• 97 to 00 – Fine arts degree
• 00 to 08 – Technology for social change:
• Web design for community orgs
• Women & tech advocacy & trainer
• Media literacy training with youth
• 06 to 08 – Masters degree in media studies
• 08 to 13 – Kids media development:
• User research design
• User experience design
• Game design
• Game literacy
• Co-design as a research methodology
• Health and wellness gaming
• NEW: Service design & digital service
MAIN CURIOSITIES / QUESTIONS:
• Relationship between service design &
• Designing with stakeholders
• Emotional health through game play
and game design
• Game literacy as a critical discourse.
LongStory is a progressive and queer-positive
dating game that helps players sandbox
healthy relationships and sexuality
Conducted preliminary focus group & game jam, plus six
playtest parties during development cycle for first episode.
Second episode should be out in November. Currently we
are victims of our own success.
Thought Spot is a live map designed by students, for
students in the Greater Toronto Area. The map allows
students to easily identify and access health and
wellness services, and discover resources that are
relevant to their experiences, situation, and location.
Partners: CAMH, U of T Ryerson,
OCADU, Connex, Kids Help Phone
Resources mapped: 900 +
End result: 90% student-driven
Students were directly responsible for all phases of
the project: Design ,development, build, marketing
right up to the launch of the website.
Tension at the outset of Thought Spot project
stemmed from students lack of involvement
as ‘initiators’ of the project.
Important to think about how much ownership
stakeholders will have at the end project. Are
they being invited in early enough?
Hint for public organizations: Involve end
users in the grant process.
• Required great deal of trust from
• First time hiring & managing student-only
• Bottom up approach to design,
production & distribution of project.
• Data review & hygiene
• Content & taxonomy development
• Mapping workshop design,
coordination, and delivery
• Website UX & design
• Marketing & Social
Hack for mental health
Date: Nov 7 – 9, 2014
Where: Ryerson DMZ
Growth of trust = growth of participation
Institutions are present in all phases. As their comfort with the
process grows, role evolves to facilitate & support broader
range of stakeholder contributions.
COLLABORATIVE DESIGN IS A CONTINUUM
High Involvement: Stakeholders design the end product
Low Involvement: Stakeholder feedback and concepts shared
with the people responsible for the final product.
• Provide materials and a
design goal. “no open field”
• Make sure assignment is
reasonable within time frame.
• Have users explain their
design process to gain
understanding about their
• Do not promise that the
results of the workshop will be
turned into a final product.
Itir and Sonny make a game about financial literacy
• Users relax and feel ownership over the environment if
they can make a material contribution.
• Users design decisions give insight into emotional
experiences of a product and their expectations.
• User design decisions are not art or technical direction.
They are emotional & experiential cues.
• Reality of making the ‘dream’ product helps users see the
dilemmas designers face, so feedback can be more
TRUST YOUR MVP
• Make & test a minimum
• No ‘help’ from
• Watch users see what
is missing from the
• Don’t assume
something simple won’t
be ‘good’ enough.
Playtesting our first build at a coffee shop.
TRUST YOUR MVP
• Much cheaper to test & fail early.
• Users tell you what is missing instead of your designer having to
anticipate their every need.
• Much of what you think is a requirement is actually just a feature.
• Your user will know if something important is wrong.
• Have users interview each
other regarding an experience
both have had using the same
product under similar
• Users can co-play a game
• Focus is on user interactions
with each other in relation to
Miguel and Naz play a prototype together
• If users are shy or may not give researchers an honest answer
they often do better playing with a friend, family member or
• Gives researcher more time to circulate and observe. Can listen
to tapes or read transcripts later to get even more information.
• Can provide insight into how a product will function socially –
which aspects inspire connection & conversation & which are
better as a solo experience.
• Tendency to involve stakeholders too late.
– Or too early, when you have no idea what you want
and give users too much responsibility to choose a
• Ask for help once you know enough about
project scope and required deliverables that
you can give meaningful support to their
Want to learn more?