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Design Consciously

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We design consciously to understand the problems we are solving by balancing empathy, and observational and statistical data to meet both user and business goals.

Conscious is defined as perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation. Being capable of designing consciously requires one to look beyond the surface of things. We consider every aspect of how the design can be interpreted by different types of people, while being aware of the unintended consequences that the design can indirectly promote.

We have to question the purpose of the design as well — Will the design be used for good or bad? Does it create a safe place for the users? Working with a diversely represented team can help eliminate personal biases, collect different perspectives, and create awareness which is all the information we can use to better our users’ experience.

We consider user tasks and work towards asking and understanding "why?" To understand and empathize the people we're designing for means that we must listen, keep an open mind, seek out alternative points of view, and design humbly.

Your toolkit

  • Identify specific task(s) an individual tries to do. How will they go about finding the information? How they know they have completed the task? Defining User Tasks [template] 
  • It is important to think about the impact your designs and content will have on visitors and the greater community. Design Ethically has a framework to help you think about the impact through consideration cards [instructions] 
  • Get feedback from your visitors by asking them what they like and what they would change. Interaction Design Foundation has good instructions on I Like, I Wish, What if methodology