Geek of the Week: Could we? Should we? Sheryl Cababa asks the right design questions at Artefact


Sheryl Cababa bikes through the Artefact studio in Seattle. (Artefact Photo)

Dr. Ian Malcom would get a kick out of Sheryl Cababa.

“I jokingly compare myself to the Jeff Goldblum character in the original ‘Jurassic Park,’” said Cababa, the executive creative director at Seattle-based design consultancy Artefact. “As his colleagues rush to clone dinosaurs for the sake of it without regard for the consequences, he famously cautioned them to consider not only whether or not they could, but whether or not they should. That’s how I feel about technology. In the face of tech optimism, we need to remember that for every advancement, there is a potential unintended impact.”

It’s a theme Cababa has been visiting in her talks at conferences, most recently at Seattle Interactive. Our latest Geek of the Week said she’s interested in introducing designers to “new methods for surfacing the right questions about what we create and connecting it to their design work in a meaningful way.”

Cababa has worked at consultancies such as frog and Adaptive Path. She spent more than six years as a designer at Microsoft and did a stint at Getty Images. She also worked at Philips during the 10 years she lived in The Netherlands.

At Artefact, she was one of the masterminds behind a tool called The Tarot Cards of Tech to help designers and technologists think through outcomes and ask tough questions of the products they design.

Lean more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Sheryl Cababa:

What do you do, and why do you do it? As a user experience (UX) designer, I help make products, services and experiences more user-friendly, accessible and engaging. When done well, UX design basically makes our day-to-day experiences less frustrating and allows us to focus on the things that matter.

What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? There’s still a pervasive misconception that design is about the expression of beauty. It’s fundamentally about problem solving, and the elegance of the solution is where the beauty lies.

In terms of the broader tech industry, it’s important to recognize that technology is not neutral. There are decisions made throughout the design process that influence the usage and outcomes of tech products and services. The tech industry’s lack of foresight has brought the world fake news, huge biases in machine learning, abusive platforms, and terrible business models that serve advertisers rather than users. We as designers …read more

Source:: GeekWire

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