Drawing by Christina Zheng
Living with the Future
A human-centered design fiction around what it means to be a critical designer and a technologist in the current zeitgeist.
Create a user-centered experience that provokes critical discourse around the future of technology, its interaction with people and their sense of community.
Four interconnected fictional artifacts set in the year 2030 around a co-living community critiquing the “solutionist” approach of designers of technology.
Enabling technologists to be critical in their process, shifting the dominant discourse from “move fast, break things” to “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
4. PROJECT SPECS
Area of Focus
Generative Research, Design Fiction, Discursive Design, Experience Design
Miro board, Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere, Google forms, Zoom, Wix
Subject matter expert interviews, Participatory Design, Co-design Workshops, User interviews, Qualitative analysis, Narrative design, Proof of concept, Prototyping
January 2020 – June 2020
Devanshi Chauhan, Jen Chui, Spencer Wilkerson, Christina Zheng
5. MY ROLE
Although everyone from my team was involved in every step of the project, based on our skillset each of us took the lead on some aspects. I was the principal strategist/researcher and the engineer of the team. Jen and I came up with the rough timeline for our project which set the pace for the entire process.
Speculative and discursive design are fairly new to us, hence I took it upon myself to research and familiarize my team and I with the approach and methods. Based on my research I was able to come up with novel and effective ways of synthesizing our research into actionable insights. For example, upon my suggestion we each wrote fictional narratives as a way to synthesize our research. Apart from the data analysis, my idea of an infomercial style narrative led to the framing of two of our final artifacts. The fictional advertisements as a world building element came to me while watching futuristic movies like Blade Runner and Back to the future trilogy.
I led the design and analysis for most of our research studies including the qualitative survey, cultural probes, user interviews, and the co-design workshops. I moderated the final co-design workshop which marked the end of our research phase. I was also the only web developer on the team and created the final project website adhering to the web accessibility guidelines.
6. PROCESS SUMMARY
We created a fictional community set in the year 2030 with the idea to critique the solutionist model of problem solving. To build this world we designed artifacts like a fictional co-living community website, a fictional news article, a podcast interviewing the founder of this community, and a blog article critiquing the community.
We started by extensively researching co-living and the problems associated with it, and sent out a survey to further validate this research. Simultaneously I was reading the cornerstone book on discursive design called Discursive Design by Tharp and Tharp.
Employing strategies used in the book, our survey analysis, and feedback from our instructors and experts, my team and I designed a cultural probe as a fun and playful way to generate research ideas with our participants and get an unbiased glimpse at their lives as people who live with other people. It was important to make the probes playful as it reduces the cognitive load on participants generally, and especially in a world ravaged by a global pandemic. We used the aforementioned survey as our participant pool.
Our cultural probe gave us a solid direction with regards to co-living but we needed more in terms of technology, its interaction with people, and how it fits into the “community.” It is important to mention here that we consulted with subject matter experts, at every step of the way. We also had weekly critique sessions with peers and professors which guided some of our pivots.
We then designed a participatory workshop over zoom to dive deeper into situating future technology within co-living spaces. We realized although the workshop was helpful in many ways it didn’t really tell us anything new that our previous research hadn’t already shown us. We still needed the technology angle. We went about amending our workshop yet again consulting with experts and conducted a second participatory design workshop. This time we hit gold! Although we were still unclear about some important aspects like the form of our artifacts, how they interact, and “when” they are situated.
Inspired by a fictional story shared with us by our professor and having read about design fiction in Discursive Design I suggested we should each write a narrative placed in the future borrowing from all the research we have so far. This allowed us to synthesize all our research in a creative manner showing ways in which we could potentially create our artifact(s) as well as gaps in areas where we needed more digging into.
We were able to draw out a three decade arc where we planned on creating artifact(s) showing how technology in co-living spaces changed over the course of 2030, 2040, and 2050. We individually set out to create a product specifications document for the technology of each decade but as we came together to share we soon realized the trade off between fleshing out one decade fully and impact-fully versus creating a three decade arc that seemed less discursive and more “wish-fulfillment.” We chose the former and came up with 4 artifacts all grounded in informed (well-researched) speculation. We made use of the Tarot Cards of Tech to show the impact of our solutions.
We “solved” the problems of co-living identified in research, but thought critically about how those solutions might create further problems, which we hope provokes people into rethinking the solutionist approach.
For a detailed case study, use the desktop
Formative Research | 1.5 Weeks
Field Study dinner with Gene Hart
Secondary Research | 4+ weeks, concurrent with other research
Subject Matter Expert (SME) interviews
Qualitative Survey | 1 Week
Research Qualitative Survey Design
Qualitative Survey Design and testing
Survey Deployment & Data Collection
Cultural Probe | 3 Weeks
Research for Cultural Probe
SME interview with Tom Jenkins
Cultural probe design and testing
Deployment + Data Collection + interview
Co-design Workshop ONE + TWO | 1 Week
Workshop ONE Planning + design + test + execution
Workshop Redesign + Test
Ideation ONE | 3 days
The future in three decades 2030, 2040, 2050
Lets stick to 2030
Data Synthesis via Storytelling | 3 days
Narrative design fiction
Design fiction found artifacts
Ideation TWO + Designing the artifacts | 4 Weeks
Future tech, what it does and looks like
Bad by design to provoke
Design fiction Artifacts to provoke
Testing + Feedback | 2 days
Peer & Professor Review, Does it provoke you?
Capstone presentation event + Near Future Labs
CHALLENGE ZERO — What should we work on and why?
This was a grad school capstone project, our magnum opus. We knew we had a great team but we needed a topic that complemented our diverse skill-set and allowed us to show off everything we learnt in these 2 years while also challenging us.
To find the right research question we undertook a design charrette to understand where our interests lie. We landed on the intersection of technology, community, and speculative design with an initial research question —
“How might we create critical discourse around the impact of future technology on people living together.”
‘Solutionism’ is very prevalent in the tech and design world. The idea that technology can solve everything most often leads to more problems and becomes a game of whack-a-mole. We wanted to take a metacognitive approach wherein we move from just “design serves a need” to “design has social meaning” to bring about a shift in how people think. We wanted to use design to provoke people to be more mindful about design, hence Speculative Design.
This isn’t a usual user-centered design project even though the underlying process is user-centered.
RESEARCH PHASE I
People are increasingly moving to cities and are suffering from loneliness. Intentional co-housing communities are on the rise and help with loneliness. Frequent unplanned interactions and meals are a good indicator for community health. Non-violent communication reframes communication for increased empathy. All algorithms are biased.
Comprehensive summary of previous research on topics ranging from co-living, technology, algorithms, AI, non-violent communication, speculative design.
Created a strong foundation for our ideas and helped us situate our project epistemologically. We also found subject matter experts through this exercise who provided valuable insights and critique.
Reading salons every week. Each of us noted key insights from 10-15 papers/talks on a shared excel sheet. On another shared doc, we each added a link for a MUST read paper/talk for our other teammates to go thorough. At the end of each week we'd come together and discuss and compile our key findings. Here is an example word doc.
HOVER ON ICONS
1. People are moving to the cities in increasing numbers. By 2050 68% of the worlds population will be living in cities.
5. Non-violent Communication
5. Nonviolent communication (NVC) reframes communication for better understanding and increased empathy. It teaches one to assume good intent from people.
2. Increased Loneliness
2. People are lonely and socially isolated.
3. Intentional Communities
3. Intentional communities and co-living alleviate loneliness, and are on the rise.
4. Community Health
4. Shared meals and unplanned frequent interactions are a measure of a community’s health.
6. AI Biases
6. Even the most benevolent AI and algorithms are biased.
7. Tech industry Solutionism
7. Solutionism is very prevalent in the tech industry and does more harm than good.
8. Speculative Design
8. Speculative design explores how design can be used beyond just the utilitarian, it can bring about social criticism to provoke self-reflection and fuel the imagination.
CHALLENGE ONE — Global Pandemic...We need to pivot and now!
As we chose to accept our mission, the global pandemic hit, an added layer no one had anticipated. We had already planned what our next 4 months were going to look like but we had to pivot quick.
We all studied remote research methods. I read blogs by the Nielsen Norman group as well as Discursive Design by Tharp and Tharp, but what really changed the game was talking to our subject matter experts. Professors Audrey Desjardins (the University of Washington) and Tom Jenkins (the University of Copenhagen) were able to share their processes for conducting speculative design research, this helped inform our new direction as well as got us necessary feedback on our new plan. A huge help throughout the project were our professors Tyler Fox and Adi Azulay, and our peers in HCDE.
We had scheduled 2 Ethnographic studies at local co-living communities in the Greater Seattle area.
We were enrolled ourselves in co-housing and speculative design workshops
We wanted to conduct 2 in-person co-design workshops
And finally we wanted to build and test a physical prototype as our final deliverable
Cultural probes + follow up Zoom Qualitative Interviews
Zoom interviews with Subject Matter Experts
2 co-design workshops over Zoom using Miro boards for collaboration
We did not know what our final artifact was going to look like until our workshops were done, we ended up employing Design Fiction.
In retrospect, it really worked out well! Because there were no geographical restrictions we got responses from all over the world.
RESEARCH PHASE II (POST-LOCKDOWN)
People WANT to live with other people. Co-living is on the rise mainly because of high cost of living and loneliness. There are 5 major problems associated with co-living — communication gap, chore accountability, sharing of resources, privacy and personal boundaries, finding a sense of community.
Problems with co-living – thematic analysis of the survey results. Yellow represents solutions proposed by participants.
Due to lockdown we had to can our idea to interview participants from co-housing communities in an ethnographic study, instead we sent out a qualitative survey. Survey is here
We wanted to dig deep into the motivations and pain points surrounding co-living. What kind of people live with housemates — who they are, why they do it, how long they’ve done it for, what their space is like, what are some common frustrations and what changes would they like to make.
We made a conscious effort to reduce the cognitive load. This meant doing a bit more research on survey design and getting feedback from our peers in HCDE. I huge help was the NNG study on qualitative survey design.
Four days after we published the survey, we had 90 responses in total. We thematically mapped our findings into clusters. I also created charts and word clouds as a way to visualize data.
1. Co-living is on the rise — 62% of our participants lived in a co-living situation all of their adult lives.
2. Problems with co-living —
Accountability in doing chores and maintaining cleanliness.
Sharing resources, which include water, power, space, finances, etc.
Respecting privacy and personal boundaries.
Building a sense of community among housemates.
3. Reduced expenses & desire for a community — two main drivers of co-living.
4. Utilities, appliances, and chores — top 3 things people are willing to share. Bedrooms and bathrooms, they are least okay sharing.
5. People WANT to live with others — Even after enumerating various problems with their current living situation 67% of our participants said they would still live with roommates given the choice, 23% said that it would depend on various factors like autonomy, privacy, communication etc. for them to choose whether or not they’d live with roommates and 10% said that they’d rather live alone.
Word cloud for "3 words to describe your current household dynamics."
Word cloud for "3 words describing your ideal household dynamics."
Decision making is an important group activity but can be difficult and stressful. People crave a sense of community with their housemates. FUN FACT — We had 2 participants from the same household, it was interesting to see that they had contrasting answers for some of the questions.
We created a set of cultural probes with 8 activities that our participants completed in a weeks time. We interviewed them after. Here are the activities.
Cultural probes helped us better understand people’s lived experiences in an unbiased and playful manner. We wanted to get the following insights — What does community mean for people living together? What is the process if decision making and problem solving at home?
We asked 3 participants who live with housemates to submit artifacts such as photos, recordings, and drawings so that they could participate in interactive, creative ways.
The activities and interviews yielded rich qualitative data that both confirmed much of our previous research, while opening up new avenues to us in terms of reflecting on possible future designs.
Community means spending quality time with housemates.
“My roommates are great! Wish we hung out more!” but don’t because of differing schedules and/or not wanting to “disturb” the other person. Potential avenue for technological intervention.
P1's “My roommates are great! I wish we hung out more”
Initiatives, decision making, and confrontations — In a home where everyone has an equal say, it’s socially difficult for people to step up and take initiative, even when it’s something everyone desires. Confrontation is hard and no one wants to be responsible. A potential avenue for technological intervention.
P2's response to "Represent your household/community dynamic: a drawing, an image, a meme, music, interpretive dance, a mood board—anything that isn’t verbal." Here the circles represent the roommates and their social dynamics.
CHALLENGE TWO — What is our stance?
We decided to walk the thin line between wishful thinking (utopia) and horrifically interesting (dystopia) because it's a space rich for critical discourse. Most technological solutions try to solve immediate problems without really understanding the underlying cause. They are also remiss in not thinking through all the consequences, good or bad. We wanted to show how even the best intentions without critical thinking can lead to catastrophic results. Hence we decided to create some technology that seemingly solves all the problems related to co-living but has loopholes and hidden pitfalls, which could've been avoided.
No one starts out with—‘Oh I am going to create this bad tech with all of these bad consequences.’ it's usually just short-sightedness & lack of critical thinking.
Moving forward we needed to know the following —
1. With respect to co-living we understood WHAT problems exist, but we were missing the WHY — underlying causes for these problems.
2. How do people in the tech industry perceive technology?
3. Move from research to design, what features will our solution have, what form will it take?
RESEARCH PHASE III (RESEARCH THROUGH DESIGN)
We conducted 2 co-design workshops over Zoom using Miro board.
As this was virtual we had to make sure we rigorously tested our workshop flow but most importantly were extra present as moderators and made our tasks engaging and fun.
People fear future technology might devalue humanity and encroach on their privacy. The technologists in our workshop wanted future technology to embody certain values — transparency, inclusivity, sustainability, etc. They want technology to be augmentative and function in the background.
We created a co-design workshop with a mix of discussions and activities. We used Miro to enable collaboration. I designed the workshop slides. Christina and I designed the user flow for the Miro board. Spencer moderated and we all took notes.
To understand the underlying reasons with the problems of co-living so that we could come up with technological solutions that are just slightly skewed. We also wanted inspiration for our future tech and how it would situate itself in homes.
We recruited 4 HCDE undergraduates as they we have a shared vocabulary in terms of design and technology. They are also a part of the tech industry, which is our target audience.
The workshop yielded excellent discussion in terms of technology and the future. In the second half we talked about their experience with and solutions for the problems of co-living.
Some intriguing artifacts were created as the result of this workshop like a “sound wall” that protects people’s privacy and needs for personal space or a digital mark that signals a space’s status of usage or a person’s state of mind
1. Fears — besides privacy, a huge concern with our technologists was technology replacing or devaluing humanity
2. Hopes — technology will augment the human experience while being embedded in the background rather than being front-and-center.
3. Values for tech — we curated a list based on our discussion.
DOES NOT DEVALUE HUMANITY
ASSITIVE AND AUGMENTATIVE
DOES NO HARM
4. Communication is the key — 6 out of 8 values for a successful co-living experience were directly related to healthy communication between roommates/ housemates.
5. Accountability — Chore Accountability is the leading problem most people face in their living situations.
6. Desire to connect — It is hard to turn a desire for social connection with housemates into reality, due to power dynamics and social structures.
7. House Adult — The position of “house mom” is the result of differing maturity levels, and is generally a job no one wants.
Technologically mediated behavior change is only possible if people care about the consequences/ rewards. A lot of energy goes into planning social events, which is a barrier to meaningful social connections. Trust is important for a successful relationship. Technology can alleviate the stress to act a certain way. Collaboration is more successful than competition.
P2 designed this as a way to build community. They kept in mind the values for tech and the issue described by P3.
We reflected on what worked and what didn’t to redesign the second workshop. I moderated this one.
Ideate the features and form of our tech "solution"
Participants wrote down three values for technology >> Chose from one problem area and told the group a story from their lives >> Swapped boards to design a solution for the problem for another participant but 50 years in the future.
We recruited 4 technologists from our social circle. 1 industrial architect, 1 software dev, 1 HCDE student and 1 epidemiologist.
1.Carrot and the stick — Behavior change through technology is only possible if there are adequate consequences and/or rewards attached to it. Otherwise, people will just ignore it.
2. Social energy for planning — A frequent barrier to greater social connection is the amount of social energy that needs to be spent to organize activities. Space should be created for smaller, shorter, yet still meaningful bonding opportunities.
3. Trust — Trust-building is an important part of living together, and technology should not create barriers to that.
4. Tech mediated interactions — Social pressure to behave a certain way is less keenly felt through electronic interactions.
5. Collaboration > Competition— Collaboration is likely a more powerful tool for helping people bond within a group than competition.
CHALLENGE THREE — We need a way to synthesize all of this research!
Inspired by Near Future laboratory’s work in design fiction and a story shared by our professor called “Mother of invention” I suggested we each write a fictional story centered around our research to —
1. Synthesize our research
2. Ideate and design
How will people evolve and change in response to future technological innovations in the home? What are the pros and cons of a fully intelligent system governing various aspects of home/community life?
Spencer and Jen wrote a short story, I created an advertisement, and Christina generated a dialogue in combination with a comic. This made us realize —
1. All of us “solved” the problems (albeit in our own problematic ways) associated with co-living and focused on the consequences of having no traditional problems and what that meant for human interactions.
2. We could create multiple diegetic artifacts, inspired by my advert.
3. We could either be very explicit about the consequences of this AI we are creating or let the user get to it.
This made us realize that design fiction is the way ahead.
We decided to do another brainstorming session to really understand the form this technological solution might take.
IDEATION & DESIGN
The idea of showing technology through the ages was dropped in favor of designing a co-living community in 2030 that purports to "solve" the traditional problems associated with co-living.
Our idea then took shape in creating a co-living community of the future with the best amenities, something like WeLive.
The storytelling exercise really helped us in finding direction with design fiction, so I suggested we could show gradual impact with 3 decades, 2030, 2040, and 2050.
Each of us individually sketched ideas for the “Evolution of Smart Homes,” over 3 decades, inspired by “Cell phones over the years." The idea was we’d be able to show the gradual impact of technology and juxtapose the changes in human interactions over time.
We had constraints for each decade and took a day to individually brainstorm. When we came together with our ideas however, the world-building required to successfully pull off three full time periods felt daunting and arbitrary. We had no research on the other decades plus time was short. While consulting with Adi Azulay our SME, the idea to build a fictional future co-living community came to us inspired by the likes of WeLive etc.
We decided to go with 2030 because it was far enough into the future for technology to have evolved considerably but near enough for us to make informed speculations.
Our Co-living community of 2030 was made keeping in mind — All AI is Biased. People only change behavior if there are consequences and rewards attached with it. Gamification of tasks leads to more joyful interactions. People are more likely to stay accountable when they are validated and recognized for it. Tech industry has a 'solutionism' problem.
All AI is biased
Sometimes even people who create the AI know what their algorithm is doing but are very unaware of HOW it's doing what it's doing.
Critique the solutionist model
“Solve” the problems of housing identified in research, but then think critically about how those solutions might create further problems.
Consequence and reward
Technologically mediated behavior change is only possible if there are adequate meaningful consequences and/or rewards attached to it. Otherwise, people will just ignore it.
Playful competition encourages good behavior but collaboration is better.
Recognition and validation are important for maintaining accountability.
“Solve”the problems associated with co-living → problematic "well-intentioned but not well-thought-out" technology based solutions, the real fodder for discussion.
Critique the solutions → We designed those solutions knowing that they look good on the surface but are actually thought provoking and not just bad design.
Worldbuild 2030 → Makes for a believable experience which is important to build that empathy for the future and in turn makes the discussion more real.
Create a delightful experience for the audience to go through → People learn better when it is slightly uncomfortable but not downright frustrating, we needed people to experience our project in its entirety.
The Artifacts 1.0
1. A co-living community official website
2. A Medium-esque journalistic critique on the community
3. News article interview with the founders of our fictional company
4. Architectural Digest (interview with resident/in-house tour/lifestyle talk)
5. Other small world-building components, such as advertisements, recommended news articles, social media posts, our AI device, and references to yet-to-happen world events peppered into our deliverables.
If we wanted a discourse around the 'solutionist' approach of tech going beyond just our community we needed a representative of the industry → Our “tech bro-y” CEO persona was created.
We had a very text heavy project and needed something that wasn’t text based → Architectural Digest became a Podcast interview with the CEO and the medium article would include interviews with residents.
The Artifacts 2.0
CO-LIVING COMMUNITY WEBSITE — Ahimsa
NEWS ARTICLE — Augur
“Solve” all the problems associated with co-living and show the promise of the technology.
This was the first diegetic prototype we created, inspired by co-living community websites of the present era. We wanted it to look and feel welcoming yet corporate.
Primarily a world building artifact that introduces the technology and has references to world events of 2030. This includes fake advertisements and "other most read articles."
PODCAST WITH CEO — Tomorrow reimagined interview
CRITIQUE OF IT ALL — Medium article
Really drive in the promise of tech with the “tech bro-y” persona of our CEO. Really highlight the good intentions behind the idea.
The main discursive piece that looks critically at the prosed solutions. This artifact houses all our other artifacts early on so that the user knows exactly what is being critiqued, it is also the only artifact that is not neutral or positive in tone. Finally we needed a place for our readers to discuss & interact, so we added a comments section.
DESIGNING THE FUTURE
We designed the world of 2030 and to make it believable we designed world-building elements like fake adverts, world events, and social media posts. We fleshed out the persona of the CEO of the community. And came up with the amenities and services of the community. We discussed the ability of the AI as well as the concept of House Points and The Games.
To get ourselves into the mindset of the future I recommended creating futuristic advertisements (came to me while watching back to the future) which led to the creation of other diegetic prototypes for the purpose of world building.
Adam Rutledge-Pyke the III was born in a tech family, his father is the 3rd CEO of Apple. Adam wanted to pave his own way, while attending undergrad at the University of Washington Adam found his business partner and started the AI company Cirrus and now he is looking to expand into the co-living market with Ahimsa co-living community.
For our purpose, Adam is a “tech-bro*” AND the tech industry personified:
He wants to help people while also making money.
He has good intentions but lacks foresight and can be misguided.
He is questionable but not irredeemable.
He is flawed but fixable.
*We acknowledge that stereotypes can be harmful but here we are using it as a storytelling device.
Based on these we simultaneously created 3 of our artifacts —
Ahimsa co-living website
— Highlights the promise of tech
— Based on other co-living websites
— Corporate but welcoming
— Positive in tone
Augur News Article
— Primary world building artifact
— Answers - "why co-living?"
— Introduces Ahimsa and the CEO
— Positive-neutral in tone
— Personifying the industry
— Clarify good intentions of the tech.
— Explain the research and rationale
— Explain the amenities and The Games
— Positive-neutral in tone
CHALLENGE FOUR —How do we systematically critique the "solutions"
Our final artifact was going to be the medium article which points out the flaws in the design, this was our most provoking artifact. We had come across the Tarot Cards of Tech in our previous classes and Spencer suggested we use them to help create our final artifact.
We went through the entire deck of cards and juxtaposed our solutions to it. We came up with about 6 pages of data but here are the 4 most salient ones. Hover on the cards to see our application.
Accessibility concerns in The Games, due their frequently physical nature.
Children and families are not welcome, thus starting a family maybe actively discouraged.
Designing the systems for senior citizens would call for a radical re-examination of The Games and HP system.
Discourages outside friendships by not granting points for socializing with non-residents.
Insular nature of building encourages and rewards perpetual adolescence.
The "monetization" of socializing increases pressure to hang out with people, making it even harder on introverts.
Since the rewards of The Games are so desirable, people are liable to cheat.
All communities face the problem of freeloaders, or those who take more than they give.
Forced community/ open door policy could be exploited by predators and make it difficult for victims to to be safe.
The AI acts as a mediator in conflicts, but residents might become over reliant and not develop their over conflict resolution skills.
Non violent communication (NVC) could create a shared language of conflict resolution that aids residents in interpersonal interactions.
This whole system is based in western values and would not work in other cultures that have different social interaction values.
RESEARCH TO QUOTE
We created these forms to show the flow of research to quotes. This helped us with creating our final flow.
Once we had all the research to design quotations we created our final flow. Spence wrote most of our copy, Spence and Jen created the Podcast together, Christina designed the Ahimsa website and the Medium article while I coded all the final websites as well as designed the Augur news article.
This was one of my most challenging and rewarding projects. We tackled methods we did not know
Even when creating fictional artifacts we followed the UCD process. As our professor said, "All products are fictional until they are not."
Create universal discussion piece — I learn't a lot from this process, tackling design fiction through a UCD lens showed us immense potential, we would like to build a structure around how other people could do it as well. Maybe create a workshop or a process.
Further exploration — Our research could be a living document, since it is critiquing the current state of the tech industry we could change our community dynamics as a reflection of society in general. It would be interesting to see how this co-living community evolves, is this the start of the end or does it bring about a revolution?
Create a research guide for doing research for products that don't exist yet — It was very interesting to get people thinking about the future and think about things that don't exist yet. Research in this area is very critical and exciting to me.
All design is storytelling, design fiction just takes that a step further — Design fiction and Speculative design are powerful tools. They should be a part of all UCD processes as they expand the scope of the project to think beyond solutionism.
Trust the process — There was a lot of uncertainty because of the nature of the project as well as COVID, it really helped to have the structure UCD provides, we were able to pick and choose what worked best for us and even when we found ourselves in the weeds we had a plan to work towards.
Ask the experts — The pivot due to COVID would not have been as smooth without our subject matter experts. It really helped to get their critiques as well as learn from their experience.
Friction is good — As a well-rounded team with different experiences we each bought something incredible to the table. Most of the times when we disagreed, we would come out of it with a better direction than we were in before. We pushed each other, albeit respectfully, to be better partitioners.
Constraints can be liberating! — It helps to have certain constraints and work within ther
IF I GOT A REDO
Ideate much sooner! As a researcher on the team it was a joy to be able to do so much research, although as the developer on team I had to really rush to the finish line towards the end.
Redesign Ahimsa website as well as Medium article to look like it's in the 2030, right now they look maybe they could exist in 2025 but we want something more futuristic.
Lockdown — All of our deliverables were influenced by COVID, we had mighty plans to conduct ethnographic research and build physical prototypes, but we pivoted and are happy with the final result but we do wonder if we're able to meet how that would've changed the final outcome.
Text Heavy — There is A LOT to read! We tried to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible but to have the desired affect on people we had to include all our elements.
Provocation Evaluation — We got some critique and feedback from our peers, industry professionals as well as our heroes at near future labs who specialize in design fiction, but we did not get as many comments as we expected to get on the website itself.