Designing Globally, Thinking Locally: An Argument for Design Workflow Virtualization

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Information about Designing Globally, Thinking Locally: An Argument for Design Workflow...

Published on February 24, 2014

Author: GuiseppeGetto



In this presentation for the Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (, we present an argument for "design workflow virtualization." This is a fancy term for processes for including globally dispersed and culturally diverse stakeholders within UX design projects.


WHAT WE’LL COVER  The State of Global UX Research  What Is “Design Workflow Virtualization?”  From Global Users to Local Stakeholders  Implications

STATE OF GLOBAL UX RESEARCH  User-Centered Design (UCD)  “To maximize the usability of a product, the user should be involved from the product’s inception.” – Courage and Baxter  Design as requirements gathering followed by iteration  UCD paradigm does not go far enough towards including users within actual design processes – Sharon, Buley, Getto  User Experience Design (UX) as contextual, participatory design  Persona (or archetypal user) development  Design process is built from “user’s own goals and measures” –

STATE OF GLOBAL UX RESEARCH, 2  Problems when addressing international users  The problem of “factoid-based” design – Axtel  The issue of context of use and adaptive technology – van Reijswold  Not localization but transcreation – Schaeler  Designing with internati onal users  Requires a new set of considerations – Ghemawat; Quesenbery&Szu; Sun; Rau, Plocher, &Choong  Many (most?) large-scale product deployments in the West rely on solely Western user bases  Designers should thus “localize” their research methodologies – Sun  Response of UX designers in the West to localization is persona development  But does this process rely on a Westernized notion of individuality (an individual represents the whole)? When does persona development stop?

“DESIGN WORKFLOW VIRTUALIZATION?”  “Workflow virtualization”: distributed work of any kind in a virtual environment (e.g. outsourcing)  Tax prep work  Medical records processing  Basic legal brief processing  “Design workflow virtualization”: distributed design work in a virtual environment (e.g. code, interface design, user research, user testing, etc.)  Examples  Github   Treejack


“DESIGN WORKFLOW VIRTUALIZATION?”, 2  What is the need?  International online access  Global deregulation of professions/services  Offshoring markets (cheaper, faster, and better?)  International online markets and storefronts  On-site transcreationand more . . .

FROM GLOBAL USERS TO LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS  “Design locally, think globally” becomes “design globally, think locally”  Cultural issues: what are the assumptions, values, and practices that international users bring with them into online environments?  Technological issues: what tools, skills, resources, and preferences do users bring with them?  Global issues: what large-scale contexts, environments, and architectures are users accustomed to operating in?  Local issues: what micro-level contexts, environments, and interfaces are users accustomed to?


FROM GLOBAL USERS TO LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS, 2  Question from before: when does persona development stop?  Qi, the busy international student enrolled in an accelerated summer writing course, version 1  Cultural issues: truly valued and wanted to learn digital technologies; unafraid of trying them out; from a province in China that had successfully blocked access to most social media platforms  Technological issues: very proficient in Standard Edited American English; also proficient in several digital technologies (e.g. QQ, HTML, etc.); preferred to communicate in SEAE in school settings  Global issues: used to dealing with multiple digital platforms at once; multi -tasker  Local issues: very outspoken student in class; seemed trusted by other students; was often the first to present problems others were having; taking multiple accelerated classes at once

FROM GLOBAL USERS TO LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS, 3  Question from before: when does persona development stop?  Qi, the team leader, version X  Cultural issues: was an early adopter of all technologies I introduced; very critical of attempts to block citizen access to technology  Technological issues: introduced QQ as a way for student teams in the class to collaborate in a bi-lingual and networked space  Global issues: helpful with improving overall class workflow  Local issues: became a kind of student representative for technological and linguistic issues his peers were having

FROM GLOBAL USERS TO LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS. 4  Answer: persona development should never stop  Fold international users into UX processes when they are potential end-users  UX methods are messy, but that’s okay – Sharon  Personas as “archetypal users” (i.e. subject positions) – Turner, Quesenbery, Foucault  UX strategy vs. simple iteration  Discussion guide (collection of personas) OR other deliverables as living documents/containers of an ongoing investigation

IMPLICATIONS  Achieving cheaper, faster, and better with UX methods (airfare vs. using an ICT)  Accessing international co -workers and clients successfully  Increasing global participation in markets  Expanding education on an international (and bi -directional) level  Avoiding (hopefully) international legal issues

THINGS FOR DISCUSSION  Topics for future research  Opportunities in education  Roles of different fields/professions  Skills for addressing situations

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