The conversation between Robert Fabricant and Marek Pawlowski spans a wide arc, from Robert’s childhood design influences growing up in New York City to the multi-year journey of co-authoring (with Cliff Kuang) the acclaimed book ‘User Friendly – How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the way we Live, Work & Play’. Along the way they explore Robert’s mid-career move from frog Design to co-found Dalberg Design, increasing his focus on the role of design in addressing global challenges such as healthcare, climate change and governance. The discussion includes reflections on Robert’s involvement in the MEX community over the years, including his memorable talk at MEX/5 in May 2009.
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On this edition
- Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder & Partner, Dalberg Design and co-author ‘User Friendly – How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the way we Live, Work & Play‘ (@fabtweet)
- Marek Pawlowski, podcast host & founder, MEX (@marekpawlowski)
- An article by Wired Magazine entitled ‘What designers collect‘, featuring Robert’s collection of Japanese robot toys. (The giant lizard bird with a circular saw in its chest is clearly the best — Marek).
- frog Design, where Robert worked.
- Dalberg Design, where Robert is co-founder and partner.
- User Friendly, the book co-authored by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant.
- Robert’s talk at MEX/5 in May 2009, where he discussed his work at frog Design on using mobile technology to address AIDs awareness in South Africa.
- Donald Norman’s involvement in the investigation into how poor design contributed to the Three Miles Island nuclear accident. Mentioned by Robert, and documented in part 1 of his book.
- Donald Norman’s book, The Design of Everyday Things, mentioned by Robert.
- Design for Health, a USAID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative, worked on by Dalberg and IDEO.org among others. Mentioned by Robert.
- A talk and paper by Prof. Lynn McDonald at Gresham College about Florence Nightingale’s work on infection rates in the Crimean War, mentioned by Robert.
- GIGA, an initiative launched by UNICEF and ITU in September 2019 to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information. Mention by Robert, who has been involved through his work at Dalberg.
- The Princess, a phone designed by Henry Dreyfuss, based on research into the behaviours of young women in America in the late 1950s, mentioned by Robert.
- A summary of the collective response to the 2009 MEX Manifesto, including manifesto statement #6, which explored issues affecting the user experience of the ‘next billion’ customers in emerging markets. Robert addressed this manifesto statement in his talk at MEX/5 in London in May 2009.
- A video about DigiFarm, showing some of Dalberg’s work in Kenya helping smallholder farmers.
- An article by Jeff Berger and Dayoung Lee of Dalberg Advisors, discussing the opportunity for transforming education in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Interaction 20, the Milan-based conference mentioned by Robert.
- Ruined by Design, a book about design ethics and activism by Mike Monteiro. Mentioned by Robert.
- A New York Times Magazine article from September 2009 exploring the notion of ‘bending the curve’, a metaphor which has become crucial to our understanding of the 2020 pandemic response. Mentioned by Robert.
- Beautiful Science, a 2014 exhibition at the British Library, which included William Farr’s 1852 infographics tracking mortality rates from cholera outbreaks in England. Mentioned by Marek.
About MEX Design Talk & how to get in touch
The podcast for the MEX community, interviewing UX pioneers, exploring emerging technologies, user behaviour and how to design better digital experiences.
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