#65 The Responsible Designer

I first met Lucy Tallon at my #UPFRONT workshop at Pregnant Then Screwed LIVE. Lucy is a Principal Designer at The Co-Op, leading design across food and the user research community of practice. Here’s what she has to say…


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

People are complex. Understanding more about how people work in different ways, how they do their best work and what gets them excited, can help in so many different situations in the workplace and at home!

I also have a 1 year old little boy, he teaches me lessons every day about the kind of parent I want to be and he tests me like no project ever has before ;) I'm currently reading 'It's ok NOT to share' by Heather Shumaker which is making me realise how important play is in order for Leo to learn big life skills. We lose playing somewhere along the way as adults, but I think we should be bringing it back into our lives and the workplace.

What’s your burning question of the moment?

How much impact will artificial intelligence have on our lives over the coming years? How can we make sure it has a positive impact on our lives?

AI gets me excited and scares me equally! Artificial Intelligence is becoming more widely used which means we are changing the way we interact with devices. For example, thinking about conversational design for voice technologies means we need to understand and research more around how people have real conversations and ensure technologies are serving humans real needs in how they interact. Thinking about the ecosystem around the entire experience a person may come across and not just one particular task on a screen makes designing experiences complex but essential. It also makes it an exciting time to be a researcher!

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

We need to take a hard look in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable to the unintended consequences of rapid innovation. Do we need 1 million new apps a year? Do we need to design for constant engagement? Do we need to live in the corners of Dark UX? We do not. We need to be more intentional and design experiences that support cognitive sustainability for individuals, groups, and society. It’s time now for designers to take on this ethical responsibility. The biggest design trend will be a return to mindfulness and focus.
— Albert Shum, corporate VP of design, Microsoft

As we design exceptional experiences it’s important to remember that we have a responsibility for those users we're serving. We need to look after each other, more people than ever are experiencing mental health issues in this ever switched on world. We need to enhance lives and not distract. Phone addiction scares me, people seem less in control of their devices and are spending less face to face time with friends and family exasperating major societal concerns such as loneliness, anxiety or depression. Designing experiences that allow users to disconnect as much as engage is really important to me and something I'll be championing.

I listened to 'Killing it- adventures in start ups and mental health' series by Spotify. Business leaders sharing their incredibly honest stories. I felt incredibly moved by the podcast featuring Tom Foster-Carter, COO at digital bank Monzo who opened up and talked candidly about his family tragedy involving schizophrenia, drugs and suicide. He discusses the need for radical openness which is at the heart of Monzo’s company culture. The podcast also highlighted the need for people to REALLY connect, talk and listen so people don’t feel they need to suffer in silence.

I also have to mention Mother Pukka. I love her. She pioneers flexible working and is a legend. Please have a look at her work, you don't have to be a parent to know that the traditional model of working is broken.

What would be your one piece of advice to students out there?

  • Always be kind

  • Listen to others, intensely and actively

  • Experiment and learn

  • Ask questions and be curious

  • Have some fun and play some very loud music!

You can read the rest of the profiles here. If you’d like to nominate someone or yourself to be part of this interview series please tweet me @redjotter. I encourage people who identify as women and people of colour to nominate themselves and I’d love to feature people who aren’t based in London.

#64 The Mighty Designer

#63 The Feminine Designer

#62 The Progression Designer

#61 The Mindful Designer

#60 The Common Good Designer

#59 The Shoutout Network Designer

#58 The Design Club Designer

#57 The Digital Delivery Manager Mum

#56 The Designer of Public Services in the Digital Age

#55 The Little Village Designer

#54 The Podcasting Designer

#53 The Collaboration Designer

#52 The Producer Designer

#51 The Virtual Reality Designer

#50 The Cultural Designer

#49 The in-between Design Researcher

#48 The Chaos Wrangler

#47 The Honest Designer

#46 The Ethical Fashion Designer

#45 The Designer of Power

#44 The Designer of Communities

#43 The Transition Designer

#42 The Drawing Designer

#41 The Ethical Futurist

#40 The Actor-Coder

#39 The Motherhood Designer

#38 The Zoo School Designer

#37 The Thinking Clearly Designer

#36 The Accidental Designer

#35 The Workwear Designer

#34 The Designer of Vulnerability

#33 The Graphic Designer

#32 The Design Graduate

#31 The Service Design TV Host

#30 The Change Maker

#29 The Learning Designers 

#28 The Human Interaction Designer

#27 The Full Stack Strategist

#26 The Design Writer and Doer

#25 The Behavioural Designer

#24 The UX Leader

#23 The Behavioural Researcher

#22 The Service Designer

#21 The Local Government Designer

#20 The Start Up Designer

#19 The Human Centered Designer

#18 The Strategy Designer

#17 The Interaction Designer

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer 

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker

#1 The Go Getter