Participatory design is at the core of building systems that help users accomplish their goals, whether you’re helping reporters talk privately with their sources online, or helping conference attendees meet new people through the design of social spaces.
Good systems help participants learn as they work, but designing for efficacy and learning becomes much more complicated when your users have adversaries who want them to fail. This is especially true because success at working around failures and adversaries requires designing for whole communities, not just individuals.
We’ll look at what it takes to design to support adversarial tasks, talk about a couple of simple tools to make it easier, and along the way see how participatory design is being adapted to a new domain – which can hopefully help you adapt it to yours.
Eleanor Saitta is a hacker, designer, artist, writer, and barbarian. She makes a living and a vocation of understanding how complex, transdisciplinary systems and stories fail and redesigning them to fail better. Eleanor is a co-founder of the Trike project, a member of the advisory boards at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Geeks Without Bounds, and the International Modern Media Institute, a contributor to the Briar project, and freelance security architecture and strategy consultant to news organizations and NGOs. She is nomadic and lives mostly in airports and occasionally in New York, London, and Stockholm. She can be found at dymaxion.org and on Twitter as @dymaxion.