How do we start to dismantle and rebuild a system that disempowers and excludes by “design”?

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Illustration by Matthew Warlick

“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…”

With this portentous beginning to many a well-intentioned post, you can almost be certain that what follows will be some distillation of painfully direct life advice intended to remind people of what’s important. Consider this article a really extended version of that, directed primarily at digital designers in senior and leadership roles as they are our industry’s best chance to right the ship. In order to bring you to the forward-thinking, uplifting bit, I’m going to have to first unsettle you with some difficult truths.

For the last few years of my career, I’ve felt the weighty realization that the design industry’s accepted and most practiced ways of creating digital products are more deeply flawed than I ever imagined and much more than most will admit — as is the way we educate aspiring designers. This has been nagging at me to such an extent that I realized I could not stay complacently on the sidelines watching it happen any longer. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I haven’t exactly been silent on this topic, but up until now, I haven’t really pushed for action, and that platform doesn’t really lend itself to fully expressing ideas. This then is my attempt to get a lot of my thoughts out in one place to hopefully catalyze new discussions. And I know many of you share these feelings even if you don’t dare talk about them. …


Making sense of the Madness of User Research, not just the Methods

In the previous installment of this series, we discussed strategies for communicating the value of UX in organizations that do not already prioritize the effort. Today, we’ll talk about the importance of other “soft” skills, this time in the area of User Research critical analysis and targeted focus.

As the resident UX elder on most of the design teams I work with, I’m frequently asked about the best way to conduct research. I have trouble answering this question every time. I know what they’re asking. They want me to give my opinion on the best way to conduct a particular method. What I want to say in response is “the way that gets you the insight you need”. …


A strategy for communicating the value of User Experience Design to internal stakeholders

Woman leading a team briefing
Woman leading a team briefing
Photo by Adobe Stock

This article is part of a multi-part series where I’ll discuss key “soft skills” UX professionals can use to survive in Enterprise that are often the hardest to master and that design schools and boot camps seldom teach.

When I was a kid sitting in math class, my mind would wander a lot. The details of working through an algebra problem didn’t interest me. I saw answers in my head in a very different way than what the teacher was working out on the chalkboard. When called upon I could often give the right answer, but when asked to demonstrate how I arrived at the solution, I would respond “I just figured it out.” I thought being and looking smart was all that mattered. Well, I was wrong. …

About

Lisa Angela

Design evangelist for better process and education. Hard-core Trekkie. Science and public health nerd.

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