Design Justice Reading Circle

Encouraging conversation around conscious design.

Have you heard about Design Justice? If you’ve heard about it, have you tried to incorporate into your design practice? How?

These aren’t rhetorical questions — I really want to know!

A colleague and I just started a Design Justice Reading Circle in order to engage our coworkers and ourselves in the principles and practices of Design Justice. We’re using the term as a broad umbrella for the types of topics we want to discuss and the conversations we hope to generate.

If you’re not yet familiar with Design Justice, here’s how the Design Justice Network defines it, briefly (generated at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, the coolest conference of them all):

“Design justice rethinks design processes, centralizing people who are normally marginalized by design and using collaborative creative practices to address the deepest challenges our communities face.”

As designers and researchers, our small group is trying to think about how our work as consultants shapes the direction and designs of our clients’ work, now and into the future.

We are UX practitioners who are trained to always put the experience of the user front-and-center. So…

  • How might we do this more intentionally, considering the needs of those who we might not normally reach with research activities?
  • How might we engage those who might be considered “edge cases” by our peers or clients?
  • How might we invite the community we’re designing for to co-create with us, particularly when we’re moving from project to project several times a year?

In this group, we’ll talk about Design Justice, its working definition, and how we can incorporate it into our work. But we want to cast a wider net, too. We’ll gather case studies from around the web (okay, maybe print media, too), and discuss how we would use the Design Justice framework to approach a given issue differently.

We don’t know exactly what this will be yet, but hope that it will at least be a starting point. Part of our job every day is to challenge assumptions and speak for users — let’s just make sure we’re doing so for everyone.

Here are some pieces we’re starting with:

10 Ways Designers Can Support Social Justice (Design Justice Network blog)

Turns Out Algorithms Are Racist (The New Republic)

Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes, study says (CNN)

This article was originally published on Deirdre’s Medium blog.

Deirdre Hirschtritt

September 15, 2017

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