September 16,2020

“There’s no better way to understand the hopes, desires, and aspirations of those you’re designing for than by talking with them directly.”

This week I’m reflecting on diversity within my design practices to further my understanding of the problem my group is working to solve. The quote above seems so simple, yet we see many companies fail today because of their lack of communication with directly impacted individuals. I often wonder why it is difficult for companies to consider each person involved in the product experience. As I’ve learned from podcasts and conversations this semester, often certain races, genders, and cultures are blatantly or ignorantly excluded from the research process. Moreover, it is vital to the process that a researcher never concludes the wants or needs of the individual on their own terms. Marty, my professor this semester for Human Centered Design, often discusses that in this field you must never assume. The second you assume, a fact has been misconstrued and an opinion has been inserted. This field is about furthering your understanding of an individual’s problem, and hearing from them on where it identifies. A human centered designer should always come to the table ready to simply listen.

The Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide discusses that in a conducted interview, the researcher must write down exactly what the participant says, not what they think they mean. This guide also lists the top factors when inviting co-creators to be a part of your study:

- Build trust
- Authenticity
- Diversity, inclusion, equality, and equity
- Advocates
- On-the-ground engagement

I think the most important part of this process is to build trust. Trust is the foundation to any relationship, and when a designer is going to need to working closely alongside the individuals to understand them. I know that through interviewing the directly impacted individuals that my roots will grow deeper in understanding Human-Centered design, pushing me to continue forward empathizing with the world around me.

A Field to Human-Centered Design by IDEO
Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide by A Creative Reaction Lab Publication
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