Tableau of a colorful magazine cover featuring an illustration of a hand making a peace sign, an eye, and a heart. A pencil, Sharpie, and paint brush lay on top of the magazine. A post-it with a hand-written list “ identity, power, trust” rest atop a framed piece of colorful line art.

Resources for people-centric practice

  • Liberatory Design is an evolution of HCD that centers equity and parity between designer and designee (Tania Anaissie is a champion of this model and has a wonderful piece on reckoning with power imbalances in design thinking);
  • Models of Care by KA McKercher is a toolkit for setting the conditions for genuine collaboration and co-design (their book, Beyond Sticky Notes: Co-Design for Real, is both inspiring and pragmatic).
  • Social Workers Who Design, led by Rachael Dietkus, focuses on trauma-responsive design, research, strategy, and organizational cultures. She talks about what trauma-informed approaches can look like and leads trainings for anyone in the design process to adapt restorative practices that avoid harming or re-harming people and communities.
  • At 3x3, where I am the head of community, we practice community-centered design — an ongoing practice of self-reflection, co-creation, and transformation. We have a toolkit, along with workshops and more resources to support design practitioners, strategists, policymakers, and all folx seeding social transformation by bringing people together.
  • I recently participated in the inaugural Design Justice Pedagogy Summit at the MIT Media Lab, where we got to apply Design Justice principles to decolonizing our syllabi, along with the way to we teach and practice. To explore how to apply these principles to your own work, I recommend starting by reading Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the World We Need by Sasha Costanza-Chock and connecting with a local Design Justice node.
  • As design researchers, it’s our responsibility to ensure participants are valued, respected, and fairly compensated for their contributions. Sarah Fathallah thoroughly details compensation guidelines and why it matters here.
  • This collective of designers, researchers, and scholars is building a living library of inclusive research guidelines — these are particular to doing research with people living with disabilities, but they are helpful in every scenario to make all of our practices less exclusive and more thoughtful.



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Adriana Valdez Young

Adriana Valdez Young

Mother, mixed-methods researcher, faculty at SVA’s MFA in Interaction Design, Head of Community at 3x3, New Yorker.