The keynote speech of the first day was given by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. The topic covered designing to avoid biases and exclusion. It was really interesting and inspiring. Here are a few highlight from her speech:
- Think about how your app or message could make the user feel alienated or as if they don’t belong in some way.
- Make sure the voice of your product does not push people out or make them feel like they are not part of the “crowd.”
- When a person has to choose his/her race, think about how that makes him/her feel. What if they don’t identify with the choices? What if they are more than one race? Making a person choose a race could make them feel “flattened” and generic. This is especially true if they do not identify with the categories you have presented.
- Security questions are not for everyone. Some people have never had a pet. Some people went to many schools and don’t know how they should answer. Let people create their own security questions that they can identify with.
- We are used to defining our audience and we think it’s easy to do. We see what is “normal” or “like me” in the media and TV. We forget how diverse the world is.
- We must own up to our biases and consciously work past them.
- Stress cases normalizes the unexpected.
- Talk like a human and add some delight. But delight might not always be appropriate. You can fail to see what could go wrong when you decide to add delight.
- If you are not asking yourself “How could this design/text hurt or exclude someone?” you are not thinking about it enough.