2020 has been a wake-up call. If we take nothing else from it, we’ve learned that our world is rapidly changing. Issues of race, diversity, and inclusion are among many important issues that have raised the public’s consciousness this year. 

Likewise, design does not and cannot remain static. As designers, we have to make sure we appeal to diverse audiences. In October, I attended the virtual Adobe MAX conference and learned about the future of user experience and the benefits of creating inclusive design. I came away with these three key principles of inclusive design: 

  1. Consider the audience’s circumstances. When it comes to design, consider the needs of your target audience and what their lives are like now. Deepa Mann-Kler, chief executive of Neon, said, “Take your work to where people are.” This is especially true with the pandemic: think about your audiences’ circumstances and how you can make your designs relevant to the way they’re living now.
  2. Understand their challenges. In addition to being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, people of color have spoken out against the many other injustices they face. Addressing these issues in your designs shows your solidarity and gives you an opportunity to speak up and speak out. Many companies released commercials this year to show their support, including these from the NBA and McDonald’s:
  3. Listen. How do you meet the challenge of addressing diversity and inclusivity in your designs? During the Adobe Max conference, Tasha Lutfi, principal design director at Microsoft, suggested that design leaders elevate, mentor, and listen to people of color on their teams. Listening to their experiences can broaden the reach of your work and help you tap into new audiences. Lutfi said, “A product reflects the team that creates it.” Similarly, Irene Au, operating partner at Khosla Ventures, said in another session, “What we need to do in order to be successful is to listen.” Being a part of the design industry means that we have to keep learning—and we can do that by listening to voices that aren’t commonly heard so that we can share unique ideas.

Want to know how you can make your advertising and marketing outreach more diverse and inclusive? Contact LMD

Communications Specialist & Senior Designer
As a Communications Specialist, Chanda collaborates with the U.S. Coast Guard's recruiting offices nationwide, third party organizations, and LMD's internal creative team to execute various marketing campaigns and outreach events...Read more