The one thing missing from UX today? Hope

This is a wonderful essay by Vivianne Castillo that encourages designers to hold fast to the belief that things could be better for users—and for themselves. From The one thing missing from UX today? Hope:

Today, it’s clear that many designers are feeling overwhelmed, disillusioned, and even unsafe within their organizations—and design leaders are recognizing that conversations around burnout and stress aren’t quite cutting it. I’ve found a deep sense of comfort in the words of American activist, grassroots organizer, and abolitionist Mariame Kaba: “Hope doesn’t preclude feeling sadness or frustration or anger or any other emotion that makes total sense. Hope isn’t an emotion…Hope is not optimism. Hope is a discipline… we have to practice it every single day.” 

Kaba’s quote is a reminder that the answer to feeling hopeless isn’t toxic positivity or forced optimism. The answer is to make our engagement with hope a discipline because of what’s at stake if we don’t: namely that designers will begin to believe that a better future is not possible within our lifetime.

She goes on to provide examples of how to uphold a comittment to hope in creative, human-centered ways, specifically as it relates to values of belonging, integrity, and power.