Good things can happen
I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting on this Open Day held by the Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design (HCID) at City. Would it all be a bit too technical for me? However, the day proved to be about a community looking at how to do good in all sorts of ways.
To set the day off the keynote was by Dr Daria Lou from Intel corporation. As an engineer, inspired by her own experiences with her elderly mother, she wanted to use her skills for the benefit of mature members of society. Her project, on intelligent systems for ageing to support independent living, was expanded on creatively and sensitively. Daria argued that a participatory design approach was key because people do not stop being engineers or teachers or artists whatever their age so really emphasising an inclusive approach.
Lots of sessions followed with some things that I had not thought about at all such as how to design for financial services. This was an illuminating talk by David Caldwell from Barclays at ways the finance industry designs for vulnerabilities; an example was a well known online bank that will disable a gambling block on your phone only after you have spoken to one of their staff members and then waited a further 48 hours.
In other sessions I found out that voice sensors will probably be increasingly popular with the over 55 age group and that accessibility overlaps usability. How United Nations sustainable development goals are used to stimulate creative design thinking in the City University’s Master’s degree in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership and that PHD researchers on urban city farms can go native.
So overall a really interesting day. However, what did I take away with me for my own practice in educational technology? Well, a participatory approach in all projects is obviously worth looking at and that good design is good design regardless of age or other factors,something highlighted by James Gadsby Peet from the design agency William Jospeh.
Indeed good design principles were at the core of a project at City on inclusive digital design for people with aphasia, which is a communication impairment that can affect some people after a stroke or brain injury. One of the project’s goals focused on visual communcation, this can of course be useful to many groups of people or learners as well. The project produced a great poster of dos and don’ts of designing digital interactions for people with language difficulties that you can download here.
I have also always been very interested in the idea of communities working together at a local level despite or in contrast to what is going on in a global context and so was intrigued by a talk about Digital security by Lizzie Coles-Kemp. The idea that inclusive digital security matters to all and that a secure society is a happy society really struck me. Marginalised groups excluded from basic digital services are not only affected economically but emotionally and socially as well; it is this low digital resilience that can tip people over even more. So surely this is something that in education generally we should be talking about more? How can we support students in strengthening their digital resilience as part of their digital capabilities?
Lastly, one of the last key notes by Ann Light ‘Good tech: sharing for precarious times’ came back to the point of resilience at a community level. After reclaiming back from the gig economy the true meaning of the word sharing she told us lovely stories about initiatives in places like Brixton (my own home turf). Small businesses and craft people collaborating and sharing, all juxtaposed with the use of technology, to bring about real benefits to their community. An optimistic note to end on, particularly in these unsettled times.
For all the presentations from the HCID Open Day. https://hcidopenday.co.uk/