Designing equitable technologies requires an essential change to how decisions are made, who makes them, what forms of expertise are valued, and how impacts are measured. The following guidelines support communities in playing a direct role in the process of designing technology and supporting systems:

  • Participants are supported as leaders, taking power in decision-making. Those who are most impacted by a design lead the decision-making process.
  • Impact measures, success criteria, and outcomes are decided by the people who have relevant lived experiences and can best measure.
  • People with lived experience are experts. They must be recognized, respected and rewarded for their expertise.
  • Designs and processes respond to and account for difference, especially amongst those who are most marginalized by mainstream design practices.
  • Participation throughout all stages of the design process: research, discovery, identification of needs, defining requirements, outcome synthesis, iterative prototyping, implementing, reflection, iterative evaluation and refinement.

Further Reading

Ayotte et al. “Community-Led Co-Design Kit.” Web. Accessed July 28, 2023.

Arnstein, S. R. (1969) A Ladder Of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Planning Association, 35(4), 216-24.

Costanza-Chock, Sasha. Design Justice. (MIT Press, 2020)

People with Disabilities Western Australia. “Connect with Me Co-design Guide: Co-design for organisations work with people with disability.” Web. Accessed July 28, 2023.


Technology and social justice are complex topics that require a diversity of perspectives and contributions. Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts, questions, critiques, and relevant resources with us at info@data­