Thesis Thoughts 001

by MFA IXD September 17, 2015

Reblogged from youexdee:

I’ve been thinking a lot about data, but it didn’t always start out that way.

Last semester, the primary problem I was looking to solve was around fair wages. And, more specifically, it was about salary transparency. I wrote a long post about how I thought salary transparency was one important solution to the problem of fair pay. My idea was to create some sort of platform that would make it easier for designers (and, then, by extension, anyone else) to be able to know what other designers are making, so that they are better equipped to know when they aren’t being paid fairly. As part of the early phases of testing this idea, I also created a blog that aimed to provide resources and thought pieces that would help anyone looking to get paid more fairly.

Over the summer I had the chance to chat with several alumni from my program about their thesis projects. I sought out conversations with alumni who’d done projects that felt meaningful to me – that is, projects that were aimed at solving a social problem.

I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten was from Shelly Ni. Shelly’s advice to me was: “Your thesis should allow you to spend time with the people you most want to spend time with – the ones that you maybe otherwise wouldn’t get to spend time with.“ (Not a direct quote, I’m just paraphrasing here haha.)

In the last few months, I’ve been really thinking about what this means for my project. It struck me that, if I think about thesis in terms of the people I want to spend time with, then maybe the focus on designers isn’t the right focus. I spend enough time around designers, why should my thesis be about them too?

And that leads me to today, where I’m primarily thinking about data, rather than helping designers figure out how to get paid more fairly. It seems clear to me that to spend more time with different kinds of people that I normally wouldn’t get to spend time with, my project ought to be broader in scope. I’m still interested in the topic of salary transparency, but I think the main element that attracted me to this in the first place was not specifically to work with other designers, but the idea of what we can do when we are all much more empowered with data that we didn’t have before.

So that’s where I’m at now.

In sum, the current idea for my thesis is around this question: How do we provide the masses with data that they didn’t have before? How can this be helpful?

Anyway. To help with the ideation process as I work on my thesis, here are some images that inspire me…

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