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Designing for Diversity
User-Centered Design exists to reduce the gaps between people. Because more often than not the person designing the product and the person using it are very different.
Our users ( customers, visitors, friends ) have different ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, political views. They come from different places, but most importantly – they think differently than you.
Research has shown that we do the majority of our thinking in our subconscious mind. This is where we store our habitual or unconscious biases.
Did you know – if your brain was given a choice it would like to do the same things over and over again to conserve decision-making energy?
As creators, we have great power and therefore a great responsibility to be aware of our natural biases.
Because of our design decisions, our audience will have a pleasurable or frustrating experience with a product. As a flow-on effect, that shapes how they feel about the brand and sometimes themselves.
Here are some strategies we can use to start closing the gaps and combating bias:
- Incorporating user research into our process: take the time to really know your audience, so you can have empathy for them.
- By hiring a diverse team: No surprises here, we need more unique perspectives to see what we don’t.
- Building emotional intelligence: some people naturally have more than others but it can be learned. It assists in problem-solving and inspiring others.
So how will we bridge the gap in diversity so that our design captures a wider audience, making the experience more positive for a larger proportion of the population?