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UXPA Boston 2019

Sched link to schedule and slides

Diversity isn't a Fad, the Business Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) #

Diversity #

Being composed of different elements, having variety.

Equity #

Freedom from bias or favoritism in access.

Inclusion #

Participating in a group, not just feeling welcome.

DEI in Context #

DEI is increasing in various aspects of the media, but often gets treated as a "checkbox" that is fixed simply by bringing different people into the fold.

Lack of DEI can lead to "discriminatory design," which can be intentional or not but the result is the same. Example is a soap dispensor that works with white hands but not black ones, due to it likely being developed by mostly/all white engineers. Better DEI helps avoid these issues since they can be called out.

Who is the most unable to use that? ~ Kat Holmes

Mismatch, recommended book by Holmes

Fixing these kinds of issues "over time" isn't always viable due to how they're being used today. Facial recognition AIs have a much higher error rate for black women (35% vs 1% for white males), but these are being used by governments right now for crime. Those are major consequences to a lack of DEI happening now.

An Offensive Angle #

Arguing for DEI to bolster business. Recent studies found a correlation between increased staff diversity and profitability. Glassdoor also found that a diverse workforce attracts more talent, since more job-seekers are prioritizing it.

When planning to bring DEI to a company, tie it to incentives and the mission. Add a layer of accountability of it winds up being talk. Pinterest example: any new staff hire must include an under-represented group as part of the hire.

Writing and Designing for Localization #

Benefits #

Even for products limited to the US, there's still a variety of languages like Spanish and Chinese being used. So that's no excuse to ignore it!

Best Practices #

Localization Approach Steps #

  1. Start with clear, concise language
  2. Consider the local audiences.
  1. Conduct Resonance Research
  1. Design for Accessibility
  1. Launch Planning and Promotion

Accessibility for Content Strategists and Designers #

Making large amounts of existing content accessible.

Simple Tools to Start #

Alt Text for images #

Headings #

Hierarchal and Tagged

Avoid "click here" for a link, as it tells screen readers nothing (especially in large groups). Use descriptive link text with a potential call to action and key words.

Alternate option is killing the "continue reading" link altogether, and making the heading as a link. Can also include screen-reader specific text calling them to read more.

Color #

Ensure there's a strong color contrast ratio. Helps those with types of colorblindess or environmental factors like sunlight.

Recommended tools:

Don't rely solely on color for meaning. Icons, text, sizing, or other paired semantics will help.

Multimedia #

Include captions and transcripts (transcripts are often better) for different media. If captions, avoid auto captions!

Buy In #

Evil By Design, Integrating Better Ethics into Design #

We assume tech is neutral and simply a tool for business, which is naive and blind. It sets people up to be taken advantage of.

Being an ethical designer means being well informed about reality, since their decisions can greatly affect (and damage or exploit) it.

Personal Ethics #

Our brain is how we think of the present, and our hearts are how we think of the future. So any design decisions we make which affect the future are ultimately ethical decisions. Technology is driven by beliefs. Companies also ship their cultures.

Designing to make something better is subjective, and this could change over time. A design that makes someone "feel better" can make many others suffer. So empathy or user-centered design isn't enough to avoid this. It's important to look at the consequences of the decisions more, even when they're made by basically good people.

Being a good person often isn't enough, and needs a system of shared beliefs.

No longer a creative class, instead be a responsible class.

Shared Ethics #

Making ethical decisions as a group is tougher since there's a lot more shades of gray with multiple viewpoints. It can help force people out of their comfort zone, but can make people so uncomfortable with "politics at work" that they shut it down. Especially in (American) cultures where different viewpoints are tolerated less, or beliefs other than our own are automatically "wrong."

Company Processes #

How do we translate design stories and ethics into a business model and numbers?

Practical tactics to do this:

People Over Pixels, Five Lessons for Building an Evergreen Design System #

Design Systems can be defined as:

These enforce consistency and avoid reinventing the wheel each time.

1. Only Design What's Necessary #

Avoid too many iterations of the same component. Each one needs a specific purpose to avoid making things simply to add new designs. Auditing a system to find base components shows it's usually not as huge as it appears.

2. Don't Pull the Sheet off the Car #

Refers to a big reveal, wow moment of the design system. Better to do a slow rollout with gradual feedback and integration.

3. Find and Use a Common Language #

Helps iron-out inconsistencies between the designers' and developers' visions. Having a specified set of colors (named off a common language) reduces the risk of mismatched decisions.

4. Make it Easy to do the Right Thing #

Make it easy to find the right component in a single place with an understandable UI. Ideally, designers and developers use the same system.

Make basic design decisions built into the code by default, like automatically spacing adjacent buttons apart. Could also build out page components in advance for fast reference.

Any changes automatically echo across all possible use instances.

Have written guidelines to hold others accountable, including themselves. Possible for anyone to check and ensure they're being followed. Basics are where to use, where not to use, and how to use it. Just need to be written down!

5. Define a Process, not a Project #

Defining how it's going to be implemented and updated within any project, not for a specific project. Radically different projects will likely need their own processes defined, so processes are higher priority.

The Accessibility Mindset, Dispelling Accessibility Myths #

A11y Misunderstandings #

Appropriate Categories of Disability #

These vary for different organizations.

Disabilities exist along a spectrum of permanent, temporary, and situational. People can move in and out of them throughout their lives (temporary injuries, environments, situations, even cultural).

Evolving Your Organization #

Tie a11y into existing goals and values for each group. Not enough for one person or one department to be the only ones prioritizing it. It affects everyone in some way.

This helps position the message for how accessibility helps everyone.

Next Steps to Take #

The A11y Mindset #

It's never complete, it flows on forever.

Practicing Ethical Design #

Externalities - costs of design that are borne by other people, not the designers.

Decisions #

All design decisions have ethical implication, since they affect people's actions and behavior. We are already, and always, taking part in these dyanmic systems with good and bad outcomes. We can't simply be "neutral."

Human-centered design means focusing design on doing good. This includes improving well-being, balancing ideologies, improves social and environmental responsibilities, and contributes to social justice.

Amid all these values, design decisions come down to which values we want to prioritize. Which is why it falls to the individual.

Complexity #

See design as a social and political process spread across many people. This distributes ethical responsibility across all members of each department. It's not a simple, linear process where any person can see all the moving parts working together.

Leads to decisions with:

Hierarchy #

Design decisions often reflec exist hierarchies unless the work to change them, such as racism or economic inequalities. Good UX is no guarantee to stop these kinds of outcomes.