Project Summary

Passion Project
Individual Project
11.2020 - 01.2021
Online activities has become an important part of modern citizen’s life, especially under the pandemic. However, the data protection of deceased people is still a grey area under current laws, and healthy people are reluctant to think about how to manage their digital legacy spontaneously.

This project aimed to simulate people’s real life through a game allowing for discussion about digital legacy management to happen in a new dimension. I used board game as the vehicle to bring up the conversation about how to manage your digital legacy.
Jump to Output

01. Research

Key Findings

• Current laws are conflicted with modern technology in the digital age, confusion about digital asset management arises. The data protection law didn’t specify about the data securities of deceased people, and whether to let family members inherit the digital accounts of deceased people is still a grey area.

• Even the younger generation are unclear about the extent of their over personalized digital footprint.

• According to “All the Ghost in the Machine” by Elaine Kasket, She identified five types of digital legacy, an made hypothesis about 4 major types of internet users based on observations to today’s society
5 types of Digital Assets
4 Types of internet users


I conducted a focus-group interview to four pairs of young people from 18- 25 with their parents in Shanghai, attempting to get some insights on how people think about managing their own digital legacy in contemporary urban Chinese culture. I did interview with my peers and their parents separately, considering it might be hard to reveal real thoughts in front of parents. I didn’t managed to get each parent talk about this issue, as some of them regard death-related topic as taboo.


• Hard to bring up the conversation between two generations due to wide information gaps. Most of the young interviewees are reluctant to the idea of leaving digital accounts to their parents. • The elder generations are unwilling to talk about death related issue as death is still considered taboo in Chinese culture. They show little attention about the data protection of deceased people. They think “gone is gone”.• Most of the healthy young people never thought about how to manage their digital legacy, and are unclear about how many digital footprints they left.


I'm going to...

• Create opportunities for mutual understanding
• Use Game as the vehicle to improve communication about how to manage digital legacy in a less stressful way
• As Family members are different types of internet users, they can play different roles during the game.

02. Design

Four Types of Players

Four types of players have different inital settings. The hermit has the least initial digital footprints, but costs the most unit price to manage each piece of them (because hermits are unfamiliar with using digital devices). The life recorder has the opposite setting of the most digital footprints and the least unit price.

Types of Cards

News Cards: The latest government action towards digital data protection, and unexpected events.
Function Cards: The cards that players could use to attack other players, or benefit themselves.
Facility cards: I incorporated five types of facilities according to the main sources of digital footprints. The players can purchase those facilities if they are not occupied and benefit themselves

PDF Version

You may check out this pdf version if you are curious to learn more or actually play the game. You may download and print it. Each round would be less than 30 minutes:)

03. Play Test

The user testing was conducted in the family setting, in which each player plays the role they correspond in their real life. Overall, they gave positive feedback on the game experience:


1. "We are producing more digital footprints than we thought of ourselves."
2. "It's easy to create a new digital footprint, but managing it is way harder."
3. "We need to think about how to manage our digital assets from time to time and not wait until the end of this game."


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is drastically changing how people process deaths and more funerals were performed virtually. Like everything else that has been forced to go online during the pandemic, death is no exception. I think it’s a good time to think about death and bring up the conversation about death in the digital age.In many cultures, death is considered as a taboo, and the current law lacks a compassionate process to protect the privacy of deceased. We are already a step forward if we are able to bring this issue on the table. Sometimes I click into the profile page of the deceased, seeing them complaining about the little troubles in their life, as if they are still alive in these tiny moments. They exposed more personal and comprehensive information in the digital world, that might left great comfort to those who are alive, but could also be enormous pain.I believe the most complex point about online property attribution is that everybody’s sadness is unique. Regardless of the different attitude about death across cultures, the universal point is everyone let go of their deceased loves sporadically, in their own ways.

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