Response Crafting

The “right” values for someone in UX or urbanism? For one, Inclusion.

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When we talk about personal values, we typically do not talk in terms of “right” or “wrong;” “better” or “worse,” but when it comes to certain fields of work, it becomes apparent that some values are more valuable than others. And when it comes to developing and designing for large groups of people, having an intuition for inclusion can make a product more impactful.

Inclusion is founded on the core belief that every individual is equally important, and that we all deserve to not be ignored.

In “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” authors Buckingham and Clifton describe the personal strength of “Inclusiveness” as the desire to “include people and make them feel like part of the group… to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit.”

It directly contrasts the values of prestige and social standing, which are rooted in exclusion and prioritize superiority. A person that places too much emphasis on status over other social merits may be poorly suited to a role in user experience or urbanism; fields in which serving the individual often also means serving the masses. And although there are many other values that make a great UX professional or urbanist, the priority of inclusiveness is an important one.

The power of inclusion in various examples is illustrated below…

For example, in the case of streetscapes:

The 16th Street Mall in Denver, CO is highly accessible to all people, from skyrise employees on lunch break to the homeless on benches. (credit: ericrichardson/Flickr.)

In contrast, despite being aesthetically pleasing, this street emphasizes exclusion

As does most of downtown Houston

Or, on a smaller scale:

When it comes to drinking fountains, this represents a more inclusive design, accessible even to dogs

… on the other end of the spectrum (lest we forget): the basic drinking water was once an enforcer of class status; a powerful symbol of inequality.

And lastly, In website design:

Google is inclusive – a classic example of clean, intuitive design. The initial interface offers only one option; the search results are automatically filtered by location.

When you demand a user’s contact info before they even enter the site, however, you create a barrier and inhibit inclusiveness

Though the success of a design has many, many factors, the developer’s ability to create solutions that are accessible and intuitive to a large range of people very often influences their value within the market.

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