Design the Future
January 19–20, 2016: Training
January 20–22, 2016: Conference
San Francisco, CA

Driving measurable impact: Designing with data for social impact

Gretchen Anderson (Primary Angle), Jay Primus (SFPark), Susan Dybbs (Collective Health), Danielle Malik (Design Equation)
3:45pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Design for a greater good
Location: Festival Pavilion - Main Stage
Average rating: ***..
(3.29, 7 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

Attendees will get the most out of this session if they have experience or are craving experience using data to drive design decisions. Basic knowledge of UI design and UX methods are useful.


Are more parents choosing better schools for kids? Do people with chronic disease actually manage their health better? Which method is best to incentivize kids to be more active? Have we reduced greenhouse gas emissions? As you take on design challenges meant to provide social benefits, you will need to tackle questions like these, whose answers depend on measuring specific outcomes.

When we design products and services to provide social benefits, we must measure to what extent the design provides the intended social benefits and, just as importantly, to what extent it provides unintended social benefits or consequences. While usage data and other signals can help determine if people want and like what you are building, measuring specific outcomes can be more challenging. Gretchen Anderson, Kristy Tillman, Jay Primus, and Danielle Malik explore different ways to measure success, including understanding your audience and the problems and systematic challenges they face, qualitative assessment (what to do when you don’t have data, or data is at best an indirect indicator), fast-cycle approaches to quickly find what works to affect a specific problem, slow-cycle study design when fast-cycle isn’t possible, big data collection for big or small budgets, and indentifying different patterns and UI approaches that drive more adoption and retention.

Photo of Gretchen Anderson

Gretchen Anderson

Primary Angle

Gretchen consults with clients to inform their product strategy and improve team collaboration skills, and her book, Mastering Collaboration is available from O’Reilly in early 2019. She spent the first part of her career in design consulting for firms like frog design, Cooper, and LUNAR. Recently, she was Head of Design at PG&E, California’s largest energy company Prior tonthat she led the design of the hardware and software of a next-generation surgical system, and served as VP of Product at

Her past clients include Virgin Records, Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel. Gretchen is a Bay Area native who left only long enough to get a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in History & Literature.

Jay Primus


Most recently, Jay Primus worked for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) as the program manager of SFpark, San Francisco’s new approach to parking management, which uses a combination of better information, an emphasis on customer service, and demand-responsive pricing to make parking easier and more convenient. Jay has also worked with the SFMTA on special projects, including leading the redesign of the downtown portion of the city’s busiest bus route. Before the SFMTA, Jay worked on transportation policy, transit, and transportation demand management projects at Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation consultancy based in San Francisco. Jay has also worked as a freelance writer, editor, and web design project manager.

Photo of Susan Dybbs

Susan Dybbs

Collective Health

As Director of Design, Susan and her team are reimagining the look and feel of health care. From user experience to product development, she is committed to creating a health care system designed for the people it serves. Prior to Collective Health, Susan was a managing director and practice lead at Cooper, where much of her work addressed challenges facing the health care industry – from clinical services to medical devices. Susan’s research methods range from formal ethnographic studies to guerrilla based discovery.

Susan holds a Master’s of Design from Carnegie Mellon University and frequently shares her experience and insights as a conference speaker. She has worked with a wide selection of organizations, such as Boston Scientific, Blue Cross Blue Shield, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Teleflex, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters and United. When not obsessing over counterpulsation devices and brain surgery, she can be found letterpress printing and riding through the hills of the Marin Headlands.

Photo of Danielle Malik

Danielle Malik

Design Equation

Bringing over a decade of experience to bear on the next generation of designers, Danielle Malik founded a design studio called Design Equation, which pairs junior designers with nonprofits and early-stage startups in a mentored environment. She is, as they say, living the dream. Prior to founding this company, she has flexed her design & leadership muscles in a variety of roles: Instructor at General Assembly, Product Design Manager at Facebook, Principal of UX at Hot Studio, and many other engagements great and small. She has been chronically active in the UX community, planning and organizing many professional events and conferences, and now sits on the Board of Directors for IxDA, an organization with a global membership of over 70,000. She also founded the IxDA San Francisco chapter in 2008, which today reaches more than 4000 members.