Dodging the Digital Creep Factor

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A lot of the vision pieces out there these days paint a world where decisions are made for us based on data. On the one hand, this is appealing – machines taking on tasks and simple choices I can’t be bothered to make. On the other hand, it’s disorienting – what is the logic underlying these decisions? How can I participate in it? Am I comfortable with decisions being made for me when I don’t understand why or how?

To address this, we designers need to focus on the things that make us uniquely human, and allow those to illuminate a path through the challenges and opportunities of the brave new landscape built on and with Big Data. The primary role of design is to make a translation between the abstract and the human, to make connections between humans and the things they need, want and love. Sometimes that means exposing the mechanics, sometimes that means hiding the complexity. Either way, it means enabling people to make better decisions and live better lives, not to let the technology lead.

Photo of Shelley Evenson

Shelley Evenson


Shelley Evenson recently joined Fjord as Executive Director, Organisational Evolution. As a leader in service design and with more than 25 years of experience, Shelley Evenson is adept at helping organizations develop an in-depth understanding of customer needs, building experience strategies that respond to those needs, and implementing strategies across platforms and channels.

Shelley formerly oversaw research for user experience and design at Facebook and was a Principal User Experience Designer and Manager for Microsoft. Shelley was also an Associate Professor at the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, where her projects included collaborations with GM, Intel, The Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Motorola, and UPMC.


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