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Designing for crisis - Research in emergency services and international disaster relief aid

  • Eriol Fox




The Old Library



Ushahidi designers have been investigating what makes communities strong, resilient and what empowers them to feel like they are an integral and valued part of a whole.

Building on a research led hypothesis, that more communicative and integrated communities fair better and recover faster when disasters like hurricanes, floods and terrorist attacks hit, we are building upon this statement from users: “We want to help people in a crisis and be helped back from our own”

Now the Ushahidi product design team are finding a way to foster connections between people to help each other in little ways using technology and innovative processes like Machine learning, automatic systems and digital social trust, then we believe that we can create more of these resilient communities world wide.

We’ll cover our recent in-depth field study in Nairobi communities and our wider community research worldwide.

We’ll be talking about the unique and specific challenges when designing for, and conducting research in disaster affected communities around the world, how we plan and perform research and testing and how we approach building products that aim to solve deep human problems such as: How can you trust your local community to support you in your time of need and what building a product for that exchange is like.


Eriol Fox

Product & UX Designer at Ushahidi

More info



Product & UX Designer at Ushahidi

Eriol is a product & UX designer (via a fine art degree) who has worked in-house roles for 9+ years. Now working at Ushahidi, a humanitarian, non-profit technology leader, developing open-source, digital tools to help people with better democratic process, human rights issues and in the event of natural and human-made disasters.

Eriol is a non-binary, queer person who uses they/them pronouns and an LGBTQIA+ advocate.

They are deeply passionate about intersectional inclusion and mental health in tech.


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the old libary, custard factory birmingham

The Old Library

Located at The Custard Factory, in the heart of Digbeth, Birmingham’s Creative Quarter, The Old Library is a truly unique space. The original library first opened as one of Birmingham’s five free libraries in 1866, and it is now the only one still standing. The library’s doors closed to the public in 1940 and remained closed until 1990. Many of the Victorian period features have been recently restored, including vaulted ceilings and iconic arch windows – making the interior light and airy, and flooded with natural daylight.

The Old Library is easily reached by public transport, car, or about 10 minutes walk from Birmingham city centre.

  • Nearby Parking
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Access Seating Available
  • Toilets

The Old Library,
Gibb Street,
Birmingham, UK

Map / Website

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