserved for interventions that have not only been peer reviewed, but have also been successfully replicated.

It is the highest evidentiary grade that the Prosocial Design Network can bestow.

Convincing

A grade of Convincing is reserved for interventions for which the majority of evidence is peer-reviewed experiments that have yet to undergo attempts at replication.

This is the second highest grade that we give interventions.

Likely

A grade of Likely is given to interventions that someone has rigorously experimented, published their methods and data, all without a conflict of interest being present. However, it is still awaiting peer review, i.e. it is a preprint.

This is presently the penultimate grade that we give interventions.

Tentative

A grade of Tentative is given for a number of reasons.

Often it is either because:

  1. The majority of research for an intervention, independently conducted or not, is either observational or ecological studies and lacks a randomized control; or
  2. The findings in its favor have vested or corporate interests behind them—for example, Company X releases its own experiment results about an intervention.

Should a study that would otherwise be labeled as Convincing undergo replication, but fail to replicate the results in good faith, that intervention may also be reassigned a grade of Tentative.

What are Untested Interventions?

Untested Interventions lack testing. However, they are included due to being: analogous to offline interventions, used in a product for prosocial aims, or otherwise having expert endorsement for prosocial outcomes.

Untested interventions have one of two evidence-grades: Emerging and Inference.

Emergent

A grade of Emergent is often given to interventions for whom the majority of research is qualitative.

Alternatively, if research exists, but the methodology is not publicly available, the Prosocial Design Network will also assign it an Emergent grade.

This grade denotes that the idea could have merit, but no quantitative research exists to explain why or how.

Inference

A grade of Inference is for proposed interventions that lack research of their own, but that could work by way of analogous studies, expert opinions, or first principles.

While this is, technically, the lowest evidentiary grade that we can afford an intervention while still including it in the library, this is not meant to discourage. On the contrary! This grade is very much an invitation to explore and experiment with it further.

What Are the Meanings Behind the Different Categories?

For ease of navigation, alongside being sorted by Tested or Untested, each card belongs to one of the follow five classes of intervention, based on their intended function:

An illustration of a bridge, made by Eucalyp of the Noun Project

Build Bridges

The Build Bridges classification is for interventions that alter perceptions of outgroups to be more approachable.

An illustration of a fact checked document. Illustration by Nithinan Tatah of the Noun Project.

Dispel Rumors

The Dispel Rumors classification covers interventions that stop the spread of misinformation or disinformation, so that all parties are working from—and can find, if necessary—common sets of facts.

An illustration of a person looking in the mirror, made by dDhara of the Noun Project

Evoke User's Visibility

The Evoke User's Visibility classification addresses interventions that either remind users that they are part of a community; that they are being seen and heard, often by a larger audience than they realize; or that they are an individual human being, capable of making their own choices.

An illustration of a hand raised as though to say stop, made by Eucalyp of the Noun Project

Stop Hate & Bullying

The Stop Hate & Bullying classification covers interventions that both anticipate and prevent expressions of, and incitements to, hatred and harrassment.

An illustration of two people holding hands around a heart, to suggest growing empathy. Illustration made by Eucalyp of the Noun Project.

Empower Connection

The Empower Connection classification includes interventions that both help people reach consensus and communicate collaboratively.

Are you an academic or citizen researcher that would like to contribute your expertise? We'd be happy to collaborate!

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