Links round up

Just a bunch of things I’ve been reading/rediscovering this week. Trying to do this more often to help me document my practice. Two weekends in a row isn’t bad at all! 😀

UX reading

7 Principal Psychological Phenomena in UX Design – good for those ‘oh yeah I haven’t forgotten how to be an experience designer’ moments.

Describing Personas

The Language of Domination: Oppressive Meeting Dynamics

Design

Shout out to monkik for saving a life! Had to do a bunch of prototyping and their range of icons were perfect

Abbotsford Convent website – Initially I was really taken by the cursor effect, then realised this was just a home page thing (and justifiably so given potential issues with reading content on rest of the site). I like the cut out details on the images, but second time looking at it reminds me how we need truly fluid frameworks for websites to become more genuinely mobile first (which to my mind, means adopting more patterns from mobile apps, especially with respect to differentiating between ‘architectural’ and ‘key action’ navigation).

Trying to clean up my drafts and came across this article on Kirokaze’s work. Funnily enough I think I’ve seen their stuff more recently on youtube as background art for any of the 101 ambient cyberpunk I listen to whilst working. Their portfolio is still pretty cool though.

Programming

Simple Statistics – a Javascript library

Museums ‘n’ tings

Some cool links courtesy of the recent Museums and AI talk…

What the Machine Saw

Living with Machines

You know, I’d love to do an experiment with AI powered chatbot interfaces for engaging with content but that’s for further down the line.

Research

As is always the case, I have a couple more summatives to write up of some of the research I’ve done at the Natural History Museum. One of these will be focussed on the zine making workshops I ran at a couple of Lates, to inform future research using zines as method. This article, Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users, is a handy little primer with links to some other references.

ORID — strategic questioning that gets you to a decision

Navigating Comics: An Empirical and Theoretical Approach to Strategies of Reading Comic Page Layouts – another one with some good pointers for upcoming research activities on impact of content design/layout and comprehension

Digital tools for participation: Where to start?

Social Studies of Outer Space blog just seems quite cool for speculative research approaches to community.

Zipf, Power-laws, and Pareto – a ranking tutorial

Differential Dynamic Systems – what? I realised I had to do some serious math revision and this guy’s pretty good.

Algorithmic Humanitarianism – keeping this here as a reference for tech social justice-y research. There’s so many great manifestos and frameworks, would be a shame not to make use of them!

Books to read (if anyone wants to get me a present)

digitalSTS, A field guide for Science and Technology Studies

Random

Interview with Tee Corinne

Quotes from Introduction: #TravelingWhileTrans, Design Justice, and Escape from the Matrix of Domination by Sasha Costanza-Chock

Some notes Introduction: #TravelingWhileTrans, Design Justice, and Escape from the Matrix of Domination.

As Browne discusses, and as Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, technically demonstrates, gender itself is racialized: humans have trained our machines to categorize faces and bodies as male and female through lenses tinted by the optics of white supremacy.

I misread this the first couple of times which led me to think aloud that the idea that types of ‘seeing’ create an analogous identity in the the thing doing the seeing is soooo necessary in order to get away from notions of ‘objective’ analysis/algorithms/information receptors etc.

  1. We use design to sustain, heal, and empower our communities, as well as to seek liberation from exploitative and oppressive systems.
  2. We center the voices of those who are directly impacted by the outcomes of the design process.
  3. We prioritize design’s impact on the community over the intentions of the designer.
  4. We view change as emergent from an accountable, accessible, and collaborative process, rather than as a point at the end of a process.
  5. We see the role of the designer as a facilitator rather than an expert.
  6. We believe that everyone is an expert based on their own lived experience, and that we all have unique and brilliant contributions to bring to a design process.
  7. We share design knowledge and tools with our communities.
  8. We work towards sustainable, community-led and controlled outcomes.
  9. We work towards non-exploitative solutions that reconnect us to the earth and to each other.
  10. Before seeking new design solutions, we look for what is already working at the community level. We honor and uplift traditional, indigenous, and local knowledge and practices.

 

Our work is guided by two core beliefs: first, that those who are directly affected by the issues a project aims to address must be at the center of the design process, and second, that absolutely anyone can participate meaningfully in design.”

According to design scholars Robert Hoffman, Axel Roesler, and Brian Moon, the designer as a specific kind of person, or as a profession, emerged with the Industrial Revolution. Until then, knowledge about how to create, use, and maintain specialized tools was transmitted via craft guilds. However, the craft guild model could not support larger-scale designs that required the distribution of skills among many specialists. Accordingly, “this new task—designing for a class of people with whom the designer did not interact—helped mark the origin of industrial design.”50 At this time, they also note, designers took on a new role: “to reshape formerly hand-crafted processes into ones that machines could do. Mass and assembly-line-based production stimulated, or necessitated, the creation of many designs for artifacts aimed at a broad mass of consumers and for machines designed to help in manufacturing other machines.”

Design is also a way of thinking, learning, and engaging with the world. Reasoning through design is a mode of knowledge production that is neither primarily deductive nor inductive, but rather abductive and speculative. Where deduction reasons from the general to the specific and induction reasons from the specific to the general, abduction suggests the best prediction given incomplete observations.

In his recent book Designs for the Pluriverse (2018), anthropologist Arturo Escobar sees design as an “ethical praxis of world-making.”55 He urges us to consider the ways that design practices today too often reproduce the totalizing epistemology of modernity and in the process erase indigenous worldviews, forms of knowledge, and ways of being. Escobar calls for an approach to design that is focused on the creation of a world “where many worlds fit.”

Crenshaw notes the role of statistical analysis in each of these cases: sometimes, the courts required Black women plaintiffs to include broader statistics for all women that countered their discrimination claims; in other cases, the courts limited the admissible data to that which dealt solely with Black women, as opposed to all Black workers. In those cases, the low total number of Black women employees typically made statistically valid discrimination claims impossible, whereas strong claims could have been made if the plaintiffs were allowed to include data for all women, for all Black people, or both. Later, in her 1991 Stanford Law Review article “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color,”65 Crenshaw powerfully articulates the ways that women of color often experience male violence as a product of intersecting racism and sexism, but are then marginalized from both feminist and antiracist discourse and practice and denied access to specific legal remedies.

To bear in mind for future writings on dealing with statistical methods in understanding users.

Collins also emphasizes that every individual simultaneously receives both benefits and harms based on their location within the matrix of domination. As Collins notes, “Each individual derives varying amounts of penalty and privilege from the multiple systems of oppression which frame everyone’s lives.”70 An intersectional Black feminist analysis thus helps us each understand that we are simultaneously members of multiple dominant groups and multiple subordinate groups. Design justice urges us to (1) consider how design (affordances and disaffordances, objects and environments, services, systems, and processes) distributes both penalty and privileges to individuals based on their location within the matrix of domination and (2) attend to the ways that this operates at various scales.

Design justice is a framework for analysis of how design distributes benefits and burdens between various groups of people. Design justice focuses explicitly on the ways that design reproduces and/or challenges the matrix of domination (white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, settler colonialism, and other forms of structural inequality). Design justice is also a growing community of practice that aims to ensure a more equitable distribution of design’s benefits and burdens; meaningful participation in design decisions; and recognition of community-based, Indigenous, and diasporic design traditions, knowledge, and practices.

Reference

https://design-justice.pubpub.org/pub/ap8rgw5e/release/1

Service Design in Heritage day 1

See, I’m getting better at this insta-documenting lark!

Today was the first iteration of Service Design in [Arts, Culture &] Heritage workshop(s), held at the Barbican Arts Centre in the Life Rewired Hub. Borne out of some great conversations with Kristen Alfaro about common difficulties with designing holistic, inclusive services when working in a Cultural institution – be it a museum, an art gallery/space etc – the goal is to introduce some service design techniques and approaches and providing a space for participants to learn by doing.

Thanks to lessons learned from previous workshops e.g. at Wild Conference, this was split into two workshops, partly to give people more options but also because even doing half a design jam is still quite intense!

IMG_8271

Session 1 focussed on collaborative ideation techniques; session 2 on data/insights mapping and introduction to prototyping.

Much like the neo-mmanwu workshop, the structure was half a presentation type lecture sort of thing and half actually trying out the particular methods that would be used at that point of the design process.

Continue reading “Service Design in Heritage day 1”

Why Having the Stuff Doesn’t Always Cut It

‘AI: More than Human’ is the soon to be closed extravaganza on the history of AI held at the Barbican arts centre. It’s in two parts, the first which takes you through how cultures have thought of creating non-human sentience, to the development of mathematical and computational models, the use of big data in machine learning and where A.I. could go in the future; the second part is an art installation where you can interact with pretty things on a wall (it was very pretty).

Continue reading “Why Having the Stuff Doesn’t Always Cut It”

Useful HCI stuff: Kano’s model

I found this article a helpful primer on using the Kano model, particularly for discussing which features to focus on, when they give near enough value. If you’re a perfectionist, or find yourself in perfectionist mode, knowing at what point the detail lacks perceived usefulness, satisfaction and emotional impact can be helpful not just for prioritisation, but also for framing research.

Quite often our product team might find itself having one of those discussions which could go on forever which is basically about how much effort to put into refining something before letting users see it/test it. Now to be clear, this is for features that are in test mode and have passed user acceptance criteria, reach a minimum AA standard in accessibility etc. and the next test is to see how it behaves in the wild.

From prior testing of prototypes and interviewing people, you should have an understanding of what matters, what prevents them from completing a task or understanding what’s going on and so on. Combining these through Kano’s model provides another lens into what should be tackled first, like so (bold italics represent a Kano metric):

  1. I like it – the things that users have specifically called out during interviews/prototype testing
  2. I expect it – the things that users have naturally done without thinking during tests
  3. I’m neutral – didn’t mention it
  4. I can tolerate it – the things that people notice as a bit confusing or unnecessary but not to the point they prohibit them from completing an action
  5. I dislike it – again, the things that users can specifically called out during interviews/prototype resting

Mozfest 2018: The co-designed city; building smart cities with embedded social justice

A sign telling people when the workshop would start (it started at 11am)

For Mozfest 2018, I decided to go a little deeper on the topic of smart cities. The first workshop I ever facilitated there had been on the topic of pervasive computing which has many intersections with smart cities but now I wanted to explore some of the outcomes a bit further.

I am still a bit obsessed with this whole question of approaches to designing complex systems and design jams allow me to explore that. Plus it means I get to better understand the issues that come up with collaborative approaches instead of… just lecturing people.

 

Description

The session will be structured as a design jam where participants go through the user centred creation process to prototype features for (or even an entire) smart city which puts intersectionality at the heart of its digital and physical architecture.

Combining methods inspired by critical design and community centred practice and traditional Igbo masquerade (mmanwu) performance, we will start by ideating based on not only issues but also existing solutions we see in our own contexts, then perform light ethnography amongst fellow Mozfest attendees and the local community before getting down to prototyping our solutions through cardboard, code and post-its!

Following an iterative design and test process, we will end up with prototypes of a human+environment centred smart city.

 

Continue reading “Mozfest 2018: The co-designed city; building smart cities with embedded social justice”

Building without bias – digital technology and architecture for the post-binary: In the shadows of hateful glass

Wednesday I was at the Building centre as part of their ‘Building without bias‘ event, chaired by Vanessa Norwood and curated by Hannah Rozenburg whose research and practice explored methods of tackling and subverting gender bias in architecture.

The production of architectural space in the digital age is increasingly reliant on automated technologies which infer that data is truth. But this ‘truth’ is saturated with the bias and prejudice inherent in contemporary society, with serious implications for the design of our built environment.

Hannah Rozenberg’s award winning research project, Building without Bias, found that artificially intelligent technologies understood ‘architect, steel, cement and screw’ as terms most associated with males, while ‘tearoom, kitchen and nursery’ were among the most female. With algorithmic design methods set to increase, what will be the implications for architecture and our urban fabric?

In the shadows of hateful glass was my contribution very much inspired by certain musings as I wander through Southwark and the rapidly regenerstagnating Southbank. You can read through the slide deck embedded below (or linked in text if that’s not quite working!)

 

Continue reading “Building without bias – digital technology and architecture for the post-binary: In the shadows of hateful glass”

Birmingham Design Festival part 1: It was never about learning how to code

Birmingham Design Festival arrived with a thud, even with sensibly opting to take the time off! Heading off to the Steamhouse for my talk, I was incredibly excited – this is the first BDF after all, and I’d never been to Steamhouse so…

…unfortunately I was incredibly ill, beset with hayfever which left me with chest pains from sneezing so much it was that bad.

 

Description

Just when balance is achieved, someone tries to make “Should designers learn to code?” happen.

Yet, as the recent history of app and web design has intimated, you could understandably think that as a design movement, much of digital design remains superficial in light of the increasingly intertwined systems we’re designing for. Somewhere between tech fetishisation and death by post it notes, there’s a chance to apply the lessons from product design movements of the past and incorporate a deeper understanding of the digital material into the way we work.

This talk will go into the problematics of design thinking and our day-to-day processes, the need for ‘deep co-design’ with users and communities, why every UX designer needs a Solution Architect as a best friend, and why you’re so missing the point about Brutalist design for the web.

Continue reading “Birmingham Design Festival part 1: It was never about learning how to code”

JSConfEU 2018: Hey you, do you even design?

I still can’t get over that this actually happened. JSConf EU has a very special place in my heart as it was the ultimate conference for me when I first got into tech. Even though I’m more on the design side than the coding side, I still watch their videos and follow the twitter devotedly as they have not only the best roster of speakers ever, they are serious about creating a tech ecosystem that is inclusive, sophisticated and interesting!

So you can imagine my thrill when my talk proposal got accepted. You can watch the talk below or read through the slides beneath the ‘Read more’ (speaker notes are open).

 

Continue reading “JSConfEU 2018: Hey you, do you even design?”

Bulgaria Web Summit 2018: Understanding the Job to Design the Service

…which turned into ”Designing for the Job in a Noisy World”.

I’m usually very professional!

Bulgaria Web Summit was one of the best conferences I have ever spoken at and actually the first where I learned to have faith in my instincts. The initial idea I had for the talk was to go into the Jobs to be done framework and how any tech product – from an app to an API – needs to be framed as a service and not a product. My concern was that Jobs to be Done would seem tired and the kind of thing someone might have copied and pasted and also that I wouldn’t be able to get anything that practical in – I always want to make sure my talks have something about how theory can be applied, not just discussed.

Ironically enough, focussing on complex systems theory provided scope to be very practical on several levels, not simply on how one frames data and research using personas, user journeys and JTBD but also on bigger questions like how to design/build collaboratively to mitigate the impact of growing complexity.

You can find the slides here.