Class 5: Users, Communities, Co-design

After discussing our spatial visualizations in the first part of today’s class, we’ll then spend the rest of class talking about users, co-creators, and everyone else outside our projects and departments. This will culminate in a user persona exercise.

Our guest critic from last week, Becky Hurwitz, will give a short talk about the history and theory of co-design, and how her class at MIT Center for Civic Media has contributed to the field. You can follow along through the not-yet-live Civic Design Toolkit site. After Q&A with Becky, we’ll then try a modified version of this user persona exercise. I’ve set up a shared Google Doc for any links and images that we may find during the exercise.

Many of us have experience working with users through methods like clinical trials or product testing, but co-design is, arguably, rarely applied outside of fields of social justice, social change, and humanitarian work. With that in mind, I think it will be an interesting exercise to apply concepts of co-design to our quantified self location projects. I myself have not applied co-design to any of my quantified self projects, so I’m excited to give it a try based on our findings from this class.

Other Resources: I’ve also found the IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit to be quite handy. Since my experience with co-design was centered on Indonesia, I used the Solo Kota Kita (Firm Foundation) Social Design Field Guide quite a bit, and I think it can be translated to many other projects and regions. In translating user studies to the academic domain, Creswell’s Research Design is a great, short overview of how to develop academic, user-centered studies.

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