‘Human Centred Design’ with Steven Parkinson – Autodesk Education UK


When we think about design, we tend to rush into what it could look like, how it could be made and what materials we could use. We basically make it look and feel how we want it to be.

But what if we took a step back and tried to see it from the point of view of the end user; the actual person (the human being) who will be using it? Then and only then can design workflow consider how this product will work. Steve Jobs famously quoted this:

"The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have."
Steve Jobs - Human experience quote

PrintCity is home to the new MSc Industrial Digitalisation course and today the students enjoyed a full-day focussing on Human Centred Design delivered by Steven Parkinson,  Autodesk Education Manager in the UK. Steven has a rich background in design and technology education and was the first European educator to speak at Autodesk University.

Steven Parkinson | Autodesk Education Manager
Steven Parkinson
Autodesk Education Manager

Students began their day watching videos, with instructions to focus on one aspect of a scene, before looking at the wider picture to see if they noticed anything different. This resulted in some startled looks – we won’t give this away in case you attend a session with Steven in the future!

With this renewed emphasis on taking in the whole picture, Steven asked the students to study a six minute video and to write down what they saw in a few categories: rose, bud and thorn design thinking:

Rose = something that is working well or is positive
Bud = an area of opportunity or idea yet to be explored
Thorn = something that isn’t working or is negative

From here, the students were directed through a series of tools known as LUMA (Looking, Understanding and Making) to look at design from where the end user, the human, is at the centre. By using these tools, they allow students to focus better on what really matters through discussion, group interactions and a plethora of post-it notes!

The afternoon session targeted one particular problem, ‘cycling on a commute to work’, and through this, the three groups arrived at three potential new products, all presented with an accompanying product poster. Below are some photographs from the session. All in all, a great day, and special thanks to Steven!

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