New Workshop on People First Design

Posted on Monday, 16 January 2017 by Sarah Horton

In digital product design there is a collective movement towards human-centered design—a professional recognition of the damage we can (and do) cause with technology that doesn’t put people’s needs first. As accessibility consultants we regularly encounter ways that technology prevents people with disabilities from participating successfully, in employment, education, and in everyday life. Our accessibility work helps us appreciate the power product designers have over quality of life, and provides insights into how to use that power for good.

We are delivering a new workshop on what we call “People First Design,” exploring practical ways to improve digital product and services by focusing UX efforts on people with disabilities. Our first session is at the IA Summit in Vancouver on March 22nd, which is full-day workshop. We’ll also be offering a half-day workshop at UX Lisbon on May 24th.

People First Design is a new approach to a human-centered design process, strongly influenced by our experience of working with people with disabilities. The workshop is a chance for us to share what what we’ve learned from our user research involving people with disabilities, and the impact it has had on our clients’ approach to inclusive design. And it’s a chance for you to learn and apply an approach to research and design that respects human diversity, to produce more successful products. People First Design sees diversity as an opportunity rather than a complication.

Prioritizing the needs of people can be difficult, given other pressures and objectives. Involving people with disabilities in user research might seem challenging. This workshop helps people working in digital product and service design build strategies and tactics for focusing attention on people with disabilities. Focusing on disability helps concentrate efforts on identifying extreme situations and needs in parallel with routine, common scenarios. The result is a greater understanding of how to design to accommodate diverse scenarios.

We’d love to have you join us!

About Sarah Horton

Sarah worked as TPG‘s Strategy Lead until 2020. She joined TPG in April 2013, after 20 years working as a user experience designer, developer, strategist, and lead in higher education, at Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Harvard University. She has done outreach to improve user experience, including books (Web Style Guide and Access by Design), working groups, presentations, and articles, including an article on web accessibility for the New York Times. Her latest book, with Whitney Quesenbery, is called A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences. Sarah was closely involved with TPG‘s accessible user experience offerings, including usability testing and organizational process reviews.


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