Ila Binty إلى بنتي

Sara Al-Bassam

What do you want Saudi Arabia's future to look like for your daughter?

Ila Binty is a website that asks Saudi men and women to write letters to their (current or future) daughter, telling her what they think is most important for her to know about life in Saudi Arabia now and what they want it to be like for her future.

I've spent a lot of time on the Saudi Twittersphere and blogosphere, and know that the question I pose to my users: "What do you want for Saudi Arabia's future?" is one that is discussed in all of these places. However, the conversation tends to be hostile and unproductive: people with different opinions spend more time arguing and attacking one another. By addressing our daughters in this conversation, I hope to bring a unifying element to the table that may help that conversation be friendlier and more productive.

I've also spent a lot of time on sites like Post Secret, Gitmo Memory, and really enjoy how many different perspectives coexist comfortably in those online spaces.

Saudi men and women, all ages, sizes and colors, all walks of life.

User Scenario
Ideally, Saudis who come to the site will read a letter that somebody has written, learn something they didn't know about what life is like for somebody else in Saudi Arabia, and be inspired to write their own letter.

I hope for the site to inspire conversations -- online and offline -- that may get us closer to understanding what we really want for ourselves.

The site is made on Wordpress, with several plugins for translation and also for display of the letters. The site is curated: I receive the letters, and select the ones that fit the specifications (made clear on the site) to display on the site. I do this so as to ensure that there's diversity of opinion, and that the letters are constructive.

In my user testing with Saudis, I learned that adding the element of 'daughters' to the picture added the perspective I hoped for -- and that it also made it incredibly personal and humanizing.

The real test will be when it goes live!