Inclusive

Often times we don’t realize we’re being exclusive unless you’re in school or a closed-door meeting. Between the cliques since grade-school to social rankings of the world, we often find ourselves being exclusive even when we don’t intend to be.

So you can safely assume that whatever we design is also excluding someone who may want to use it.

I want to be the best Ux Designer this world has ever known, but some of the greatest…a few of the greatest minds get together and speak at conferences that cost the kind of money I am now only able to afford after seven years. SEVEN!

That’s a lot of time out of the main loop. I get that they have to cover costs but I don’t have to go to learn. Are they aware of how they’ve excluded the mass majority of the Ux Design population? Its not just them really anybody who throws a conference risks excluding anyone not making enough money to attend.

But they maybe making enough money to purchase access to watch the videos after the fact or even better in real time so that they can shoot questions.

It’s all about accessibility. If we as Ux Designers are so concerned about being inclusive we need to look at accessibility. In every aspect. When we build personas what are we missing?

When you build a site do you automatically assume that the user is like you, able to afford, fast, reliable internet connection from the comfort of their home. What if all they have is their smartphone that only has one bar and maybe two if they go to that one spot in their apartment? What if they only have access to the internet at McDonalds using their wifi? Or at the library with so many restrictions they maynot be able to pull up YouTube? Foreign countries? Language barriers? Out of date equipment?

Yes?

Thought so.

What about the visually impaired and those with hearing problems?

Those without TV, Netflix, Hulu, etc?

Those with bad credit and no bank account, only cash?

Those with no phone or computer?

Those without a car?

Youth without an involved legal guardian to take the time to help them signup for something.

Show me a design that doesn’t put someone at a disadvantage on purpose.

John Maeda – A message on Design and Inclusion

I absolutely agree with this, something that I’ve felt is a required characteristic of a Ux Designer. We have to care about people. How our interfaces effect users. We want to be as inclusive as possible.

Design and Exclusion

Keynote_01-John Maeda

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I sat where they sat

Have you ever met a user that doesn’t want your help? Someone married to their ways. Not all users want all the help that you can offer. They just want you to fix “one problem” and not touch anything else.

They’re like hedgehogs, the closer you get to their operation, the more they stick you with their protective quills.

So what do you do?

Show the love, show that you care, show that you know what you’re talking about. Sit where they sit. Work with them, become a co-laborer.

Why?

Your users may not just have problems or needs, they can be the problem, because of the way they deal with things. Users are people, people are protective of the way that they do things. They honestly won’t admit that the way they go about things are wrong. The possibility of them claiming that something else is better, is greater. Unless you, as a Ux Designer truly care about your users, you can’t help them.

Work with them

I don’t mean compromise. Don’t be blind to their needs, don’t ignore them and don’t use it as an opportunity to promote your intelligence. People don’t want to know what you know, how you do things, until you care to know what they know and to first do things their way.

Purposefully sit down with them and do their job/complete a task the way they do it. Experience their struggle. Talk about it, discuss it, brainstorm on the ways to make it better for the both of you [make it a team thing].

Some people are blind to their needs.

They might not know they need the help of your application. They have been grinding for so long, making it work, that they have ignored it. Their way of life, their way of doing things has been built upon it.

Be as concerned about the user, as you are of the user’s needs.

These opportunities can help you mature your interface. Give you a better understanding of how an expert vs novice user interacts with your interface.

You will have outlier users, “problem users” who don’t fit within targeted user group. You can deny their needs. Yet it is important to acknowledge that you will come across them, so expect them, accept them and give them an opportunity to help open your eyes. Those who give you the most headaches, cause the most problems, don’t understand what to do with your interface or how to use the tools to their benefit, need you the most. Not the users with zero complaints.

One of the best ways to discover needed resources is to need that very resource yourself.