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Designing Inclusively

The last few years have sometimes felt like a collective step backwards in our progress toward a more civilized and caring society. Both for good and ill, the web has played a major role in this. As designers and developers for the web, we must take that influence seriously and consider how we can help create a more positive future.

“One of my heroes, Larry Lessig, famously said that ‘Code = Law.’ The way we code the Web will determine the way we live online. So we need to bake our values into our code.”

Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive

As we plan and build products and experiences, it’s easy to fall prey to the easy routes: focusing on analytics and demographic majorities, thinking about happy paths, and designing around the golden rule: Design for others as you would like to be designed for. To build a truly transformative experience, we need to bake our values into every step along the way—into the way we plan and think, into the way we design and build, and into the way we test and measure. We will need to seek out and empathize with perspectives outside our comfort zone. We need to light up the dark alleys we inadvertently leave behind while building our happy paths. And we must design for others as they would like to be designed for. It’s time to start designing inclusively.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing some of the things I’m working to incorporate into my practice to help me think, design, and test more inclusively. I hope you’ll take some time to share with me what you’re doing as well!

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