Cards and Guidelines

Ayotte, Dana dayotte at
Tue Aug 16 19:33:09 UTC 2016

Hi Jutta (and all),

Based on your feedback, as well as our discussion at the community meeting last week and a recent discussion we had about our IDRC resources (specifically the relationship between the Learning Handbook, Design Handbook and the Guide), we were thinking that as a start to reorganising the Guide, we would replace the term “Principles” with “Perspectives”, and would include the three dimensions as well. I’m thinking to make overlapping connections between the Dimensions and Perspectives in the same way that we do now between Principles and Practices etc. And we’ll retain the Practices, Tools and Activities as-is, and hope to add some examples of the Guide in practice in specific contexts.

Does that sound good to you, as a start? Ultimately I want to avoid a presentation that represents a strict hierarchical mapping.
In the long term, I have a vision of an animated and interactive diagram that shows the dimensions ever shifting places, overlapping and changing size, with the perspectives growing out of them in some way.


Dana Ayotte
Inclusive Designer
Inclusive Design Research Centre
OCAD University<><>

On Aug 10, 2016, at 10:22 AM, Dana Ayotte <dana.ayotte at<mailto:dana.ayotte at>> wrote:

Hi Jutta,

Thank you for your reply! It’s very helpful.

I agree it would be good to replace the term Principles with insights or facets growing out of the dimensions. I have been thoughtful about how to present the dimensions and their relationship to the “Principles" as we have been developing the guide. As you say, they are messy in a good way - unbounded, overlapping, etc.  I’m excited to brainstorm some creative ways we can present them in both the cards and the online guide.

I also feel a discomfort with personas and the conflict around encouraging co-design while at the same time promoting personas as a tool. Your point about how they remove the multi-faceted, unexpected requirements the users may reveal is such an important one - I’m thoughtful about how we might address this in the guide. Since personas are such a commonly-used design tool, it seems like it might be a good idea to address the limitations rather than just leave it out altogether. While at the same time encouraging a co-design process.

We’ll give some more thought to how we can clearly communicate that the activities and tools are extensible - particularly online. I can imagine that once we get more of an authoring environment up and running with the guide (one that allows choosing and printing a personal collection of cards etc) it could also allow someone to temporarily author their own content, as well as submit the content to our repository - perhaps we could add these to the guide as community-generated contributions in some way (which would encourage others to do the same).

We’ve now got the Inclusive Design Mapping Tool up on the site in the Activities section (, but we’ve still got User States and Contexts in the Tools section. It sounds like you’re suggesting that we remove User States and Contexts altogether, is that right? Our thinking around it was that the US&C tool provides a way to more quickly map out one or more users’ needs - and provides a way to compare different users and ensure that a broad range of needs are being covered. The Mapping Tool seems to be more of an in-depth process of looking at how a specific design solution meets the needs of a particular user or user-group. If we keep the US&C tool, perhaps we can communicate its limitations more clearly in the guide and provide some cautionary suggestions as to how to use it.

I look forward to discussing further at today’s community meeting!


On Aug 10, 2016, at 5:57 AM, Treviranus, Jutta <jtreviranus at<mailto:jtreviranus at>> wrote:

Hi Dana,
I missed this message yesterday, apologies.

I can provide some input before the meeting.

Generally, I don’t want to give the impression that there is a fixed or distinct number of principles. This is what I was trying to avoid when choosing dimensions over principles. Principles communicate a hubris that we are somehow all knowing and prescient and have somehow arrived at a cardinal set of rules. Dimensions are not bounded and they are part of each other. They also don’t claim to be of the same type or of the same weight. This is why I expressed what you are calling principles as aspects of the dimensions. I wanted to create a system that allowed an organic growth of insights, these aha moments that drive a deeper understanding of the field. I’ve certainly been experiencing this when I realize the aptness of the dimensions each time I apply them.

Can we get away from using the term principles? Can we put in insights or facets of the dimensions?

I also want to communicate the notion that activities and tools are extensible, people can add to them and create new ones. The blank cards are good for this. Can we do this in other ways as well?

I want to get away from any hint of deficit thinking and the idea that we know all the facets of a user or their context that we need to consider. This is one of my discomforts with the User States and Contexts tool and part of why I wanted to morph it. I’ve discussed before why I want to further explore the Inclusive Design Mapping Tool - to communicate that we stretch our designs, include the middle or average in that stretching and inclusion, etc.

I’m believing less and less in persona and the way we arrive at persona. There is definitely an engagement of the design team (it is fun) but there is also a smugness and self-satisfaction with our own creativity. The more we add “life-like” qualities to the persona the more we think we have been in some way right or better. It is a ruse for really talking to and engaging real users who have difficulty using or can’t use the current designs. Even when we base our persona on research regarding edge users, the process of creating a persona removes the multi-faceted unexpected requirements the users may reveal. The requirements are only as multi-faceted and dynamic as our imagination and ability to keep complexity in our focus while we are designing. I want to significantly rethink this area. I do not want to give prominence to persona as a tool. I want to stress co-design.

We can discuss this more in the meeting as well.


On Aug 9, 2016, at 11:49 AM, Dana Ayotte <dana.ayotte at<mailto:dana.ayotte at>> wrote:

Hi Jutta,

I wanted to follow up on this since we’ll be discussing the guide at the community meeting tomorrow - I wondered if you could provide feedback about the guide/principles structure before then, and/or would you like to discuss it at the meeting tomorrow?



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