Day 2 – Rest in Peace Fly-in-fly-out Design

How can we do this work as a career after we finish our graduate studies — one student asked.

The program helped people’s lives, rooted in deep community organizing and building sustainable relationships.

Now, a Human-centered designer. Running information campaigns around COVID-19.


  • Stopped user research and testing activities
  • Work was urgent, find other ways of working
  • Deep hands-on experience
    • Ask for help
      • Reached to international design community
    • Use what we have
      • Using slack communication across 19 timezones
      • Lean on existing staff more
      • Trained people on mindsets, tools, and principles
    • Change who we are
      • Use hiring round to find people near the users
      • Able to conduct coordinated user research

What is fly-in fly-out design?

  • Literally involves getting on an airplane, to meet users, conduct research and come back home, design and find incredible information.
  • Here are the three practises:
    • Extractive Research: quantitative only? two-way exchanges; unclear objectives? show subjects their value to the project; guardedness? Trust, openness and exchange of information; an idea to validate? Hypothesis to disprove; free? Fairly compensated for their time.
      Research Practices – Rubrics, then informed the project processes, 
    • Short-term relationship: transactional relationship? Ongoing sustained engagement; no follow-up? Build follow-up at key decision making moments; no data integrity? User repository; working in isolation? Building resilience through collaboration; report-driven work? Involve stakeholders in the design process.
    • Project or feature based: no documentation? Build time into your work plan; get your whole org involved.