Camp Digital 2018

A summary of the talks I attended at Camp Digital 2018 at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Ending It. Emotionally, Responsibly, With Your Business Intact – Joe Macleod

With death becoming less visible in society, we expect perpetual heavenly consumption.

Consumer narrative structures are unusual in that they don’t have endings.

Consumer packaging often avoids recognising the real end of a product. So people generally aren’t aware of the fact that they can recycle old electronics.

Designing for endings and multiple engagement is a good idea:

  • Permitting no fault divorce reduces suicide.
  • Even the best gyms have 30% of people leaving per year. So design a good ending experience to get people back later on if they’re a serial gym-leaver.
  • 50% of new financial product consumers leave within 90 days.
  • 71% of app users stop within 90 days.
  • GDPR and the right to be forgotten empower people to initiate endings. How might you make it easier for that person to come back? (GDPR is generally thought of as about privacy and data. But it’s also an opportunity to design for endings, and tidying things up.)

Designing from the perspective of novelty is bad:

  • The promise of novelty:  New process, materials, products -> an improved life.
  • Not sustainable.
  • Fails to provide individual reflection about consomption. Doesn’t acknowledge scarcity.

Designing from the perspective of endings is better:

  • Design something from the perspective of the end of its use.
  • Plan for recycling and for repeat use.
  • Reclaim resources
  • Reflect on consumption
  • Develop and design new things.

What does a good closure experience look like?

Consciously connected to the rest of the experience through emotional triggers that are actionable by the user in a timely manner.

Some well-designed ending experiences:

  • Epson’s PaperLab gives a visible ending and rebirth as it devours old paper and makes new paper.
  • Marie Kondo’s Tidying Technique includes a thankful, meaningful goodbye to things that we have consumed.
  • Fair phone lets users access their phone’s insides and update it.
  • Kia cars plan for death in 7 years. This opens up the chance for them to sell more.Increase in market share from  1.3 to 3.5% due to the 7-year warranty.  No change in design or price point.

Navigating the ethical minefield of digital design – Per Axbom

We’re hearing a call for ethics because people are being harmed by digital.

Some examples of design hurting people:

One terminally ill person shared their prognosis on Facebook, but Facebook didn’t show this update to their friends. Their friends had no idea they were ill. They probably died thinking that no-one cared.

Grindr exposing HIV status to other companies.

Of people who are getting hurt by design, mostly it’s happening unknowingly.

Can you map out the 1st, 2nd and 3rd order effects of your work?
Eating chocolate is good in the moment, but has negative 2nd and 3rd order effects. Exercising is the reverse. How do you prioritise between them?

Good Inclusive Design is changing how we deliver public services – Katy Arnold, Head of User Research, Home Office

How to do it:

  • Hire people with access needs
    Diverse teams are more likely to design well for diversity.
  • Dedicated people and time
    Even if you don’t have budget. You might need to do it on top of the day job. Build networks with different organisations and groups to help you recruit users with different accessibility needs. As soon as you can, dedicate money and people to design.
  • Set a high bar
    e.g. “include 1 person with an access need in each round of user research”. This has helped push contextual research, as you want to test in context with a user’s own devices and setup, not just in a lab environment. It also makes you think about ethics, consent and data protection. So the Home Office team joined the Market Research Society and got their researchers tested.
  • Support innovation
    e.g. Home Office sharing posters with accessibility tips.
  • Leadership
    Provide cover for good work. Set expectations . Reinforce the approach. Give practical support.

Building a new digital culture – Eve Critchley, Gareth John

The team wanted to move “From helpdesk to strategic partner”, and to encourage people away from tactically chasing individual pots of funding.

The team asked “What’s the biggest problem we need to solve?”
Mind is good at information provision. But next steps for information-seekers to take aren’t always clear. This is the most important problem to solve.

3 goals:

  1. empowering information at all touchpoints
  2. marketing and income generation
  3. using digital to improve the way the organisation works

Some tips on getting colleagues on board with change:

  • 1:1 at the start of the transformation process helped understand pain points and desires. This seeded future conversations making the case for change.
  • These champions were cultivated over time.
  • Competitor research, including out of sector. But you don’t want to go too far with this because each charity serves a different set of user needs.
  • Opportunity cost and ROI are useful frameworks to build shared understanding.
  • Some pieces of collateral or public decision-making act as boundary objects.  They render the project visible and intelligible to people on the outside and help them feel involved.
  • Build buy-in incrementally.
  • Storytelling helps.

Tech, polyphony and power – Ella Fitzsimmons

“You can’t control the story anymore, but you can choose what to emphasize”

https://twitter.com/AmyMcNichol/status/991691656025034755

Stories are political

CIA sponsored abstract expressionism, to boost American soft power, combating USSR’s Soviet Realism.
Abstraction was interpreted as about being a space for free, Western individuals. Societ realism showed lots of people working joyfully together, implicitly focusing on social confirmity.

The Iowa Writers’ workshop was also sponsored by the CIA. Individualistic, senses-driven, narrow, quirky, materialist, warm stories. Not about systems, ideas, injustices or castles in the sky, which was more the USSR style.

Most of the stories we tell today are about heroes

In the hero’s journey narrative, tech startup garages are the liminal or otherworldly space.

The heroes journey narrative for tech sector is:

  • kind of an outsider (A bit of a lie – rich and well-educated)
  • uniquely gifted (See above)
  • moments of doubt
  • perseveres
  • returns with the elixir

What happens when a heroic CEO is the centre of the company’s vision and what it builds?

It encourages certain kinds of personalities and behaviours, and the centralisation of power. It bleeds into the rest of your work – e.g. your software. It also leaves the organisation vulnerable, and shapes unrealistic expectations of a single person.

What can we do to change this?

  • Change the stories, bring new people in.
  • Amplify different voices.
  • Show individuality without setting people up as heroes.
  • Start to tell stories about many people.
  • Facilitate other people telling stories.
  • Shine Theory.  Amplify the ideas of other people to start raising expectations.
  • Who is quoted matters. Don’t just quote heterosexual cisgendered white men.
  • “Attribution is a revolutionary activity”. Show the community of people that you are part of. Disrupts the idea of lone genuises.

Scenius – the genius of the scene. Jobs: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

  • Show what people do, not just what they look like.
  • Ask, ask again, and offer support.
  • Talk about money, both with people who are like you, and with people who aren’t
  • Mix up who works on important projects
  • Ask someone new to do the boring work.
  • Give people time to prepare for presentations