Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Designing the Future We Want - World Usability Day 2019

14th November is World Usability Day with lots of events across the world, and I joined UXPA at the FarFetch offices for a panel discussion on ‘Designing the Future We Want’, this years theme.

The panel consisted of Yolanda Olivas from FarFetch, Sandra Gonzalez from Not On The High Street and UX 4 Change, Melanie Yencken from Google, and Magola Mips from Macmillan Cancer Support.

This year's events are based round the UN's sustainable development goals and so a lot of the questions included these themes.

Our panel started by introducing themselves.

Yolanda started by stating that user centred design does not work anymore, she thinks we need to look higher and broader. She has created an ecosystem design team to do just this.

Sandra said that she thinks a good way to understand where people are at is to ask them what problems they are trying to solve. The problem she is trying to solve is how to bring the UX community and non-profits together.

Melanie is very interested in digital wellbeing and the effect it will have on our lives.

And Magola asked us how can we be good ancestors?

The discussion itself covered many different subjects but the main topics I took away included:

  • The fact that as designers and developers etc working in tech but also as human beings we hold incredible power and responsibility.
  • We are finally awakening to the issues that come with ‘failing fast and breaking things’ and realising that we need to take more time and look at the bigger picture.
  • Of course it should not just be the UX designers who are held responsible but maybe we have insights that others do not.
  • Technology is neither good or bad, it is what you do with it that makes it so. It is our responsibility to think about how those bad actors might use it in negative ways and so make it much harder for them to do this.
  • We are so privileged to work in this sector with so much power and influence across the world, we must do the best we can for the people who use the products we create.

It was a thought provoking evening that could have been quite negative but actually made me feel positive that people in tech are getting to grips with the wicked problems, and are finally starting to grasp the complexity of designing for everyone.

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