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Accountability In Design - Our History Will Be What We Make It

Fece36d125415ab447e902f9f0aa8764?s=47 Jeff Parks
April 10, 2014

Accountability In Design - Our History Will Be What We Make It

Watch my entire presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRFoFVHz79Q

Watch follow-up interview after my opening keynote address https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utF0YC7f1A4

As the opening keynote for "UX Poland - The Human Experience" I wanted to focus on the fundamental issues facing designers today and over the past decade. The inspiration from the ideas shared came from conversations with thought leaders around the world in every design discipline, conversations in mentoring over 100 designers, and my own experiences with clients from the fortune 50, Government, and non-profits over my 15 + year career in User Experience.

I drew on inspiration from Edward R. Murrow, poet Taylor Mali, Charles Eames, Bauhaus, Alisan Atvur (propelland), Kara Pecknold (frog), Harvard graduates Julia Silverman and Jessica Matthews, Alfredo Moser (Brazil), Michio Kaku and many more.

All of which aligned to tell a story on how we as a design community need to focus on the areas of legitimacy, responsibility, and courage to begin looking at accountability as more than just a result, but rather a deeper meaning - one of an intrinsic characteristic. In so doing, earning the trust and respect of leaders in business, academia, and engineering in helping to facilitate understanding and change that will benefit all in the end.


Jeff Parks

April 10, 2014


  1. Accountability In Design “Our history will be what we make

    it.” UX Poland 2014 Opening Keynote by Jeff Parks
  2. Accountability should be viewed as an ! intrinsic characteristic.

  3. * Everyone experiences a sense of individuality and 

    * There is a capacity to express compassion and to develop close relationships. ! * A way of reacting with spontaneity, integrity, and integration. ! * There is a drive towards actions, self-expression, and creative experiences. ! * There is an ability to reason and exchange ideas with others. Accountability as an Intrinsic Characteristic
  4. Two human process theories of: ! Detection, Search, and Attention

    - Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977
  5. Click, Whirr! Responding

  6. None
  7. Click, Whirr! “…rather than thinking about an expert’s arguments and

    being convinced (or not), we frequently ignore the arguments and allow ourselves to be convinced just by the expert’s status as ‘expert’.”! - Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977
  8. Controlled Responding

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  10. Controlled Responding “…the tendency to react on the basis of

    a thorough analysis of all of the information…”! - Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977
  11. Think!

  12. I’m going to challenge your…

  13. Assumptions

  14. Beliefs

  15. Processes

  16. I want to provide you with a framework for your

    own thinking…
  17. …by starting in the past.

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  20. Edward R. Murrow

  21. Edward R. Murrow Speech! October 1958 Speech

  22. 60 years later…! New Medium. Same Struggles.

  23. We Struggle with…

  24. Legitimacy

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  32. “In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the

    situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.” Pluralistic Ignorance - Robert B. Cialdini
  33. “…the real value of education … has almost nothing to

    do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness.” - David Foster Wallace
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  35. “Eventually, everything connects!” - Charles Eames

  36. “…evidence of decadence, escapism, and isolation from the realities of

    the world in which we live.” - Edward R. Murrow
  37. We Struggle with…

  38. Courage

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  40. - Alisan Atvur “[Courage is…] Enduring fear to do the

    right thing.”
  41. Human Experiences

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  44. StoryCorps! What Do You Feel You've Learned from Cancer?

  45. “The amygdala doesn’t have the capacity to deal with long

    term consequences of our actions, only fight or flight.” - Daniel Goleman
  46. To question without arguing. ! To ask “why” without attacking.

  47. Taylor Mali Words and Their Consequences (starts at 15:20)

  48. “We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent.” - Edward

    R. Murrow
  49. We Struggle with…

  50. Responsibility

  51. Responsibility for our actions.

  52. Modern design was born from the marriage of art and

    industry at 901 Washington Blvd. in San Francisco
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  56. “I can teach you how to draw. If you can

    think and you can see and you can prove that to me, you can work here.” - Charles Eames
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  59. “It was more than just a search for the best

    change in design. It was always a process of learning by doing… We would never delegate understanding.” - Eames’ employee
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  61. “Much of the time, people attribute what happens to them

    to events close in time and space, when in reality it’s the result of the dynamics of the larger system within which they are embedded.” - John Sterman (MIT)
  62. “The social implications of this research are staggering… If boring

    environments, stressful noises, and the organisms particular slot in the dominance hierarchy, all impact the architecture of the brain - and Gould’s team has proven that they do - then the playing field isn’t level. Poverty and stress aren’t just an idea - they are an anatomy! Some brains never even have a chance.” - Dr. Elizabeth Gould Neurologist
  63. “…is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us.”

    - Edward R. Murrow
  64. Illuminate and Inspire

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  71. “Junior” designers please stand up!

  72. “You don’t get benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting

    your execution over and over to get closer to your goal… You have to tweak the system by pushing…allowing for more errors at first as you increase your limits.” - Anders Ericson
  73. “Senior” designers please stand up!

  74. “We ought to be able to do better at least

    for them, if not, for opening for business.” - Larry Lessig
  75. “Human Consciousness is a process of creating a model of

    our world in space and time (especially the future) by evaluating many feedback loops in various parameters in order to achieve a goal.” - Michio Kaku
  76. ! “When we all light up we can scare away

    the dark!” - Passenger Jimmy Fallon - Tonight Show Performance
  77. “I began by saying that our history will be what

    we make it…”
  78. “Good night, and good luck!” UX Poland 2014 @jeffparks http://www.kinaole.ca