Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

31 Mar 2014, 13:10 p.m.

UX Is A Social Justice Issue

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2014 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

On March 25th, I had the honour of addressing the Code4Lib conference as their opening keynote speaker. My topic: "User Experience Is A Social Justice Issue".


....Maybe another way of thinking about it is, when we're building services for people, we often have a lot more practice seeing from the computer's point of view than seeing from another person's point of view. In tech I think we understand how to build arteries better than we understand how to build capillaries....

They liked it! You can enjoy it too. After a very short introduction, my speech goes up to 30:45 in the YouTube video (embedded below). It'll be on the Internet Archive & Wikimedia Commons as well.

You can read the script I read from, annotated with citations, links to resources, and links to tweets and blog posts about the talk. (I aim to get a true transcript sometime soon and update that wiki page accordingly.)

Thanks to the Code4Lib community for inviting me, and to those who helped me with my talk: Coral Sheldon-Hess, Mel Chua, Andromeda Yelton, Bess Sadler, Emma Molls, Leonard Richardson, Jared Zimmerman, and Sky Croeser.