Though we practice “human-centered design,” we rarely question which humans we center in our designs, says Ben Evans, PayPal’s director of product inclusion. Humans tend towards exclusion to prevent information overload. However, a creative brain can override this ingrained bias if you engage with curiosity and ask the right questions, Ben says.
Ben co-hosted InVision’s “Picture the Future” event series, relaying his expertise designing for increasingly diverse audiences and unlocking innovation through inclusive best practices.
“One of the powerful things about inclusive design is when innovation is born out of the needs of your diverse customers, it actually creates improvements that scale to everyone,” Ben says.
During the event, Ben introduced his “Conscious Design Canvas” and walked through the framework template he created in Freehand.
Here, we dive into how you can use Ben’s Conscious Design Canvas to challenge you and your team’s biases and build more inclusive products.
1. Identify the problem
Great design starts with understanding the problem. In this section, teams briefly describe the problem and detail any existing solutions.
2. Define the obvious user
Next, define your persona or obvious customer. Consider factors like your user’s default age groups, languages, and locations. For example, InVision designed Freehand for product teams, but Ben went further, citing exactly what disciplines within product teams the design team prioritized: Design.
3. Define the non-obvious users?
Ask your team: “Who are the people who we unintentionally have omitted from our process?” Reflect on persons or groups who may experience the problem, but haven’t been prioritized for solutions. For example, designers currently use Freehand, but HR departments and finance teams can also use the digital whiteboard for interviewing and workshopping.
4. What is the opportunity?
Brainstorm to uncover the necessary changes to your thinking, process, or product that will help you best build for non-obvious users. To unlock this, simply get curious, Ben says.
Brittany Anas is a Denver, Colorado-based freelance writer. She is a regular contributor to publications including Apartment Therapy, Forbes and Men’s Journal and previously was a reporter at the Daily Camera in Boulder and The Denver Post. She worked three years as a federal background investigator before transitioning into a full-time freelance role.