One year on, what have we learned? Join us for Interaction 22

INTERACTION_21_V6Skip to main content
Get merch ↗
← Back to day Workshops schedule


De-centering as a Design Method: Developing Proactive Approaches to Anti-Racism at Every Step of the Design Process

Sharon Bautista

02 Feb, 4:00 pm

4 h

De-centering comes up often in conversations about anti-racism, but what does it mean in practice? Learn how to use de-centering proactively at every step of your team’s design process. #IxD21


Organizations are making explicit commitments to anti-racism in 2020 in response to more widely visible acts of police and state-sponsored brutality against Black and Indigenous people of color. And many of these organizations have design teams that may fall under the umbrella of anti-racist commitments their organizations are making. Yet many of these design teams are still mostly operating in business-as-usual mode for various reasons. Business-as-usual mode often relies on empathy, a cornerstone of human-centered design and also a principle that often filters the experiences of marginalized people through the “expert” lens of the majority.

One reason that teams have stalled in business-as-usual mode is that they do not know how to get started with practicing anti-racism in design beyond token gestures toward inclusion. Some teams may start reading books about racism in design or recruiting Black and Indigenous people of color more deliberately for user research but not changing much else in their design processes. Design teams may also feel that time and other resources needed for anti-racist approaches are not available to them.

In the first half of this workshop, participants will begin by sensitizing to racism and the forms it can take in design. This sensitizing will also take into consideration multiple aspects of identity, or intersectionality, including global perspectives. Participants will then audit their existing design processes for racism and learn about different ways of prioritizing outcomes of the audit, taking into consideration the cultures and constraints of their organizations or clients’ organizations.

In the second half of the workshop, participants will develop an understanding of de-centering practices, or immersive approaches that use as the center and frame the experiences of people historically excluded from and harmed by design and traditional product development. Participants will begin developing concrete plans for applying de-centering activities to the most pressing opportunities in their design processes.

This workshop will balance iterative reflection and action, grounded in participants' unique roles and cultural contexts. Because of this participant-centered grounding, the workshop is suitable and offers nuanced takeaways for newcomers to design as well as seasoned professionals, individual contributors as well as managers, people working in-house as well as people working more independently.

Meet the speaker

Sharon Bautista


Senior Staff UX Resarcher at Mozilla

I am a Chicago-based user experience researcher and designer. Currently, I am a UX researcher on the Firefox UX team at Mozilla. I previously led UX teams both agency-side and in-house. I give talks regularly and teach courses on topics related to inclusive design and organizational change. I am also the principal organizer of the UX Book Club of Chicago.

Get in touch
Partner with us

Follow the movement

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
Subscribe to our newsletter
Code of conductPrivacy

Copyright 2004 > 2021 Interaction Design Association