Design is diversity: it’s time to talk about our role as designers
uxdesign.cc – User Experience Design — Medium | Fabricio Teixeira
As designers, we claim to choose this profession because we want to make an impact on people’s lives – and we repeat that claim over, and over, and over. So, what are we actually doing?
This post is part of the journey of the team at uxdesign.cc on learning more about Diversity and Design — and sharing what they learn along the way.
di·ver·si·ty: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, variety; especially: the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.
We live in a world undergoing intense transformation. A world that has awaken, as I like to believe, to the importance of empathy and respecting the ones around us.
We also live in a world that has seen a lot of resistance to openness and inclusion these days. The rise of political views that tend to draw lines and give different treatment to human beings that were born in certain regions, belong to certain races, or share certain religious beliefs.
Well, scratch that.
We don’t just “live” in this world.
As designers, we spend most of our day imagining and building experiences that, when added up, take a big portion of people’s days and affect a lot the relationships they have with other people and with the world around them.
We design profile pages where people define how they want to be seen in the world.
We also design online forums, medical forms, services for citizens, social interactions, dating apps, learning platforms — the list is huge.
Aren’t we somehow responsible for more inclusive, diverse experiences?
A series of stories about Diversity and Design
It’s been proven that, from a practical (not to mention moral) standpoint, diversity and inclusion within the field of design lead to more innovation through problem-solving, whether in service of business or society.
Isn’t that what design is all about?
Well, but the needle isn’t moving as fast as expected. In the United States, approximately 86% of professional designers are Caucasian, according to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). This represents only small strides since the 1990 AIGA symposium named “Why Is Graphic Design 93% White?”. And race is only part of the picture. Diversity in design means diversity of experience, perspective and creativity — otherwise known as diversity of thought — and these can be shaped by multiple factors including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual identity, ability/disability and location, among others.
“Diversity may be a more popular buzzword in discussions about design education, conferences and icons, but without inclusive gestures by hiring managers and businesses, senior designers and agencies, educators and other role models, individuals from underrepresented groups entering and remaining in design will remain firmly in the minority.” – Antionette Carroll
That’s why Caio Braga and I decided to start this series.
The topic of Diversity and Design is becoming increasingly popular in conferences, meetups and other design events around the world. But we wanted to bring the topic from the stage to the inside of the company you work for.
Information leads to self-reflection, that leads to discussion, that leads to transformation. That’s what we have always believed.
Diversity generates diversity
This is a twofold story.
First, how do we ensure that, as designers, we are surrounded by a diverse group of colleagues that will constantly, and organically, challenge our assumptions on the very little we know about the world?
Second, once we have that team in place, how can we use design to enable more inclusive experiences for the users of our products?
We are not experts in Diversity by any chance. The idea here is that we will learn about this topic together. In the months of research leading up to the start of this series, we realized that there’s a lot to be learned about the topic, and that there are incredibly talented people out there who can share their knowledge and point of view with us.
So we asked for help.
A series about Diversity has to have diverse perspectives.
Over the course of April, we will pause a bit on our day-to-day posts.
No “tutorials on how to use Sketch”.
Or “ten tips for tech handoff”.
Less buzzwords like “chatbots”, “artificial intelligence” and “VR” around here in the next coming weeks.
More “equality”, “bias”, “intentionality”, “difference”.
But it’s for a good reason.
We hope you enjoy the journey,
Design is diversity: it’s time to talk about our role as designers was originally published in uxdesign.cc on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.