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UX design thinking for co-design

Kathryn Dingle

Last week I attended an introduction to UX Design workshop by General Assembly. This got me thinking about to apply UX design, not only to our digital product, but how this relates to the process of co-design we will be taking.

Most talk about user involvement in designing services, and only think of UX/UI design when thinking about producing digital products. However, UX design can be applied to any interaction a user has with a service or product. There are many ways to define UX design, but they all centre around the idea of designing systems that meet the objectives and needs of users and offers a great experience for users.

I believe UX design and user involvement are different ways of thinking that achieve the same goal.

User involvement is all about designing and delivering solutions ‘with’ people rather than ‘to’ people. This way, power is shared and better answers are found. They both have the shared goal of creating positive experiences for people using your product or services, by working with them. It is about involving the users of support in the creation and development of the support, so that it leads to a positive experience.  The difference being that users of a co-design process have more control of the decision making process once they have shared their insights.

We should however broaden the idea that UX design is for digital products and think about them both concepts when creating a co-design process, or indeed any service or organisation’s culture (thanks for the comment below Hillary!) It should be about how a user interacts with your overall services (products may be included in this) and your organisation/brand as a whole. We should be thinking about creating a great experience for the user at as every touch point we have, regardless of the method (face-to-face, online, etc.)

This means UX design principles can be applied to both the production of our digital solution AND the experience we give the young people who are co-designing the product. By speaking to the young people themselves, we can understand and design the co-design process to meet their needs and interests.

UX design is a new way of thinking for me, so I would love to know how you have found creating a meaningful co-design process for young people. Comment below and share your ideas!

Comments 2

  1. User involvement in designing services may be usefully broadened to organisational development – many of the young people we work with have exciting insights which penetrate the ‘this is what we do’ bubble.

    1. Absolutely Hillary – I couldn’t agree more. That completely slipped my mind because I was thinking of the project specifically (we work mainly with charities and funders, rather than young people directly,) but that is a really valid point. I will update my post now to reflect this! Do you have any good examples of how you have worked with young people to shape your projects or organisational culture? I’d love to hear more!

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