Project Brief Final

D&I Design Practices

01. SUMMARY     


The problem 

According to Training Industries, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a term used to describe programs and policies that encourage representation and participation of diverse groups of people, including people of different genders, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, religions, cultures, ages, and sexual orientations and people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills and expertise. Research has found that having diverse viewpoints at all levels of an organization improves financial results, organizational and team performance, innovation, and other areas of the business.

Among all the fields, I think design industry couldn't emphasize this topic more by frequently saying the term "empathy". However, we fail to turn the idea into action. For instance, the 2016 Design Census revealed that 73 percent of those surveyed identified as white, 55% of designers are men, and female designers earn a minimum of 6 percent less than their male counterparts. Besides demographics, Also, while most of the companies aren’t being transparent in terms of their design and research process, there are no ways that we know whether design research processes that companies apply are inclusive and ethical.

Reasons that cause the problem 

  • Intersectionality: 

According to Allergies global solutions, Intersectionality is a social theory for understanding how systems of power impact people in relation to factors that influence social stratification like class, race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. For example, earnings of white women are approximately 79 percent of the earnings of white men, while women of color average approximately 59 percent. It feels like disrimination are layered in layers, without having an end.  

  •  Unconscious bias: 

Trusting our instinct to hire someone that seems to fit the position is the way we recruit people. However, instincts are bias since studies show people are more likely to hire people who look like them. For example, when white men occupy the majority of management positions, and therefore, have the most influence over new hires, the people they refer and hire will tend to also be like them. 

  • Culture fit: 

Team homogeneity can be an excuse for only hiring someone who is similar to the team.  For instance, if there’s a department where employees are disproportionately hired relative to their race, gender, class, and other factors, people associate these biases with certain roles (women in HR, men in finance, the whiteness of public company leaders and directors) and codify those as “culture.” 

  • Job Descriptions and Discrimination

Small wording choices can impact the way candidates feel when they interact with job descriptions. For example, research shows that masculine words  like “competitive” and “determined” resulted in women disproportionately reporting that they did not see themselves fitting in a given work environment. On the other hand, words like “collaborative” and “cooperative” drew more female candidates than men. Also, companies are easier to create harmful design while there is only one demographic group (ads of Dove and H&M). 

The goal

As a designer, what can I do to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse industry/ work environment, which can further help the industry create thoughtful and ethical designs that can impact the world positively? 

Criteria for success

  • Solution can include both physical (offline) & digital (online) component 

  • Solution can help design industries to fulfill the following goals: 

    • Employee demographics of design companies reflect the ones in the real world

    • General design that fulfill real needs of ALL people 

    • Specific design that fulfill real needs of underrepresented groups 

    • Underrepresented groups are represented and involved  in the design process  

Anchi Hsin