Visual Advocacy: Reading Questions


question: where do you land in the argument of more activist methods of design research and imposing the designers (or client’s) values through the design, versus remaining a neutral party that supports the audience’s existing needs? why?

In many situations, imposing your values over the audience’s can lead to problems and an unsuccessful design. While the client may be paying you for the job, designers have the responsibility to understand the audience and how that may relate to a bigger picture or issue. We are (perhaps unintentionally) acting on our values when choosing our employer, what kinds of projects we work on, and even in our own design processes. Knowing how we are influencing a user, behaviorally or mentally, can change how we might address a problem. Persuasion design has been used for a long time, especially in marketing and advertising. I agree with the article when questioning if persuasion design leads to positive behavior change (such as stop smoking or saving money), is it still bad design? There is a line between manipulation and persuasion, especially if being used for negative changes. Overall I don’t think there is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to these questions, but both sides have convincing arguments.


question: what are a few methods from this toolkit that you could implement into your design research for this project? what information do you expect you would get?

The 2nd scenario of toolkit use called “Several-Month Deep Dive” reminded me the most of the type of project we are tackling in class. By taking time to do detailed research in the beginning, you will better understand the complex problem which will help in later stages. Research strategies I could use in my VA project include capturing user stories to gain empathy and understanding, conducting expert interviews (especially in the health industry) with not only patients but care providers, and community-driven discovery to allow for community involvement and participation. When creating and designing for my problem, I could utilize participatory co-design to connect with my audience and get audience feedback, extract key insights to inspire new ideas and solutions, and find themes to analyze how my problem is related to others. I think the better I can investigate and understand a specific problem, the better chance I have of making an impactful solution.

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