Designing for equity and inclusion.

Jacquelyn Iyamah
Dec 12, 2020 · 3 min read

Summary from my presentation at Harvard's Design Impact Conference.

This fall, I had the honor of being invited to present at Harvard’s Design Impact Conference to speak about designing for equity and inclusion. This was an opportunity that was deeply in alignment with my values.

I have a degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and a degree in User Experience Design from the University of Baltimore. I use both to design spaces that are inclusive and equitable for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). I am also the founder of Making the Body a Home, a platform that creates wellness courses for folx to unpack unconscious racism.

Before we leave 2020 and enter the new year, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the gems that I shared with the attendees of the conference.

The White Default

I find that one of the biggest obstacles to designing products, experiences, and services that are inclusive of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, is something called the White Default. The White Default speaks to the ways in which whiteness is viewed as the norm in society.

The Implications of the White Default

I often think about how colonial conditioning diminishes our capacity as designers to design products, experiences, and services that are inclusive for BIPOC. When we assume the White Default, we design services, experiences, and products that exclude and oppress BIPOC. Here are just a couple of examples of this:

Challenging the White Default

I believe we have an opportunity to disrupt this pattern through something I call Space-making. Space-making sits at the intersection of design thinking and decolonial thinking.

In UX design we have a systematic process for designing. Space-making asks us to incorporate decolonial thinking into this process. Here is what space-making looks like:

Creating New Worlds

We have the power to redesign the world in which we live to be more equitable and inclusive by challenging our biased design teams and design processes. As Carolin Hill, Founder of the DC Equity Lab says:

“Systems of inequity have been designed by people, and they can be redesigned”.

If you’re interested in learning more about me and my work, feel free to connect with me on Linkedin.

Black UX Collective

A space centering on designing for equity, justice & inclusion.

Jacquelyn Iyamah

Written by

Product Equity & Inclusions Strategist. Degrees from UC Berkeley, and the University of Baltimore. — www.jacquelyn.design

Black UX Collective

A space centering on designing for equity, justice & inclusion.

Jacquelyn Iyamah

Written by

Product Equity & Inclusions Strategist. Degrees from UC Berkeley, and the University of Baltimore. — www.jacquelyn.design

Black UX Collective

A space centering on designing for equity, justice & inclusion.

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