Home > User Experience > Being a socially responsible designer | by Alipta Ballav | Jul, 2020

Being a socially responsible designer | by Alipta Ballav | Jul, 2020

Being a socially responsible designer | by Alipta Ballav | Jul, 2020

Image courtesy: https://www.crosswalk.com/

This pandemic has been disruptive, it has created a dent in our lives, it has pushed all of us to a different path. Our routines have changed, we’ve started working late, sleeping late, our screen time has increased drastically. We’ve been stuck to our laptops and smartphones most of the time. Netflix, Prime Video, and other popular streaming channels have become our best friends. We are taking life serenity sessions, we are trying to counsel each other during extreme distress, we are trying to make our job as secure as ever, overall we are trying to build resilience all around.

The past 22 years of my Design career has been fabulous. I have had a chance to wear multiple hats and work with a variety of top global clients. When I look back, I realize that this design industry has given me a lot of things over the years, but then, what did I give back to the industry? This self-realization has pushed me to think, and further dive into delivering something for a greater cause. It allowed me to find ways to invest time by giving back all the lessons I’ve learned over the years.

The past 4 months have gone into absorbing the initial shock and planning a path towards a better and engaging life. I have been taught to be watchful, to stay calm and build resilience. During this phase, I had to manage my work, my family, my parents, household stuff while finding ways to contribute by becoming a socially responsible designer.

Well, here are the few things I’ve done in a little bit, with the best of my intentions.

I volunteered to help several design communities by sharing my UX learning and experience, capture newer insights from fellow designers, and also build stronger ties with people in these groups. This pandemic has taken away jobs from many. Whenever I find a UX opening, I will share the link in various forums, otherwise, I will tag the right people I know looking for jobs.

It is said knowledge is power. Over the last three months, I have attended several webinars, leadership talks, Design meetups, podcasts, to learn from fellow designers and gain different perspectives. These design communities have not only helped me expand my horizon but at the same, time allowed me to pass on the information back to others who are willing to learn and grow as designers. It may be either by writing an article, communicating an idea, delivering a talk, mentoring a junior designer, or chatting over design topics with a colleague.

One of the key offerings from these design communities has been offering mentorships programs to the less experienced designers. Mentoring is a great way to make beginners learn the tricks of the trade. I have had a chance to mentor six designers so far, and my journey has been great. Sometimes, the thoughts which are brought to the table by the young generation of designers are highly provocative.

For all design-driven organisations, one core tenet would also be let the designer become socially responsible and participate in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Yet, this area is largely overlooked since for most designers, the focus is more on creating a pixel-perfect screen.

It’s time to give back to society, not just by building awesome products and services, but also by cultivating young creative talents and providing more opportunities for them. After all, it’s an opportunity that makes a person great.

This article was simply an attempt to let the world know about the steps we designers have taken during this pandemic in constructing a stronger design community across the globe. Any design output comes out of a collaborative effort. An individual designers social contribution may not be measurable through metrics, but sharing the learnings is always self-satisfying. Come and be a part of this wave.

At the moment I am offering mentorship at RethinkingUX, Designed.org, Think Design and UMO Design

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