Building For Everyone: Expand Your Market With Design Practices From Google's Product Inclusion Team - Deepstash

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Inclusive Products and Services

Inclusive Products and Services

‘Building for Everyone, with Everyone’ means producing inclusive products and services. The customer should feel that the product fits with who they are, and was built just for them. It boils down to these core components:

  • Listening
  • Caring
  • Being humble
  • Empathy


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Understanding Your Customer

The all-important first step here is to develop an understanding of your users/customers/clients – understanding who they are, where they come from, what’s important to them, and how their core needs are represented in your product or company mission. To become more inclusive, we need to build diverse teams and ask users what they need, and why.

To become more inclusive, we need to build diverse teams and ask users what they need, and why. We need to build a thorough understanding of our users, revealing our biases and uncovering (potential) areas of exclusion.


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A Common Language

Diversity in language can lead to misunderstandings, and how a shared language helps create clarity and alignment around diversity.

At the core of product inclusion are four pillars: product inclusion, diversity, equity and intersectionality.


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The Four Pillars

  1. Product inclusion: The practice of applying an inclusive lens throughout the entire product design and development process to create better products.
  2. Diversity: Location, language, available infrastructure, etc.
  3. Equity: This is the quality of being fair and impartial in terms of access, opportunities, and success for all individuals. This is not to be confused with Equality.
  4. Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender.


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10 Questions We All Need To Ask And Answer

  1. Has your team been exposed to product inclusion?
  2. Have you identified a champion for your product inclusion efforts?
  3. What’s the product challenge?
  4. What’s the inclusion challenge?
  5. How do the product and inclusion challenges align?
  6. Whom do you need to influence to unlock resources to solve the problem?
  7. What’s your action plan for a test/pilot?
  8. What partners need to be involved to execute, document, measure, and communicate the results of your test/pilot?
  9. How can you build the resources to continue this work?
  10. What’s your public commitment to documenting and sharing the outcomes of your work?


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The Challenge Of Product Inclusion

What makes product inclusion difficult is that it requires product managers and leaders to be honest and clear about who they’re genuinely aiming to serve.

Once you’ve worked through some of the above ten questions, you can start being much more intentional about how you design your products.


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Building a human case for product inclusion

  • Identify the market opportunity for key demographics.
  • Recognise what real users want.
  • Identify the market opportunity by examining the gap between what is currently being offered and the key demographic needs or desires.


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Basic Product Principles

  • Naming exclusion unlocks the potential of inclusion.
  • Team diversity is reflected in product diversity.
  • Everyone is different.
  • Needs and preferences change with context.
  • Everyone is biased!
  • Equal isn’t always equitable.
  • Designing for a minority also benefits the majority.
  • Diversity accelerates and amplifies learning and innovation.
  • Diversity and inclusion are good for business.


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Maxims About Product Inclusion

  • When in doubt, subtract
  • Never say “No” without offering “Yes”
  • Be tough, not rough
  • Risk nothing, change nothing
  • Seek the invisible
  • Quality is a habit
  • Magic > Logic


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Measuring product inclusion performance

To make a business case for product inclusion, we start with evaluating our metrics needs, to identify whether any existing metrics need to be amended or augmented by new ones:

  • What metrics do you currently use to assess the performance of your product or service?
  • Do your existing metrics provide insight into the needs and sentiments of non-majority users specifically?
  • What does “underrepresented user” mean for your organisation, team, process or product?
  • Where do you not have insight into the needs and sentiments of underrepresented users?


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The Two Buckets

Metrics can be classified into two broad categories, or buckets: socialisation metrics and product inclusion metrics.

  • Socialisation metrics – These are the metrics we can use to track progress in terms of diversity and inclusion awareness and participation.
  • Product inclusion metrics – These are the metrics we can use to track progress in terms of integrating product inclusion into what our product teams are doing and the outcomes of those efforts.


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Input And Output Metrics

Another way to classify metrics is to distinguish between input and output metrics:

  • Input metrics – These metrics are meant to track the resources used to produce the desired outcome with respect to product inclusion.
  • Output metrics – These metrics reflect the outcome resulting from a given input.


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