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Design Workbench

Creating futures together.

Design Workbench is a website network that aims to demystify what goes into designing products, services, and systems that align with peoples' makeup at the experience level. Whether your role is primarily creation or leading design initiatives, you'll discover ways to improve experiences through design in action.

Workbench Sites

Ongoing Projects and Discoveries


Design Knowledge, Thinking, and Skills


Real-Time Design in the Wild


Experience Design Concepts and Application

Design Workbench Websites

Project websites showcase work by transdisciplinary teams exploring ways design thinking and doing can improve people's experiences. Visit these sites to learn about projects on the Workbench.

Living Values

Making advance care planning relevant and accessible.

Design Workbench Updates

Lemonade and Living Values
Published May 16, 2023 in Living Values
a park scene with people sitting on blankets enjoying the day
We're excited to participate in Lemonade on the Lawn for the 2nd annual LGBTQIA+ Health and Well-being Fair at the Clifton Branch Library in Cincinnati on May 20, 2023. We'll hand... read more ❯
Something New!
Published Mar 28, 2023 in Experience Design Project
boy holding sparkler firework at night
Last summer, I had an idea—what if I was part of my students' groups for a class project? I assign group work, but perhaps an effective way to model it... read more ❯
What's Important at the End of Life?
Published Aug 25, 2019 in Living Values
Our team is busy conducting research in the Cincinnati area via a series of workshops we're calling What's Important at the End of Life? Here's a brief overview of the... read more ❯


Web pages cover experience design knowledge, thinking, and skills from psychology and research to style and software.


Design in the wild.

Instagram posts showcase experience design in real-time to connect design decisions to behavioral outcomes.

Design Workbench Podcast

Episodes explain experience design concepts with practical examples to make designing for experiences accessible.

Current Episode
a family of mixed races standing at a kitchen table

People-Driven Design

February 7, 2022

Why is human-centered design not enough? I explore human-centered design, activity-centered design, and people-driven design.

  • activity centered design
  • design research
  • experiences
  • human centered design
  • innovation
  • people-driven design
Podcast Episode

Who is a designer?

When you read the word design, what comes to mind? Designer shoes with gold stitching? A blueprint for a building? Color and fabric swatches? Or perhaps you envision a wall of Post-it® notes for a design thinking session. Design and designers come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s meet a few of them.


a notebook with wireframes drawn on its pages

Design practitioners are problem solvers who partner with clients to define needs, craft solutions, and implement inventive and effective outcomes. Practitioners consider context as part of the problem, and the products, services, and systems they generate shape our cultures.


black woman interviewing a participant

Design researchers are pioneering new modes of healthcare, clarifying how people engage with technologies, inspecting the effects of an increasingly global community, and testing living spaces that adapt to changing human needs. Their inquiring nature, attention to detail, experience working with others, and inventive spirit make designers collaborative problem solvers whose research produces insightful discoveries.


group of asian and white college students working on computers in a classroom

Design educators synthesize research, practice, and pedagogy to facilitate learning experiences that shape the future of design. Students and educators work together to test emerging technologies, ideas, and ways of framing problems our societies haven’t yet named. In these spaces, dialogue is encouraged, and learners develop their craft and thinking as future leaders.


white older woman playing on an ipad with her granddaughter

Have you ever created something that was meant to be used—a papier-mâché mask, a tool for pulling up weeds, or a plan for distributing food to people in need after a disaster? Then, you are a designer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Of course, papier-mâché skills don’t qualify you to design skyscrapers or develop healthcare services—some training and experience are essential for those. But at the heart of every designer is a person who creates interventions whose goal is to make a better future. ❤️