Family Communication Across Borders –

Living apart from your family is not easy for everyone. The home­sickness experienced by many often manifests as stress, loneliness, and depression in daily life. At times, some even experience anxiety over the possible deterioration of relationships with their newly dis­tant family members. This thesis presents a solution to help family members who are living apart to maintain a healthy relationship.

The boundary of the thesis is set to focus on the communication between young adults who do not live together with their family. The thesis begins with a literature review on several topics involving family and communication, followed by several researches in both quantitative and qualitative ways.

In the initial stage of the research, an online survey was carried out to investigate the relationship between the frequency of communica­tion and the quality of relationship. A follow-up interview was con­ducted with several respondents to gain a more in-depth understand­ing of their experience and views regarding family communication and relationship. The thesis also adopts a design thinking method­ology to test ideas and designs with participants, starting from an exploratory approach and gradually developed into a final prototype which consists of important functions that answer the problem statement. An analysis on the existing approaches and media codes to improve the quality of online communication was performed correspondingly.

Overall, the study reveals that the quality of communication is as important as the frequency of contact in shaping a healthy family re­lationship. In addition to the current technologies that ease long-dis­tance communication, the project proposes a family communication assistant that encourages attention and joyful experience during a video call conversation.

A thesis project by: Carmen Loh “MAID – Master of Arts of Integrated Design” Hochschule Anhalt, Dessau, Summer 2020. The MAID-blog