Call for Expressions of Interest: UX Design for DH Accelerator Program, Fall 2022

Sep 19, 2022

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) and The Collaborative Digital Research Space (CDRS; pronounced ‘cedars’) are pleased to announce the next phase of the UX Design program launching this fall: The UX Design for DH Accelerator Program

A shared priority of both CDHI and CDRS is to amplify research and knowledge mobilization and dissemination that balances user-centric design thinking with the needs of the research team. To support this work, CDHI and CDRS co-developed a UX Design pilot project in Summer 2022, which paired four research teams with a UX Designer. All four teams reported exceptional results and increased momentum in their research during their six-week sessions with the Designer. 

The next phase of this program brings together a UX Designer and DH Developer that will lead research teams in ideating and defining their projects, enabling rapid prototyping and iterative design thinking for researchers’ web-based projects. The tandem process ensures that researchers’ projects are not only well designed but can be implemented and made available on the web quickly and smoothly and will be documented for future self-management. By bringing together the design and development phases, the Accelerator Program ensures research teams will make substantive progress on their digital research projects during the six-week session. 

This program will give up to two (2) research teams, led by a core member of CDHI, access to six weeks of support from a User Experience (UX) Designer and DH Programmer. To reflect CDRS’ commitment to co-funding the program, one of the teams will be reserved for a UTM PI. The position is made possible through an inaugural collaboration among CDHI, CDRS, and the iSchool Co-op Education Program. 

The UX Designer is Peter Luo, a Master of Information student in the UX Design Concentration in the iSchool. Peter began work with CDHI/CDRS in the pilot phase of the program in Summer 2022 and will be taking on new projects in Fall 2022. The UX Design for DH Accelerator Program will expand the expertise and offerings by adding Matthew Lefaive, CDHI’s new DH Developer to the program team. Tandem design and development will be this phase of the program’s unique new offering. 

The UX Designer will play a key role in the iteration and design of the research team’s digital projects. Projects the Designer can work on can include the ideation and design of new web-based DH projects as well as the redesign of existing websites. The Designer can consult with research teams on information architecture and visual design, develop wireframes and prototypes that comply with accessibility standards, and conduct user research and usability testing to ensure designs are intuitive and clear. The Developer will work in collaboration with the Designer and research team to implement the project in ways that are practical, sustainable, and can be self-managed by the team. Additionally, and contributing to CDHI’s ongoing effort to support the sustainability of DH projects, the Designer and Developer will also create documentation to assist research teams in the ongoing maintenance of their websites beyond the six-week project period. Special attention will be paid to accessible and inclusive design practices. 

The Fall 2022 UX Design for DH Accelerator Program will pair research teams with the UX Designer and DH Developer for a seven-week session: 24 October to 09 December 2022. 

In collaborating with the UX Designer and DH Developer, the research team will commit to submitting requested information about their project and will meet with the Designer to kick off the project in October. Subsequent (weekly) meetings for co-design sessions, feedback, testing, and planning for next steps in the project will be scheduled as appropriate directly between the designer and research teams. Research teams should be prepared to meet with the designer at least three times during their six-week session. 

How to Apply 

Interested research teams are invited to submit expressions of interest describing their projects and goals. Expressions of interest should be 1-2 pages and addressing these points specifically: 

  • Briefly describe your team’s research project, including how it connects to critical digital humanities (150 words) 
  • List 3-4 research-based websites similar to the project you are envisioning, along with brief descriptions of what you like (or dislike) about the visuals, content, layout, etc. 
  • Describe the proposed web development project to be undertaken in collaboration with the Designer, including a clear indication of whether the proposed project is the re-design of an existing website (please include current website address) or the development of a new website (250 words) 
  • List the research team’s key goals for applying for this six-week program (i.e.: what do you want to achieve through working with the Designer?) 
  • For existing projects, please briefly describe your team’s approach to project management, such as digital workflows and communication systems used by team members, as well as the platform the website is built on (e.g.: wordpress, wix, squarespace, etc.) 
  • For new projects, please describe how far along the project is in terms of iteration and what content is available to incorporate into the designs 
  • Identify the PI and list any research team members and their roles on the project 
  • Identify a member of the research team who will be the principle contact with the Designer and Developer (note: this person should be able to answer general questions about the content, context, and needs of the research project) 

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 12 October 2022, via email to dhn.admin@utoronto.ca. The results of applications will be communicated by 14 October 2022. 

If you have questions about the application process, please contact Dr. Danielle Taschereau Mamers, CDHI Managing Director at d.taschereau@utoronto.ca.  

Evaluation   

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:   

  • Clarity of research project   
  • Clearly defined scope and goals for web development program appropriate for a six-week timeline 
  • Project’s relationship to research that emphasizes questions of power, social justice, and critical theory in making and analyzing digital technologies.   

Adjudication   

Applications will be reviewed by the CDHI Faculty Director, the CDRS SRA, and the UX Designer/Information Architect. Results will be communicated by 14 October 2022. 

Reporting   

Recipients should anticipate submitting a brief report (1pg) describing what was accomplished and what outcomes were achieved with the support of the UX Design for DH Accelerator Program by 10 January 2022.    

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