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Design is not for you; it's for everyone else (Academy Xi Talk)

‘Design is not for you; it's for everyone else’ was the topic of discussion at last week’s Academy Xi talk.

For those who missed it, I will try to unravel some of the insights we learnt and the new ways of thinking around designing for inclusivity.

→ What is inclusivity in design?

Inclusivity in design is not just about disability but gender, culture or education.

Inclusion is empathy, vulnerability and kindness.

It’s about opening up yourself for ideas.

And opening up your biases.

Remember, someone experiences something different to someone else.

So we need to be constantly looking.

Peoples’ stories are different and change all the time (personas).

Vulnerability is layered.

And this is where we start to see how to design FOR people.

→ What is the difference between discovery and education?

We can understand inclusivity when we experience it.

It’s our job to see what the barriers are, the fears, it’s not to ostracise but to bring the concepts on board.

And to realise the opportunities for people.

It’s a privilege as a designer to CONNECT with whom we are talking to.

When we are interview people it is our responsibility to tease things out as a designer.

A lived experience vs. perceived experience can be different, for example - digital competency.
Someone might select 2/10 but in order to fill out the form, it required a digital competency of 3/10. This is known as perceived experience.

On that note, lived experience is also different to lived expertise which is about knowing how to tell the story.

So when we can understand the experience of people, we can then facilitate and show others how to design for them.

→ Good design is good for business

  1. Do it.
  2. Preach and talk about it.
  3. Document and prove it.

If we design for a vulnerable person, we can design for everyone.

For example, ramps were designed for people on wheelchairs but are useful for people with prams, carrying groceries and cyclists.

Talk about stories not just numbers (cost) but about the experience.

For businesses, failure allows us to test and bring on agile methods. We can learn from mistakes.

→ Why is self care important in this role?

Human centred designers may be described as highly empathetic. This means that we take on the same feelings, for example when we see someone crying, we might start to cry as well. It can be for PTSD where we start to feel a sense of the trauma ourselves.

A way for us to practise self care is through self reflection.

Step back and reflect on the project, what went well and what didn’t?

What did you learn?

Focus and recharge.

This doesn’t mean that we detach from the project we spent months on, but rather reflect and give ourselves space to continue to the next chapter.

→ How do we convince stakeholders to adopt empathy in design?

Firstly, focus on the employee experience. People can emphasise with what they know. Make sure they’re in a towards state.

Conduct interviews
Ask - Why are you working here in the first place?
You will realise people will say the same thing and that there is a common ground within the organisation.

Question - Would you rather create a product that solves x problem, or a service that actually tells a story and helps people?

You can design for everyone because design isn’t a solo experience. We design by including and collaborating with people. This goes back to us being BRAVE and understanding those conversations.

Bridging the gap
Can we actually meet the needs of our core customers?

How do we bridge the gap to meet their needs, especially for designing for people with vulnerability.

Final tip, usability testing is all about looking for quality and quantity.

In Summary

Truly grateful for the experience, thank you as always to Tanya Marcinkus and the speakers for sharing their wisdom Natasha Ballantyne, Melanie Tran, Tim Noakesmith, Lara Husselbee and Chloe Hampton.

As a designer, do you reflect on your own practices? If so, how often, and how is your process?

If you’re interested to learn more, there is an upcoming talk 'Designing WITH, not for, vulnerable customers' at UX Australia this month.

Also, we're hoping that we might be able to get a couple more responses on how people are defining vulnerability and designing for it – Chloe and Natasha will share the results of course :)

#designforall #academyxi #inclusivity #userexperience #servicedesign #hcd #empathy #design #change #disability