The Designers Accord

16 Jan 2008 - 2:15am
6 years ago
20 replies
840 reads
Greg Petroff
2004

http://www.designersaccord.org/
>From our brothers and sisters in the IDSA there seems to be more
movement in and around sustainability and understanding issues of
environmental impact then I have seen discussed within our community.
I think the outlines of this accord are quite good. How do you think
IxDA could play a role in meeting its' implied challenge?
What is the interaction design practitioner's responsibility around
sustainability and understanding the environmental impact of the
decisions we make and the designs we create?
--greg

Comments

16 Jan 2008 - 11:27am
Charles Adler
2008

Designers Accord is actually something I've just recently heard of
(last night actually).

As far as their challenge/mission/principles go, I too think they've
done a great job. It's simple really. Teach and influence others by
surfacing the topic while working with teams or clients. It brings
green into the conversation.

I think they use the term "designer" very broadly, and as designers
of experiences (or however you phrase it personally) we too are
designers. We're certainly part of the design process.

As an example, I've been helping my Mom start her business (Raw food
cleansing, catering, and counseling) and through the process of
developing her identity, we've had multiple conversations about
using bio-degradable and recyclable/recycled materials in her
communications (business cards, brochures) and drinks & food
containers (bottles, trays, etc).

The interesting thing about this process is it is so very hard to
find manufacturers of certain products (such as biodegradable bottles
- corn based polymers is the big thing). So if anyone reading this can
provide some direction, I would forever be grateful.

But back to the point. I think the environmental issue is one that is
personal. For me it's personal. So I bring it up as often as
possible.

Is it something we should talk about as an organization? Yes.
Absolutely. Are we? I think by bringing it up, you've certainly
kicked it off. :)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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18 Jan 2008 - 12:59pm
Gloria Petron
2007

I wonder if there isn't some sort of tie-in forming between accessibility
and sustainability. Both are socially-conscious initiatives aimed at Doing
the Right Thing.

18 Jan 2008 - 6:00pm
White, Jeff
2007

This is nitpicking - but there's actually a strange tie-in that might
put the two at odds with each other, in some circumstances. Part of
sustainable design is designing products built to last - a long time.
Miniaturization - laptops, cell phones, etc, only means that whatever
you had before will most likely be thrown out. That's an impact, and a
very big one especially when it comes to things like phones and PDAs.
Do you really need a new car every 3 years? or 5 years? or 10? Can you
live without that cool new Mac laptop? Can you get by on your old
phone that weighs a half ounce more and looks a little less cool than
a Motorola Razor? You absolutely can. Not only do designers need to be
involved, but so do the owners of the products and services designers
play a role in making.

My point is - since lots of things aren't accessible - making them so
sometimes means new models, which means old ones get thrown out. Now,
I'm all for accessibility by all means and I don't want to downplay
the importance of it, and there are certainly ways around this - like
a device that can be connected to the web and have more accessible
software downloaded to it, etc. It's just an interesting dilemma.

This is certainly related to recent discussion about the Mac Air.
Everyone jumps on board thinking about the IxD, the innovative design,
etc. And yes, it's cool for sure. But if you look at it from the
viewpoint of sustainable design, it could be viewed as downright
irresponsible product design, driven only by the dynamics of social
image and profit-making.

Jeff

On Jan 18, 2008 12:59 PM, Gloria Petron <gpetron at gmail.com> wrote:
> I wonder if there isn't some sort of tie-in forming between accessibility
> and sustainability. Both are socially-conscious initiatives aimed at Doing
> the Right Thing.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
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>
> ________________________________________________________________
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18 Jan 2008 - 6:21pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I wonder if there isn't some sort of tie-in forming between accessibility
> and sustainability. Both are socially-conscious initiatives aimed at Doing
> the Right Thing.

Confusing statement. Doesn't their similarity end there?

Accessibility simply refers to the degree to which something can be
accessed. Sustainability means developing products in a way that eliminates
or at least minimizes the damaging effects on the environment so that the
product can continue being made without fear of losing the very resources
used to make it.

Beyond "doing the right thing", there's no connection.

-r-

18 Jan 2008 - 6:25pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> This is nitpicking - but there's actually a strange tie-in that might
> put the two at odds with each other, in some circumstances.

Great point. Google, for example, is attempting to make all the world's
information accessible en masse, but in doing so, have become a major energy
consumer. To counter this, Google has implemented the largest solar panel
installation in the US and now reports that a good chunk of its power comes
fro renewable energy.

Most companies don't do anything like this, despite that the IT sector
accounts for something like 5% of all the energy used in the USA.

-r-

18 Jan 2008 - 6:25pm
Navneet Nair
2004

Going by that logic, Hindustan motors is doing something right with the Ambassador. A model that has been in production since 1957...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Ambassador

Navneet
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

18 Jan 2008 - 6:36pm
stauciuc
2006

There is no reference to 'that logic' in the message and I could not find
any clues in the Wikipedia definition. I don't get the point, could you
please elaborate?

On Jan 19, 2008 1:25 AM, <navneet.nair at gmail.com> wrote:

> Going by that logic, Hindustan motors is doing something right with the
> Ambassador. A model that has been in production since 1957...
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Ambassador
>
>
> Navneet
> Sent from BlackBerry(R) on Airtel
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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--
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18 Jan 2008 - 6:54pm
Navneet Nair
2004

Sorry I deleted the original reference. But it is looking at sustainable design and the need to change evey few years. Just thought I could point to a car which has resisted change for over four decades.

Navneet
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

-----Original Message-----
From: "Sebi Tauciuc" <stauciuc at gmail.com>

Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 01:36:58
To:navneet.nair at gmail.com
Cc:"Jeff White" <jwhite31 at gmail.com>, discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] The Designers Accord

There is no reference to 'that logic' in the message and I could not find any clues in the Wikipedia definition. I don't get the point, could you please elaborate?

On Jan 19, 2008 1:25 AM, < navneet.nair at gmail.com <mailto:navneet.nair at gmail.com> > wrote:
Going by that logic, Hindustan motors is doing something right with the Ambassador. A model that has been in production since 1957...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Ambassador <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Ambassador>

Navneet
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

________________________________________________________________
*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
Register today:
http://interaction08.ixda.org/ <http://interaction08.ixda.org/>

________________________________________________________________
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18 Jan 2008 - 7:31pm
Gloria Petron
2007

I raise this question because today during the course of my daily URL
harvest I found myself getting tangled between -uh- my accessibles and my
sustainables. Perhaps it's because so many of these companies and online
communities seem so similar in tone. Then I started to think some more about
it...if the mark of a responsible website is a screen-reader friendly
structure, and the mark of great hardware is that it doesn't break down to
nuclear waste...friendly to users, friendly to the earth, you don't see a
connection? Maybe I'm a flower child, but I think there's a growing
connection. It's quiet, and maybe it's got a long way to go, and it's got a
lot of profiteering obstacles, but it's there. Have you really not seen a
single company that isn't committed to accessibility AND sustainability?

> Confusing statement. Doesn't their similarity end there?
>
> Accessibility simply refers to the degree to which something can be
> accessed. Sustainability means developing products in a way that eliminates
> or at least minimizes the damaging effects on the environment so that the
> product can continue being made without fear of losing the very resources
> used to make it.
>
> Beyond "doing the right thing", there's no connection.
>
> -r-
>

19 Jan 2008 - 8:09am
stauciuc
2006

Ah, that's right, thanks!
Ofcourse, in this case a balance needs to be found between resisting
change-for-the-sake-of-change and making change to improve efficiency.
But you're right, it seems like a good example that it can be done.

On Jan 19, 2008 1:54 AM, <navneet.nair at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sorry I deleted the original reference. But it is looking at sustainable
> design and the need to change evey few years. Just thought I could point to
> a car which has resisted change for over four decades.
>
> Navneet
> Sent from BlackBerry(R) on Airtel
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

19 Jan 2008 - 10:57am
Jeff Seager
2007

Sorry to get all Zen on you guys, but there is a connection and a
movement if we perceive one and act on it, Gloria. Flower child or
not, more power to you! I think these are choices thoughful people
face in any endeavor, maybe more so with experience. There are many
rewards and considerations beyond financial compensation, and (like
you, maybe) I am seeing and hearing more evidence all the time that
people do consider the "environmental footprint" of a company as a
factor, whether they want to invest in the company or do business
therewith. Maybe we have Al Gore to thank for that, but I think it's
simply that the time has come.

I think there are a lot of short-term and long-term benefits to the
tie-in between accessibility and sustainability, and other matters of
social empathy.

When I first started seriously concentrating on accessibility, I
thought of it primarily as "The Right Thing to Do." Now I think of
it as a structural and cognitive benefit that helps guide me through
the process with fewer distractions (aware that I can embellish later
without subtracting accessibility). That makes my work product more
sustainable, too.

Robert Frost talked about how he'd studied and used classical forms
in his poetry, and felt somehow liberated by them; he compared it to
a horse "learning to run light in harness." I feel the same about
function and form. So the things that may seem to restrict us can
also free us. There's yang in the yin, yin in the yang.

The woman who conceived this Designers Accord did so on an airplane
enroute to a meeting with a client. Are such transportation costs
really justified with all the communications options available to us
today? Would we not be wise to cultivate business closer to home?
These are questions we each answer for ourselves, and little things
in our own experience (having a family, for example, and being
concerned about their future world) will lead us one way or another.

If these considerations are indeed on the rise (they are for me, a
51-year-old guy with three teenaged children), I'm all for it. I
think it takes a long time for things like this to reach a critical
mass, but we've been talking about sustainability for my entire
adult life. My tattered yellowed copies of "Design for the Real
World" and "The Last Whole Earth Catalog" prove it!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Jan 2008 - 1:43pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Hello fellow designer and artist, my name is abdi and i'm doing a
survey on the usefulness of self promotion with in a social
networking sites such as this one, as my fellow designers and artist
i come to you for help in filling out this short survey, plz follow
the link below for the survey.

http://fd3.formdesk.com/ali6/selfpromotion

thank you

abdi

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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20 Jan 2008 - 10:37pm
.pauric
2006

Gloria:"I wonder if there isn't some sort of tie-in forming between
accessibility and sustainability. Both are socially-conscious
initiatives aimed at Doing the Right Thing"

There is another, arguably greater, consideration when aiming to do
the right thing... I cant sum it up better than Dale Dougherty in this
post on the O'Reilly Radar
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/01/the_rest_of_the.html

regards - p

21 Jan 2008 - 5:12am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

I agree that we could all keep our products a little – or a lot – longer.
To do this, businesses would have to figure out how to continue making a
mint selling us services instead of products. When this happens, more
durable products will be more profitable. Until then, it won't make sense
for anyone wanting to remain in business to make stuff that lasts. Here's
why:

Highly durable, well-designed products can be sold at a premium to a
customer base that (hopefully) will be quite pleased with your product. So
pleased, in fact, that they don't need to buy anything else from you for
quite some time. Since your products will be more expensive than the
"average" offerings many potential customers will instead prefer to buy your
product used and not from you. In time you'll be competing with products you
sold long ago. This can kill a company.

An example: Leica Camera sells superbly crafted, highly durable cameras but
only captures about 20% of the worldwide market for Leicas. The other 80% is
captured by individuals and dealers selling used equipment. [1]. Selling
"the very best, most durable product" will not sustain your business unless
you are a small company that doesn't need to grow, in a growing market with
few or no competitors.

I would much prefer it if everything I used made to last, possible to
repair, useful for years on end and a pleasure to use. I'm sure the planet
would benefit from this as well. Therefore I try to make services instead of
products when I can, but it's a complex task.

For a nuanced, detailed and readable discussion on how we can create
services instead of products and create a more sustainable outcome, I highly
recommend John Thackara's book
"In the bubble: designing in a complex world"
http://www.amazon.com/Bubble-Designing-Complex-World/dp/0262201577
http://www.thackara.com/inthebubble/

My hat's off to the IDSA for creating the Designer's Accord and I'm going to
spread the word about it at our UXnet meetings here in Oslo.

- Fredrik

1. From a quote by Leica Camera CEO Steven K Lee in Leica Fotografie
International magazine

21 Jan 2008 - 1:39pm
Gloria Petron
2007

Awesome article. Thanks for keeping it real.

Is the high-tech world indifferent to the problems of the poor? Do we have
> any competence that matters in helping them find a better life? Or are we
> just making "the happy few" that much happier?

(Sorry for the dupe. I meant to include the group.)
-G

21 Jan 2008 - 4:16pm
Valerie Casey
2008

I'm happy to join this conversation since I've been lurking for a
few days. I'm the founder of the Designers Accord
(www.designersaccord.org).

I announced the endorsement of the Accord by AIGA and IDSA this
weekend, but this initiative wasn't created by either organization.
I work at IDEO, but the Accord is not attached to one firm in
particular. The Designers Accord is a discipline-agnostic
not-for-profit organization.

In fact, I am an interaction designer with about 15 years of
experience designing all sorts of things %u2013 from UI to physical
products and environments.

When I started this project it was easiest to focus on the tangibles
in our environment -- both in terms of describing the concept and
making the mission "real" to people.

However, I am eager to ask this community about how you think social
and environmental sustainability fits with interaction design. Many
people just focus on energy efficient hosting and virtual
communities. I know there's more.

My goal is to include all designers in this movement, especially my
own tribe!

- Valerie

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22 Jan 2008 - 6:57am
stauciuc
2006

There's much more.

If we want to still stand a chance on this planet, I think we will need to
redesign for sustainability mostly everything, from our homes to our
society. This, to me, sounds like a huge design effort. Now, if this effort
is taken on by the wrong kind of people, there is a risk, for example, of
them focusing too much on the sustainability part and forgetting the human
part. (Extreme situations could be violations of human rights, for example)
Or they simply might not be equipped with the skills to find the right
solutions.
Designing for sustainability is a complex challenge, and solving complex
design challenges while considering and providing for the wellbeing of
people is what interaction designers do, isn't it?
Of course, not all designers can or want to start finding
sustainability-focused projects. But I think they do have a moral obligation
to at least consider sustainability in all of their design projects and try
their best to include it in the design.
After all, interaction designers design for people and sustainability is
about the future of mankind...

On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 13:16:36, Valerie Casey <vcasey at ideo.com> wrote:

>
> However, I am eager to ask this community about how you think social
> and environmental sustainability fits with interaction design. Many
> people just focus on energy efficient hosting and virtual
> communities. I know there's more.
>
> - Valerie
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

22 Jan 2008 - 4:41pm
Greg Petroff
2004

Hi Valerie,

Welcome to the list. There are 2 interesting threads going on right now
within IxDA that look like they need spaces for further discussion for
those who want to dive deeper. One on the "Defining UCD" thread and
another on the ideas within "Designer's Accord"

I am interested in both. Re the designers accord it fits into some ideas
discussed early on in the org about forming an "ethics" working group
and around the ideals of practice.

To give us all an idea of how you see adoption of the accord into
working practice could you describe to the list what IDSA and AIGA have
done in and around the accord and perhaps how such an accord manifests
itself day to day within IDEO?

23 Jan 2008 - 12:19am
Jeff Seager
2007

Valerie said: "I am eager to ask this community about how you think
social and environmental sustainability fits with interaction
design."

Welcome, Valerie! So far I like everything I've read about the
Designer's Accord. As an interaction designer yourself, how about a
little jump-start? Where do you see the fit with interaction design?
And thanks for asking the tough question right up front.

I wrote a convoluted response and scrapped it. No need to thank me.
Had to be done to get at the meat of it.

I'll put it this way, as a start: What we think, and how we think,
is to a great extent what we become. If we engage constantly in very
tedious and complex and frustrating interactions, we will become that
kind of person. If we instead function simply, transparently and
efficiently, we will be imbued with those qualities as individuals
and as a society.

I know which I prefer, and I think I know which will provide the
greatest longterm benefit to humanity. What do you think?

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25 Jan 2008 - 4:50pm
Valerie Casey
2008

I'm all for transparency too Jeff (it's really a main principle of
the Designers Accord). I do think that sometimes complex problems
require more nuanced and deep answers but they don't need to be
alienating -- which is part of what I think you are getting at.

I have found that when I talk about sustainability to interaction
designers, especially those who focus on web and software design,
they tend to talk about design in general, and don't get specific
about the craft. Philosophically, sustainable design is good design,
and I am all for breaking down the silos of design (this is where
AIGA and IDSA contribute so meaningfully to the Accord by evolving
their definitions of the design disciplines).

But where can interaction designers contribute specifically? I think
of it basically like this:

1/ As providing the connective tissue between disparate concepts and
geographies. Kiva is a great example of a system making enormous
impact that is facilitated by the work of interaction designers.

2/ As enabling alternatives to traditional products. We often talk to
clients about different service models that might supplant the
traditional build-a-physical-product mindset. (This is something we
do a lot at IDEO.)

3/ As creating forums for conversation. The richly woven
conversations that we experience in online communities are provided
for not just by the interaction designer who constructs the system,
but by the engagements provided between people and their community,
and ultimately their environment.

This is a start %u2013 what else?

- Valerie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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