Design for a better world: a conversation on humanity-centred UX with Don Norman

In the rapidly evolving field of User Experience (UX) design, understanding the profound impact of our craft on the world is vital. The UX Design Institute is proud to present a one-of-a-kind conversation with prominent voices in the design world to reflect on the power of design in shaping the world around us.

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“Can design change the world?”

As someone practising the craft or interested in it, have you ever asked this question?

The true power of design is not limited to aesthetics or functionality alone, it can address the most pressing challenges facing humanity. From sustainable product design that minimises environmental impact to inclusive design that promotes accessibility for all, design has the potential to reshape our societies for the better.

Join the UX Design Institute for an enlightening discussion on the power of design in shaping our lives and the world. This thought-provoking, sixty-minute webinar will feature distinguished professor and author Don Norman, interactive media scholar Brenda Laurel, design consultant Aarron Walter, and industry expert Irene Au. Together, they will reflect on the role of design and explore the shift from human-centred to humanity-centred design. 

In this blog, we delve into the topics the webinar will cover, introduce you to our speakers and highlight what you can expect from this transformative event.

The power of design with Don Norman: a timely reminder

In the unassuming corners of our daily lives lies a silent force that governs our experiences and interactions—the power of design. From the intuitive ease of a smartphone app that lets you order food from your favourite restaurant to the frustrating complexity of a poorly designed door (commonly known as the “Norman Doors”), design shapes our world in profound ways. 

Now think of the myriad products, spaces and processes, big and small that we are surrounded by. Are they helping us live our best lives? Are they mindful of the planet that we live on and the communities we live in? Or are they adding friction to our lives, contributing to economic inequality, or aggravating climate stress? All relevant and urgent questions, right?

Come join us as we explore these questions and showcase the transformative power of design for a better world.

The event details: a gathering of visionary minds

The webinar titled, ‘Design for a Better World’ is scheduled for 17th August 2023 at 9 am Pacific time and promises to be an insightful event, featuring a panel of design thinkers and leaders who have made remarkable contributions to the field of UX. Among them, Don Norman stands tall, known for his influential books on the craft and psychology of design and for coining the term, ‘User Experience’ back in 1993. His work has redefined how designers approach problem-solving and emphasised the importance of empathising with users. Alongside him, top leaders from the design world will join in the conversation, bringing diverse perspectives and experiences to the table.

Meet the esteemed speakers

Don Norman: Distinguished Professor, Author, and Co-Founder of Nielsen Norman Group

Picture of special speaker and design legend Don NormanDon Norman needs no introduction. He is a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, where he founded the Design Lab. As a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and former Vice President of Apple, his contributions to the field of UX have been revolutionary. Don Norman is the author of several influential books, including “Emotional Design,” “Design of Everyday Things,” and “Design for a Better World: Meaningful, Sustainable, Humanity-Centered.” His contributions have established the bedrock of human-centred design principles, encouraging practitioners to approach design as “an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.” (Norman, 1988)


Brenda Laurel: Researcher, Writer, Consultant

Picture of guest speaker and design expert, Brenda Laurel.With a career of over four decades, Brenda Laurel is an interactive media theorist and designer. Her expertise ranges from computer games to UX research and design, and virtual reality. She is also the founder and leader of two graduate programs in media design. Brenda Laurel has authored several influential books, including “The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design,” “Utopian Entrepreneur,” “Design Research: Methods and Perspectives,” and “Computers as Theatre.” Her vast experience and contributions to the field make her a vital voice in the conversation on the future of design.


Aarron Walter: Consultant, Podcast Host

Picture of guest speaker and design expert Aarron WalterAarron Walter brings a wealth of experience to the webinar. As the author of “Designing for Emotion,” a former VP of Content at InVision, and a co-host of the Design Better podcast, he has played a pivotal role in helping companies grow through innovative design. With over two decades of experience, Aarron Walter’s insights into design strategy and its emotional impact are valued by designers across the world.


Irene Au: Design Partner, Khosla Ventures

Picture of speaker Irene AuIrene Au is a Design Partner at Khosla Ventures, where she collaborates with early-, mid-, and late-stage startup CEOs. She has built and led User Experience and Design teams at Google, Yahoo!, and Udacity. Irene Au’s expertise in UX design and her experience with industry giants make her an invaluable speaker for the webinar.


Gareth Dunlop: Consultant, Speaker and Writer

Picture of host Gareth Dunlop

The discussion will be hosted by Gareth Dunlop, who has spent over 25 years in the industry. Gareth founded, led, grew and sold digital agencies. He currently speaks, writes and consults on innovation and UX design leadership.


Key topics that the webinar will cover include:

Role of design in understanding socioeconomic challenges

In a world facing numerous socioeconomic challenges, the role of designers has never been more critical. The webinar will explore how design can be a powerful tool in understanding and navigating complex issues such as climate change and social inequalities. By examining real-world examples and reflecting on their industry experience, the speakers will showcase the potential of UX design to drive positive change.

Humanity-centred vs human-centred design

While human-centred design has been the primary focus of UX professionals, the conversation will introduce the concept of humanity-centred design as Don Norman explores it in his new book, Design for a Better World. This shift expands the scope of design to consider the broader impact on society. The panellists will discuss how to create solutions that not just cater to individual needs but also contribute to the greater good of humanity.

Harnessing the power of design for a better future

Designers can shape a better future for all of us. From innovative products that enhance daily life to services that promote inclusivity and accessibility, the webinar will offer practical insights into how you can harness the power of design to create a brighter future for everyone.

The hour-long conversation promises to be thought-provoking and inspiring, leaving attendees with fresh perspectives and actionable takeaways. Register here to listen to the experts. Here’s what you can expect during the webinar:

Engaging discussions: The panellists will engage in insightful discussions, sharing their experiences, challenges, and success stories from the field.

Q&A session: Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice on design-related matters.

Real-World examples: The webinar will feature real-world examples of design initiatives that have positively helped organisations.

Networking opportunities: Connect with like-minded professionals and expand your network within the UX design community.


The UX Design Institute is proud to organise “Design for a Better World”, a webinar featuring design stalwarts Don Norman, Brenda Laurel, Aarron Walter, and Irene Au. As these distinguished speakers come together to reflect on the power of design in an hour-long event, participants will gain fresh perspectives on the role of UX in shaping our world. From understanding design’s pivotal role in addressing socioeconomic challenges to adopting a humanity-centred approach, this dialogue will motivate designers to create a meaningful impact through their work. Whether you are a seasoned UX professional or an aspiring designer, this is a unique chance to learn from some of the most influential voices in the field. 

Secure your spot now and be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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