⚡️Superpowered: design’s potential to help or harm humanity

UX Belfast
UX Belfast
Public group


4th Floor, 40 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BA · Belfast

How to find us

We're on Linenhall Street, just behind the City Hall. You'll see Puppet's name at the door - just head on up to the 4th floor

Location image of event venue


November’s meetup is an extra-special event, in partnership with Ladies that UX Belfast and Belfast Design Week.

Design has significant power in our society. Our choices as designers have the power to improve and enhance, or the power to demean and degrade. How should we deal with that power responsibly? What happens when that power is misused, or used with ignorance?

In this meetup we’ll examine some of these issues with the help of a series of guests and speakers.

Guest author
Bad design is everywhere, and its cost is much higher than we think. In ’Tragic Design', authors Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier explain how poorly designed products can anger, sadden, exclude, and even kill people who use them. The designers responsible certainly didn’t intend harm, so what can you do to avoid making similar mistakes?

Tragic Design reveals:
• Designs that can kill, including the bad interface that doomed a young cancer patient
• Designs that anger, through impolite technology and dark patterns
• How design can inadvertently cause emotional pain
• Designs that exclude people through lack of accessibility, diversity, and justice
• How to advocate for ethical design when it isn’t easy to do so
• Tools and techniques that can help you avoid harmful design decisions

One of the book’s authors, Jonathan Shariat, joins us by video from San Francisco to tell us more about the case studies in the book, and also take questions from attendees.

To thank Jonathan for his time, a donation has been made to Jonathan Shariat’s nominated charity, AbilityNet. You can find out more about the charity and donate here :https://abilitynet.org.uk

Two local speakers will also offer some insights into the power of design:

Charlotte Jane Tracy, UX Analyst at Fathom, will talk to us about the power of numbers and how they can help influence design.

As UX professionals, we are all aware of the value in understanding not only what your users tell you, but also understanding what your users are doing. Analysing user behaviour at the start of a project provides UX teams with a hypothesis from where they can begin to design further research and prototypes for user testing.

Since 2015 Charlotte has worked with organisations to understand users behaviours to create optimisation strategies for their digital products. During her talk Charlotte will take us through examples of projects, where tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar and A/B testing software; Optimizely provided powerful quantitative insight into user behaviour and how this research was able to play a vital part in the design process.


Ioana Enea, UX Designer at MadeToEngage will be talking about: Taxidermy Pheasants. How improv made me a better designer.

In 2018, Ioana started doing improv theatre classes because she wanted to become more confident, meet new people and not waste away her evenings bingeing YouTube videos.

Improv not only had an impact on her personal life, but also in her professional life too. In this talk, Ioana will present some lessons that she took away from doing improv and show the transformative power that a hobby can have on your design practice.

Venue information
We'll be meeting at the Belfast offices of Puppet, with plenty of refreshments and food for all.

This venue is wheelchair-accessible and child-friendly. Whilst there won't be childcare available, your children are more than welcome to join you for the event (although there may be alcohol available). If you have any other accessibility needs or dietary requirements, please contact us.

Huge thanks to
@LadiesthatUXBEL / @belfastdesignwk / @OReillyUK / @puppetBFS

Look forward to seeing you there!