How does design thrive in diversity?



Diversity has always been a powerful virtue. It embodies and highlights the significance of acceptance and openness for all. Lately, the world has been suffering from rigid opinions of decision-makers that uphold prejudice. Though such unfortunate incidents are not direct, their impacts are. And so, cherishing diversity has become the need of the hour.


As design has an explicit influence on human experiences, it can be a pioneer for diversity to bloom. Design is all about creating things to make people’s lives easy. It’s one of those unique fields with no prejudice of which user of which race, background, and ethnicity will use their product. Also, design is an essential part of people’s lives that impacts their mindset, thought process, and even relationships.


Yes, a few flaws in the design systems may hinder diversity from flourishing. However, breaking that barrier is in progress as the design community begins to target these issues and open its arms for diversity and inclusion. Together, the design community strives to make diversity thrive!. In this article, we will focus on how design can thrive in diversity. Stay tuned till the end!


Why Strive For Diversity In Design?


A survey of the design industry demographics revealed that almost three-fourths of designers are white. The 2016 Design Census informed that 73% of those researched were white, 9% Hispanic, 8% Asian, and just 3% were black.


It doesn’t stop here. These statistics are most prominently seen in tech giant corporations. For example, 60% of Google’s workforce is white, 31% is Asian, and the remaining ethnicities are just 9%.


Moreover, men acquire a solid 65% of the designer positions. While women already face minority issues in the design industry, they struggle to achieve leadership positions. Also, women designers earn a minimum of 6% less than men for the same skills. These facts throw light upon the grave situation and highlight the importance of embracing diversity.


Let Your Design Thrive For All!


Design is and has always been transforming people's lives through the constant innovation of new experiences. It offers solutions and promotes change in the most creative ways possible. So, design is a medium that has immense potential to permeate diversity and inclusivity. As a designer, you can adopt the following measures to allow your design to thrive in diversity.


Break the norms


Most cultures associate their identity with their pride. They grow up watching non-diversity as a norm in movies, media, books, etc. That’s why most people are conditioned to believe in strict uniformity and take it as something very normal. Designers can take the lead to break such rigid norms and give birth to flexible ones where people adore each other's differences instead of looking down at them.


Reflect that gender is a societal construct.


We know how people associate objects and colors with men and women differently. Designers can challenge these stereotypical gender standards. A design can be for both men and women, whether it’s a makeup application or a gaming website.


Create accessible and open experiences.


While giving effect to the design protocols, many designers design for the perceived ‘majority.’ They design for people who are and will be ‘able’ to use their product. It often becomes a part of the design process to execute the project successfully. However, it may give rise to the design becoming inconsiderate for those who are unable to interact with the design as it was expected to be. These inabilities may be temporary or permanent. Irrespective of the kind of disability, a design should be open and accessible for all. Therefore, designers can follow some design accessibility guidelines to eliminate this design error.



Leave no room for prejudice.


Design is thought-provoking at every step. So, to embrace diversity, add a principle to check your own prejudice at every step of the design process. Though designers can choose any method, such as forming their own guidelines for this matter, they also can use tools like FairML, Google’s What If, Microsoft Fairlearn, etc., to help them detect and eliminate bias from their design. In the end, a designer may holistically scrutinize their product to understand if it serves the purpose for a diverse group of people. Thinking from distinctive perspectives can help designers eliminate possible bias and prejudice from their design.



Don’t just predict people; feel them.


The impact several stereotypes have on a person’s mind can be severe. Designers should consider this fact and eliminate all the conventional ways that may hurt users’ emotions by reminding them of their tragic experiences. For instance, people may not select binary options such as “male” or “female” while filling out a form. Similarly, people who preach atheism may dislike the fact that their choice of not subscribing to a religion is not given validity when they fill forms. Designers should try to minimize the possible occurrence of such instances and empathize with users from all walks of life.


Design is core to human interaction and communication in the modern era. The responsibility to make this interaction comprehensive and fun befall on designers. Hence, they should first understand their users to eliminate not only their physical but emotional impediments. Designers should note that diversity is not limited to race, gender, or faith. It is a broad area that may require various filters of understanding.


When designers learn to cherish diversity they not only improve the user-friendliness of their design but also encourage innovation from users of diverse backgrounds. Above all, diversity in design eradicates the inferiority complex and ignorance, establishing that the human race is one and everyone deserves to be treated equally.


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