Students and teachers spend their days subjected to policies, guidelines, and mandates that they rarely have any say in. Why is that? If we develop policies, guidelines, programs, even buildings with rather than for students and teachers, the result can be a success for all.
Lisa Nielsen takes us through a real-world example of participatory design, or co-designing. In this instance, Nielsen’s team did so unwittingly, proving once again that user experience is not some far-fetched pseudoscience. It is a collection of things that we, as social being, often do without thinking.
The “design” and “research” comes into play when we become conscious of those habitual behaviors. Practicing awareness is one of the core characteristics of a good user experience designer and advocate.
Notice, however, that what Nielsen’s group did with participatory design is not a comprehensive user experience task. She notes that her team “invited ongoing feedback,” but did not collect and analyze data in a reliable way. Co-designing is one of the more fallible forms of UX design. What people say the want is only sometimes what they need. I like to view co-designing as a great jumping off point, especially if we don’t have a fully fleshed-out design already in mind. Without testing the design that results from a collaborative effort, we run the risk of a superficial or suboptimal product.