Duration: 10 Weeks
SCADPro Aniekanabasi Asanga, Arundhati Bagrodia, Brie Nestler, Cameron Fazio, Chandra Pandian, Gwen Krage, Hannah Harris, Juliana Castro, Kate Bender, Lydia Gutridge, Ricardo Martins, Sam Manelis, Sam Pritchard, Shijie Luo, Stephanie Cardoze, Tamara Castilla, Yue Guo, Zhuorong Yuan
The design process was never created with equity in mind. Designers and companies need to take a step towards a more equitable design process to see equitable outcomes. The goal is not to reach diversity quotas, equity is not found in HR. It is found at the center of the design process. It is found at every step of the way towards a product, a platform, a service, every day. This team of students collaborated with Google, Amazon, and Facebook through SCADPro to discover a way to make design outcomes more equitable for all designers.
The Equity Beat Sound System makes equity the center stage at key moments during the design process By intentionally reframing design as a collaborative concert with "jam sessions", rather than a competitive marathon we "sprint" to complete.
Grounded in Critical Race Theory, The Equity Beats Sound System is still deadline conscious but creates brave spaces over harsh finish lines. It allows teams time to explore and discover with equity center stage.
Interviews with 67 professionals and students were collected across various multicultural identities, centering voices within the Black and African Diaspora. Various roles and titles were represented in the data spanning across the technology and design industries. The questions asked were aimed at understanding equity in the practical context of professional experiences
Designers do not consider interests and identities outside of their own, only considering the largest target user group resulting in the unintended harm and exclusion of underrepresented communities.
I worked with a few other students on the team to discover a new tool based on interest convergence that we could prototype and co-create with professionals.
This Equity Beat which we called Encore prompts designers to incorporate and value diverse perspectives in their design process. This fosters an understanding that the interests of underrepresented communities are only likely to be realized when they align with the interests of those in power.
Those with power rarely concede it without interest convergence / Race and racism are socially constructed
The Encore beat originated from the concept of interest convergence, the idea that those in power only support the interests of underrepresented communities when they share those interests. The first iteration used a Venn diagram to help designers visualize the overlap and disparity between their design and their users’ interests.
The second iteration was designed to allow for easier comparison between multiple user identities. This revealed the need to guide designers in discovering diverse identities.
Equity is everyone contributes to the playlist
-Dr. Robert Sellers
The third iteration provided a guiding structure with prompts to help designers imagine diverse identities using their products.
The fourth iteration aimed to combine the chart organization of the second iteration with the guiding prompts of the third. This created a checklist feeling and revealed the need to prioritize deeper engagement with the identities designers generated through the beat.
Design teams should gather to find harmony in their taste in genres, as well as the interests of diverse identities.
Emerging from co-creation sessions with design professionals, iteration five divided the beat into two parts. Part A focused on inspiring designers to think critically about the diverse users that could interact with their designs. Part B encouraged designers to involve diverse identities in their design process and think beyond just their user needs.
No matter where you are in your career, Equity Beats helps to embed justice and empathy into your design process.