Designing for Inclusion and Diversity image

Designing for Inclusion and Diversity

Creating a worldwide campaign to spark connections between problem solvers of diverse backgrounds

Background

To further explore designing for diversity and inclusion, I participated in OpenIDEO’s Inclusion Challenge, which called people from all over the world to submit ideas that would spark dialogue and foster connections between people of diverse backgrounds. OpenIDEO, a global community working together to design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges, also offered the opportunity for a finalist to work with the OpenIDEO team as a Visual and User Experience Designer on a 3-month contract. I felt this challenge would give me the opportunity to work on high leverage problems, so I participated. I did not receive the position, but I learned a great amount from other participants and received an Honorable Mention recognition.

Role

Product Designer

Type

Interaction Design, Diversity and Inclusion

Duration

1 week

Addressing Inclusion

In fast paced problem solving environments, thinking about inclusion can sometimes be an afterthought. Decisions are sometimes made by teams and stakeholders without consciously considering whose voice is not being represented. Thus, how can I design a way to prompt problem solvers to consciously and explicitly consider other diverse perspectives? Attempting to reframe my thinking, I thought: can I address inclusion by addressing exclusion? This thought became the basis of my campaign. I aimed to encourage problem solvers to practice inclusion by asking them to think about who they might be excluding.

Who are you excluding?
Prompting viewers to practice inclusion by asking them to think about who they might be excluding

Exploring OpenIDEO’s Online Platform

Before participating in the challenge, I needed to orient myself to what OpenIDEO's online platform, what they are looking for in a submission, and understand how my submission would be judged. My exploration focused on two areas: functionality and the design brief.


Functionality

Through exploring OpenIDEO’s online platform, I was able to meet others who were also participating in the Inclusion Challenge. I was able to quickly understand the functionality of giving and receiving feedback, which would help my idea gain traction amongst viewers worldwide and the judges.


Design Brief

In reading the open ended design brief provided, I carefully examined the criteria and deliverables for the Inclusion challenge, as well as the technical requirements.

Key Insights & Requirements

Physical & Digital icon

Physical & Digital

Integrate physical/print material with digital content to engage a worldwide audience.

Brand Consistency icon

Brand Consistency

Adhere to OpenIDEO’s branding style guide to maintain brand consistency and identity.

Have Fun icon

Have Fun

This is an new challenge with a difficult topic. Have fun and be creative in addressing inclusion!

Storyboarding and Wireframing the Experience

To understand how a problem solver might interact with printed and digital prompts, I quickly storyboarded a potential interaction and wireframed a potential digital user interface.

storyboards
Storyboard of how a designer and a math professor can meet to solve similar problems
wireframes
Wireframing the digital wep application experience

Deliverables

Based on my storyboards and wireframes, I designed and produced the following deliverables for my entry into OpenIDEO’s Inclusion Challenge.


Logo

The logo includes the name of my campaign, Global Inclusion Challenge, with a subtle hint that ALL people around the world can contribute.

Poster

The poster would be problem solvers’ entry point into the campaign and into the online application. Asking the question, “Who are you excluding?”, challenges traditional marketing norms by suggesting that the audience might be missing an important voice in their design process.

Web App Design

The web application runs a series of user profile queries to identify other participants who are working on similar issues, and then offers a suggestion to prompt the user to include a diverse perspective.

Time and Technical Constraints

After hearing about OpenIDEO’s Inclusion Challenge, I had 1 week to complete the project. Luckily, I had previously participated in design for inclusion classes and workshops hosted by Google, IDEO, and the Stanford d.school, so I had the language and vocabulary to think about difficult topics, such as inclusion, diversity, and equity. In addition to time constraints, there were some technical constraints to work through. Though an actual web interface would have been nice to build using HTML5 and CSS, I did not have time. Therefore, working from my wireframes, I prototyped the online interaction in Adobe XD to simulate simple screen flows.

Reflections


Inclusion as a Practice

Through this project, I began to further see inclusion as an action that can be practiced daily as designer, and not as an outcome or by-product. Building a strong consistent practice of inclusion in my design process and daily routines can lead to more equitable products.


Difficult Conversations as a Springboard

Talking about inclusion, diversity, and equity can lead to difficult conversations and cause other topics, such as race, economics, and politics, to arise. Participating in discussions on all those issues can feel overwhelming, intimidating, even awkward. However, it is through these difficult conversations, I became more comfortable in addressing them in my designs and sharing my ideas with others.


What I Would Do Differently

If I could re-enter this challenge or enter another, I would enter early so that I can solicit feedback from other participants, which would give me more time to iterate on my ideas. OpenIDEO’s online platform has great features that allow for knowledge sharing and social learning. For future challenges with OpenIDEO, I will make sure to utilize those affordances.


Credits

I would like to give a shout out to the facilitators of the inclusion workshops and classes I participated in. They gave me the language and vocabulary to think about and tackle difficult issues, such as diversity, inclusion, and equity.

  • Ariel Raz, K12 Lab Network, IDEO, Design for Inclusion, 2017
  • David Clifford, K12 Lab Network, Empathy Techniques for Pursuing Educational Equity, 2017
  • Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, Google, Fostering Innovation Through Inclusion, 2017
  • Susie Wise, K12 Lab Network, Design.edu, 2016