Dog Food is for Dogs: Escape the Crate of Your Perspective with User Research

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B202/203


Dogfooding—using your own products—is nice, but is it sufficient to produce good design for people who aren’t you? Our familiarity with our projects and their quirks makes us poor substitutes for users in the wild. So just who are these users, and how do you incorporate them into design and development?

In this workshop, we'll explore user experience design and research strategies that will help you design for people who aren’t you.


Our own user experience is not generalizable to our larger user populations. So how do we escape the limitations of our own perspective? How can we learn from these “wild” users while making things that work for them?

Focusing on open source practice, we’ll explore these areas using collaborative, hands-on exercises:

Gamestorming (45 minutes)
We’ll start with a reflective exercise to explore hidden biases, then move on to gamestorming to help articulate the values most important to your own development process.

Participatory Design (45 minutes)
To get at the needs of users, we will demonstrate a participatory journey mapping technique. The group will then collaborate on modeling workflow and process for open source projects that implements user research and design methods.

Participants are encouraged to come with questions and problems from their own projects and organizations. The organizers will select case studies with a particular emphasis on increasing diversity in participation and perspective.

Participants will gain skills in design thinking and participatory design, and come away with workflows, exercises and tools to put to use in their own projects and organizations.


user experience, participatory design

Speaking experience

Rachel has presented at IEEE Vis 2013, OSBridge 2014, and the PDX Design Research Group.

Amelia has presented at academic conferences such as ASIST and CHI, and recently presented at the Write The Docs conference. She is a frequent workshop facilitator who organizes trainings and discovery sessions for clients and professional groups.