How can UX be Socially Conscious in 2019?

Every picture presented, every symbol used and every word written on any user interface be it an app, website or product, leaves an impact and makes a difference. Sharan Grandigae from Redd Experience Design provides an insight to make this user-experience better.
Redd Design - Sharan
Redd Design - Sharan

With each passing day, technology is making the world a smaller place, enabling people to create virtual communities that span continents. Designers of technology need to ensure that the filters through which people see the world are egalitarian and inclusive, that the product/ service/ app created is both socially responsible and oriented towards business goals.

UX designers are constantly influencing perceptions and shaping thinking and with this great power comes great responsibility. Designers should, thus, measure themselves by how inclusive the user experiences design are in the coming year.

Designing for Privacy.

The importance of data and privacy is greater than ever before in this hyper-connected world. The implementation of GDPR laws in Europe highlight this very fact. While these laws don’t apply to India and other proposals like the Srikrishna committee report are yet to gain acceptance, as UX designer, one must adopt practices that protect user privacy. Following strict data privacy practices also has the added benefit of allowing Indian start-ups to expand in Europe without major changes to the design of their systems.

Redd Design - Privacy
Redd Design - Privacy

Design for Awareness.

Design can redefine what’s normal or accepted. The history of design is replete with examples of how it has affected ideas about gender, race, sexual orientation and culture. As self-aware designer, for example, when designing a registration flow, one should take an inclusive view and list three genders instead of two or when in requirement of parent’s name in a form, one must make it a point to state “Parent’s name” instead of “Father’s name” as is so often done.

Furthermore, one should propose environmental- friendly work-flows to clients, such as “pick up from a store”, “deliver when all the items are available” or “don’t include packaging” thus helping in reducing environmental pollution. The ability to be conscious and including these options also have an effect on consumer perception as they are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that demonstrates social responsibility

Redd Design Colour blindness
Redd Design Colour blindness

Inclusive Design.

Digital technology can take steps to accommodate users with disabilities, be it colour-blindness, haptic inabilities or other such conditions, and be more inclusive. Designing for inclusivity enables people with diverse characteristics to use a product in a variety of different environments. This is important because it enables numerous ways in which people can participate in an experience.

Emotive Mapping.

There are many variables in user testing that lead to biased results, two of which are the dominant voice syndrome and observer bias. Emotive mapping aims to measure the user’s emotions using brain waves by placing a headband on the user’s temples.

The unbiased quantitative results reflect the visual, intellectual, motor and memory load the user is undergoing at any given point of the test. This makes it more effective than ever and vastly more insightful to detect problems in UX design, but more importantly, it reveals the real data without the filter of ones’ own biases or those of the researcher.

Redd Design - Mapping
Redd Design - Mapping

Diversity in Content.

Inclusion is guaranteed to expand a product’s reach and also triggers innovation and growth. Whether one uses photos, videos or generates content for a website or product, diversity must be incorporated and represented at an early stage in the design process. This position of social responsibility also means that one must be careful with the words that are used in a brand’s website or app’s content, especially when it comes to language used to refer to groups and/or people.

There are innumerable ways to help make the world a better place with UX. Since the core of UX design is building experiences that are valuable and lasting, the designs in the coming year should be about making peoples’ lives better, one user experience at a time

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