Appendix from “Lessons from One Designer’s Journey in Uncentering Her Design Practice”

This is a list of readings that helped me write this article on uncentering my design practice on the Spotify Design blog. I hope you find them as informative as I did, and please share any other work you find as well in the comments!

📌 On design as social practice

What Does It Mean to Decolonize Design? by Anoushka Khandwala

5 questions Vanessa Newman, founder of Black-led creative collective Design to Divest, posted on Instagram to help people decolonize their design practice

Design Thinking is a Rebrand for White Supremacy by Darin Buzon

How to think differently about doing good as a creative person by Omayeli Arenyeka

How to begin designing for diversity by Boyuan Gao and Jahan Mantin (and their handy checklist)

Every Space is Political by design researcher Sarah Fathallah

The Design Justice Network’s design principles

📌 On the teachings of non-Western/non-dominant-population design

The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West by Payal Arora

Mindsets for Thinking About and Innovating in China by a16z’s Connie Chan

TikTok and the Sorting Hat by Eugene Wei (and this supplementing podcast on Tech Buzz China)

This is only one of many, many articles and resources out there on accessibility, but a helpful place to start: Microsoft’s Accessibility fundamentals intro video. If you haven’t tried using VoiceOver/Voice Control on iOS or TalkBalk/Voice Access on Android — it’s an eye-opening experience. Read this Medium article by a coworker to get started.

Designing for Digital Confidence, a toolkit of helpful thought starters and inspiration from IDEO, the Gates Foundation, and Google to help you make sure you’re considering access-constrained populations

The Fabulous Next Billion by Payal Arora (This is an article in a series the India-based design publication is doing with strategic design studio called Next Billion Stories focusing on new Internet users.)

The biggest myths about the next billion internet users by Payal Arora

Spotify art director Tina Snow Le’s talk on designing for audio. I saw this live before moving to Stockholm and absolutely loved hearing about her Vietnamese background and considerations when designing playlist covers for non-Western markets.

Also from Spotify, this fantastic article on how the Spotify editorial team localized its playlist covers.

The Wubi Effect, a *fascinating* podcast on RadioLab about one professor set out to jam 70,000+ Chinese characters on a Latin-based QWERTY keyboard, and more broadly how so many other languages bend over backwards to fit a Western-centric hardware device

A similar story, but for the digitization of the Urdu script. And here’s the story from Mudassir Azeemi’s own words.

Gojek’s design blog (Gojek is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular “super-apps”)

Why Your Website Should Look Beyond English by Souvik Das Gupta

What I talk about when I talk about Chinese tech by Lillian Li

A quick note here: If only I was able to speak more languages fluently beyond English! I might have access to a lot more resources, but alas.

📌 Other reads

This list of design books by womxn and people of color

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

AI Superpowers by Kai Fu Lee

This is Water by David Foster Wallace, an essay about examining the things we believe, assume, and do by default

I haven’t personally read the following books, but they’re on my list!

Building for Everyone by Annie Jean Baptiste, Head of Product Inclusion at Google

Cross Cultural Design by Senongo Akpem

What about you?

I’d love to know what you’re reading on this topic. Please feel free to comment below or send me a LinkedIn message with resources you’ve found helpful!



Catch me sippin’ chai on a good day, overbrewed tea on most other days. Or writing about creativity and/or design. Currently product-designing in Stockholm

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Janey Lee

Catch me sippin’ chai on a good day, overbrewed tea on most other days. Or writing about creativity and/or design. Currently product-designing in Stockholm