Back to all events

Design for meaning; Design for doing



Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tait Building, City University, London

We’re moving to a Wednesday for this month where we will discuss the theory and practice of UX Design.

In the first talk, we explore the theoretical aspects of UX design. How can we design truly meaningful experiences, which convey attributes such as “value”and “trust”. In our second talk, we present a case study which highlights the challenges of design research, building a culture of co-design and implementing research findings into the design of artefacts.

The venue is:

Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre
Tait Building
City University of London
Northampton Square


Design for Meaning: The Theory


How can we design truly meaningful and valuable experiences? While the word “meaning” is much used by designers, there is often little detail about what is being referred to, or to how it might be evaluated.

Designers in particular often use this terms in a manner which implies a fully subjective, fully context-dependent, property which is not describable outside the interaction. Nevertheless, issues of “meaning”, “emotion”, “value” and “trust” are becoming central to design as the complexities and costs of products, systems and services increase. How can we create and articulate personas and use scenarios to take into account these complexities?

The talk will summarise the main types of meaning which are described by experts from the worlds of design, business, ergonomics, linguistics, philosophy, psychology and sociology. A framework of “design for meaning” in presented which summarises in a compact manner the relationships between the corporate ideology, the types of meaning, the design metaphors and the eventual specifications. Examples are provided of how everyday people articulate the properties of the various types of meaning for a variety of design artefacts.

Professor Joseph Giacomin is the Director of the Human Centred Design Institute (HCDI) of Brunel University. He teaches Human Factors with emphasis on matters of perception and emotion, and guest lectures widely at universities, governmental organisations and businesses. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (FErgS), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), a member of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI) and a member of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). He will give a keynote talk at the German UPA ‘Human and Computer’ conference in Dresden later this year.

Design for Doing: A Case Study


Lucy and Dan will talk about their Innovate UK funded project to develop Pisces, a piece of technology that aims to make the fishing industry more sustainable. They’ll speak candidly as consultant and client about the process of design research and working with fishermen to build a culture of co-design that continually informs product development (as well as some good fish puns).

Lucy Stewart is a Senior Service Designer at Snook, an award winning agency based in London and Glasgow. She studied neuroscience at Edinburgh University and aims to apply evidence based practice to the design and delivery of services. Lucy works to bring service design to sustainability, treating social progress and the environment as mutually inclusive.  

Dan Watson is the founder and CEO of SafetyNet Technologies, which he started as the result of his final year project while studying product design engineering in Glasgow. Leading a design team in the space industry, helping companies refine their business models and take a more user-centred approach to their product and service offerings, has equipped him with a set of skills that benefit SafetyNet on a daily basis. Dan recently accompanied several SafetyNet prototypes to sea on a trawler during some trials and was not sick.



User Experience Professionals' Association is a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting UX and its practitioners.

Newsletter sign up