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An Inconvenient Truth and information design

World Usability Day presentation

On November 14, 2006, I presented at the Chicago World Usability Day. My focus was on usability and government, so I talked about some of the research results from my German Marshall Fund, American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, trip to Europe this past summer.

Download Tunstall_WUD06_lo.pdf (1.1 MB in Adobe PDF format)

The title of the presentation was "Design + Governmentality: Comparative perspectives on government receptiveness to citizen-centered design." I defined citizen-centered design as:

A design philosophy and process in which citizens’ everyday knowledge is given extensive attention and inclusion in civic decision-making from policy formation, its implementation, evaluation, and redesign.

I proposed seven factors, the presence of which, indicates potential receptiveness to citizen-centered design:

1_Tradition of direct democracy
2_Citizens’ special interest groups
3_Formal /informal design policy
4_High status of design and usability
5_Design and usability professionals
6_Design and usability education
7_Tradition of user-centered design

I then compared the factors across the US, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Basque Region in Spain, and Finland. I did not travel to Finland for the AMMF, but it seems to have the current strongest indicators for a citizen-centered design so I included it. Poland has the lowest factors for citizen-centered design, mostly based on its absence of any government support of design and usability.

Overall it was well received. People came up a told me how they appreciated my emphasis on how usability can affect governance (the majority of the other presentations were business focused).

So next steps is to write it up as a formal academic essay, so any feedback would be appreciated.

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