A Re-cap on “Saving the World with User-centred-Design”

Kelly’s note: Huge thanks to new volunteer Amelia Stein, who was instrumental in the organization of this event, and wrote this event summary for us. Thanks again Amelia! 

This month’s Girl Geek Dinner, held at Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse, offered kim chi pork ribs, risotto cakes, and Hilary Little’s illustration of User Centred Design (UCD) as a clash between User-Centred-Design Girl and her arch enemy, Bad Design Dave. We heard cases in which Bad Design Dave prevailed, from innovative vehicle features to the layout of election ballots. She showed us that design is everywhere, and stressed the importance of implementing an iterative design method prior to casting an emergency UCD Girl signal in the sky.

The tricky part, explains Hilary, is that Bad Design Dave often goes unnoticed. He cloaks himself in misconceptions; user-centred design is too expensive, it takes too long, it’s irrelevant to knowledge of users, or that the users were given exactly what they asked for. It’s time we start to recognize the Bad Design Dave in our own work environments, and take the UCD girl identity as our own. When you apply the UCD techniques, the [return on investment] could certainly elevate you to hero status.

What you need to know in order to succeed is that good design requires high usability: meeting specific effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction metrics. Pledging to fight against Bad Design Dave requires that you stand true to the fact that, “you don’t know if it’s usable until it’s tested with users.” Keep strong to the process…

  1. Have an early focus on users and tasks: analyze the tasks, goals, environment
  2. Empirical testing with users: quantitative/behavioural testing (NOT asking what they want)
  3. Iterative Design process: design->evaluate->refine repeat!
  4. Rely on data for design decisions and not assumptions or best guesses.

Making progress with user-centred design in the workplace is still an ongoing battle. So dig out those leotards and capes, find out where UCD fits in your line of work and get everyone involved to strengthen the cause.

Special thanks to the guest speaker Hilary Little for her insightful presentation, and congratulations to our winners who left with fabulous gifts from our sponsors:

  • Laura Wesley & Helene Pauze- winners of homemade fudge provided by Fudge Face.
  • Mary Durning- winner of NAC show tickets.
  • Lina Bonapace- first-timer Girl Geek and winner of a gift certificate to Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse.

View Hilary’s slides…

For additional resources on user-centred-design contact: hilarylittle@gmail.com.

And finally, Kelly created a storify–a round up of tweets from the event:


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