Design is deeply, but implicitly, embedded in archaeological practices and in the way archaeologists and heritage practitioners develop digital resources for specialists and non-specialists alike. Values-led design approaches allow ethical considerations to be integrated into all stages of the design process and make us consciously reflect on and implement values during the design process, fundamentally changing the way in which we conduct our core practices.
The Values-Led Design toolkit meant to help archaeologists and heritage professionals unfamiliar with the design process to develop digital resources for practitioners and wider audiences. The toolkit includes 5 decks of design cards (Values, Vision, Concept, Design and Challenge) and a methodology for engaging with them. The first step of this card-based design approach is to select a set of guiding values to consciously reflect on and implement them in the following design stages: vision, concept and design. The design process ends with the challenge cards meant to foster critical reflection on each stage of the design process with a series of provocative questions, ensure that the developed resources are reflecting the chosen values and help uncover unconscious biases or assumptions.
This toolkit is the result of several iterations of design, testing and refinement originated from the EMOTIVE Design Cards, a design tool for heritage-based storytelling developed within the EU-funded EMOTIVE project . Together with Claire Boardman (University of York), Dr Sara Perry (MOLA-Museum of London Archaeology) and Dr Rachel Opitz (University of Glasgow) I worked on redesigning this tool and testing it during the Digital Data in Practice – Now and in the Future PhD Workshop held in York, UK, in December 2019 (Dolcetti and colleagues 2021). The current version has been implemented as part of my Research Fellowship at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.