Towards Designing a More Inclusive Technology

In Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, awareness of how to address diversity is increasing. For example, the number of published papers that offer information on different diversity dimensions has significantly increased [2]. Designers and developers aim to be aware of the different types of their technology users to ensure that no individual or community is harmed or left behind. One of the most prominent ways to maintain this awareness is by having an image of fictive users or personas in mind and generating demographical segments of users [4]. However, most designers understand that their approaches to getting to know users are somewhat limited and that their potential users are far more diverse [1]. 

To avoid partially representing or completely silencing users’ differences, here are some suggestions:

1- Apply a user-centered design: User-centered design is a collection of processes that focus on putting users at the center of product design and development. User-centered design is based on a few principles that aim to involve users in the design process from the very beginning and introduce users’ feedback loop in the product life cycle. There are different methods to apply user-centered design, including creating personas, specifying scenarios of interactions, and consistently observing how users interact with your technology [5]. 

2- Design with diverse communities, not for them: This process requires empathizing with user communities to understand their needs and challenges. This can be accomplished by actively strengthening connections with community members, using participatory and co-creation methods throughout the process, and customizing products even after launch [3].

3- Build diverse teams: recognize that having diverse teams including older engineers, designers, and researchers—both male and female—can be a simple and effective way to prevent stereotypical and homogeneous imagery from being taken up in designs of technologies [1].

Here are some examples that demonstrate how tech companies try to create more inclusive products:

1-   Google introduced new emojis related to professional roles, gender, and skin tones to better represent the diversity of users.

2-   Apple integrated accessibility features into their products. For example, VoiceOver allows people with different abilities and languages to navigate platforms in a way that meets their needs.

3-   Microsoft launched an inclusive language checker tool that allows users to identify gender bias, age bias, and more in their documents.



[1] Oudshoorn, N., Neven, L., & Stienstra, M. (2016). How Diversity Gets Lost: Age And Gender In Design Practices Of Information And Communication Technologies. Journal of Women & Aging, 28(2), 170–185. doi:10.1080/08952841.2015.1013834

[2] Himmelsbach, J., Schwarz, S., Gerdenitsch, C., Wais-Zechmann, B., Bobeth, J., & Tscheligi, M. (2019). Do We Care About Diversity in Human Computer Interaction: A Comprehensive Content Analysis on Diversity Dimensions in Research. Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–16. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300720

[3] Chang, F. (2020). To Build More-Inclusive Technology, Change Your Design Process. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

[4] Jansen, J. (2021). Customer Segmentation Using Online Platforms: Isolating Behavioral And Demographic Segments For Persona Creation Via Aggregated User Data. Retrieved from

[5] User Centered Design Principles & Methods Adobe XD Ideas. (2023). Retrieved from