Tag Archives: Pride Month

Code for all: 10 principles for LGBTQIA+ product inclusion

Posted by Danny Rozenblit, Developer Marketing

As LGBTQIA+ Pride Month comes to a close, we will see rainbows leaving shopfronts and social media logos. The need for thoughtful inclusion, however, persists: developers have the opportunity to embrace Pride 365 days of the year by building LGBTQIA+ inclusive products, thinking about how testing and design choices affect others every day.

Ultimately, making your site, app, game, or software system more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people can improve the user experience for everyone. Therefore, we’re showcasing 10 ways developers can build LGBTQIA+ inclusive products.

While this is a non-exhaustive list, below are some core principles to consider as you build for everyone.

Illustration of speech bubbles in the colors of the trans flag's white, pink, and blue contatining squiggles and heart shape, all connected by a curved line

Language matters

  1. Use gender-inclusive and non-binary language
  2. Language plays a significant role in creating an inclusive environment. Avoid assumptions about gender and strive to use gender-neutral language whenever possible. Instead of using gendered terms like "he" or "she," opt for gender-neutral alternatives like "they" or "their." Provide options for users to specify their pronouns or use gender-neutral terms like "user" or "person" in your interface. At the same time, don’t make pronoun selection mandatory to access any essential content, as not everyone will feel comfortable sharing. In addition, consider not requesting and/or tracking gendered selections unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  3. Beware of gendered terms
  4. As an example, use “parents” rather than a singular “mother” or “father” as a way to incorporate gender-neutral language into your product. By adopting gender-inclusive language, you create a more welcoming experience for all users, regardless of their sexuality and gender identity.
  5. Understand pronouns and gender identity selection
  6. If asking users to select their gender, really understand what you are hoping to optimize. Is it understanding audience division? Is it specifically catered to garner insights from non-cisgender folks? If so, make sure your options reflect that.

    A general example might include the question and answers,

    • Select the gender that most closely aligns to you:
    • A) Woman B) Man C) Non-Binary D) Genderqueer E) Other.

    If you are differentiating between cis and non-cis folks, make sure that there is a reason or objective behind it. For example, it might make sense to specify on a health survey, but not on an event like a summit registration. Additionally, don't assume pronouns based on gender identity, or if you are doing this, ensure the request and reasoning are transparent.

  7. Avoid stereotypes and assumptions
  8. When designing and developing your product, steer clear of reinforcing stereotypes or making assumptions about LGBTQIA+ individuals. Avoid using clichéd or offensive imagery that may perpetuate dominant ideas and perspectives of the community. Instead, focus on representing diverse identities and experiences authentically. Real people deserve to see themselves accurately reflected in your work. In turn, it makes your product more accessible, useful, and realistic.
    Illustration of a privacy and security sheild in half indigo and half violet, superimposed by a white, rounded, encrypted password box with four black asterisks on the right, and a white circle with a black as asterisk on the left. Elements are connected by a curved line

    Privacy and discretion above all else

  9. Implement Privacy and Safety features
  10. Creating a safe and secure environment is essential for all users, especially for LGBTQIA+ individuals who may face unique risks and privacy concerns. Allow users to control their privacy settings and provide options to hide personal information that might disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity. Collecting data on LGBTQIA+ status can be dangerous to people living in certain countries. Implement robust reporting and moderation features to address harassment, hate speech, or any form of discrimination within your product. By prioritizing privacy and safety, you demonstrate your commitment to protecting the well-being of your LGBTQIA+ users.
  11. Offer flexible account setup
  12. Many platforms require users to provide personal information during the account setup process. However, this can be a sensitive area for LGBTQIA+ individuals who may not feel comfortable disclosing their gender identity or sexual orientation. Consider providing optional fields or allowing users to skip certain questions that are not necessary for the core functionality of your product. In addition, not requiring users to publicly share information provides a more inclusive user experience.
  13. Allow easy updates to users’ gender, name, and email address in their settings
  14. Consider ways to make it easily accessible and frictionless for people to update their user and profile names. If additional documentation is required (banking, credit bureaus, health), be clear about the steps to make this change. Ideally, this process could be done without a user having to contact support as this can feel extremely vulnerable.
    Illustration of three slanted bars in red, orange, and white, ascending in height. Flanking the bars on the left and right are a small white circle with a black checkmark on the left and a larger yelllow circle with a black checkmark on the right. Elements are connected by a curved line

    Be accountable for growth

  15. Understand and educate yourself
  16. To build inclusive products, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community and the challenges they face as well as one’s own dynamics around gender identity and sexuality. Take the time to educate yourself about gender and sexual diversity, LGBTQIA+ terminology, and relevant social issues. Engage with LGBTQIA+ communities, attend workshops or conferences, and read reputable sources to broaden your knowledge. By familiarizing yourself with these topics, you'll be better equipped to create products that reflect and respect the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
  17. Inclusive user research
  18. By conducting user research and with LGBTQIA+ individuals, developers can gain deep insights into their unique needs, preferences, and challenges. This approach enables the creation of products that are truly inclusive and tailored to the diverse experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community.

    Remember to think about intersectionality when considering what users you are attempting to reach within the community. Other identity factors such as race, nationality, disability, familiar status and class interpose with gender and sexuality to craft unique and multi-faceted experiences. No matter who your targeted user is, these additional identities affect their experience. After collecting LGBTQIA+ perspectives, continue to incorporate them in future testing phases.

  19. Regularly update and iterate:
  20. Inclusion is an ongoing process, and it's important to continuously evaluate and improve your product's inclusivity. Stay informed about evolving LGBTQIA+ terminology, issues, and advancements. Actively seek feedback from users and be open to suggestions for improvements. Regularly update your product to address any shortcomings and ensure that it remains inclusive as technologies and social contexts evolve.

Learn more about LGBTQIA+ inclusion:

How Google Enables Experts To Innovate Developer Tools From Food To Music

Posted by Lyanne Alfaro, DevRel Program Manager, Google Developer Studio

Developer Journey is a monthly series highlighting diverse and global developers sharing relatable challenges, opportunities, and wins in their journey. Every month, we will spotlight developers around the world, the Google tools they leverage, and the kind of products they are building.

This month we hear from developers who are Google Developer Experts and former Google Developer Student Clubs members building tools to enhance food delivery, developer playgrounds, and even real-time BPM counters for DJs. We also ask our community members about the role of allyship during Pride Month.

Yves Kalume

Headshot of Yves Kalume smiling
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Google Developer Expert, Android
GDSC Alumni
Android Developer

What was your experience with Google Developer Student Clubs like and how did it help you get to where you are today?

For me, GDSC was a kind of starting point for this adventure. As an introvert, I initially struggled to connect with others, but being part of a larger group motivated me to step out of my comfort zone. I gained confidence in myself and my ability to make a positive impact on others.

What I love most about Google Communities is the emphasis on human relationships. Collaborating with other leads and learning from one another is integral to driving our communities forward. Even now, I enjoy the ongoing exchange among alumni.

Which tool has been your favorite? Why?

I'm an Android Developer by profession and I use Google tools on a day-to-day basis, starting from AndroidX libraries, Google Play Services, Jetpack Compose and more. At a company where I worked previously, I spent a lot of time working with Firebase and Google Cloud.

What Google tools have you used to build?

Jetpack Compose is hands down my favorite tool to build an Android app since it provides an intuitive way of building a user interface that saves me time and effort. Before that, I was not really friends with UI designers. Creating UI was a chore, but Jetpack Compose is a game-changer.

Tell us about something you've built in the past using Google tools.

I’ve been working on an application called Be Served at Zx Connect. The goal is to make life easier for users by offering services like goods and food delivery.

The app is entirely written in Kotlin and uses modern tools like Jetpack Compose, architecture components, and Google Cloud Platform, which help us build scalable solutions. They easily improve and add features based on customers’ feedback.

What advice would you give someone starting in their developer journey?

The first step is often the hardest. The best way to persevere is to find people who are like you, who have been where you are and who can inspire you. The best place to be is in a developer community by attending meetups and being active.

Another important piece of advice is to find a specific area and focus on it. Practice is the best way to understand a concept; learn by doing, and never neglect basics.

Becoming a better developer takes time and effort: stay passionate and trust the process.

What is the role of allyship in the tech industry during Pride Month?

We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and others about the issues facing marginalized communities, to speak out against discrimination and prejudice, and to actively work towards creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace.

The role of allyship in the tech industry during Pride Month is crucial, but it should not be limited to just one month. It's about creating a culture of acceptance, respect, and support all year round.

Let’s all commit to being allies every day, not just during Pride Month (or Black History Month), and let us work together to create a better world for all.

Maxim Salnikov

Headshot of Maxim Salnikov smiling
Oslo, Norway
Google Developer Expert, Web Technologies and Angular
Developer Engagement Lead in Microsoft

Which tool has been your favorite? Why?

I'm currently a big fan of the Workbox library. I've used it to build all my recent progressive web apps, which require core PWA capabilities like offline readiness. I've given a lot of tech talks and workshops on Workbox because I want to introduce it to as many developers as possible.

I strongly believe that installability, connection resilience, and proper integration with the underlying platform are essential components of modern web frontend applications. Building a service worker from scratch to provide these features can be challenging, as there are many nuances and things to consider to avoid ruining your app in production.

Workbox provides the perfect balance of abstraction for the core entities you need to optimize networking, while still giving you full control over your service worker behavior. It's a stable and mature library that's actively supported by the community.

What Google tools have you used to build?

In my 20 years of being a developer, I've used many tools from Google. But what really drew me to the communities, conference organizing and technical speaking was the Angular framework. I was instantly in love with the technical side of it - it was a huge step forward for web development, allowing for the creation of frontend apps using some really cool backend techniques.

I also appreciate the developer community around it. They focus on sharing knowledge and tools, helping out new people, and being welcoming and positive. After attending a few Angular events organized by the community, I became a co-organizer of the Norwegian Angular meetup, and co-founded the Nordic Angular conference: ngVikings. We had three in-person events in Denmark and Finland, and one online event with thousands of participants. Nowadays, I use multiple frameworks for my hobby and side projects, but I'm still an active member of the Angular ecosystem.

Tell us about something you've built in the past using Google tools.

My recent projects that use Workbox for the service worker automation include:

I built it for my own live performances and share it with the global community of DJs and music producers.

Web Push is one of my favorite features of progressive web apps. I actively explore it from the development and UX perspective, and present my findings.

I am an active member of the generative AI community. This is my way of contributing to the creation of a healthy and united community around AI and LLM fields.

They are all open source, so I would appreciate any comments or pull requests!

What advice would you give someone starting in their developer journey?

  1. Learn the fundamentals. Take the time to learn the basics of coding, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These are the building blocks of web development and will give you a solid foundation for further learning.
  2. Practice. The best way to learn is to build things. Find projects to work on and practice coding.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is the best way to learn and grow as a developer.
  4. Get involved in the developer community.

What is the role of allyship in the tech industry during Pride Month?

There are many initiatives that allies can organize and support. We also should be creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Radostin Cholakov

Headshot of Radostin Cholakov smiling
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Machine Learning Researcher, Obecto Ltd.

Which tool has been your favorite? Why?

My favorite Google tool is TensorFlow, as it has extensive support for a wide range of applications, from tabular modeling and graph neural networks to computer vision or natural language processing. The ability to build, train, and fine-tune complex neural networks using TensorFlow has significantly accelerated my research. Its easy integration with other technologies has made it an essential part of my development process.

Also, I love serverless and use Google Cloud Functions in nearly all my projects! I'm excited that during I/O this year, Python support was introduced in Firebase Functions as well.

What Google tools have you used to build?

I have used a variety of Google tools in my projects, including TensorFlow, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Firebase, and Flutter. They enable me to create powerful machine learning models, deploy, manage them at scale, and to build user-friendly interfaces to serve their applications across all platforms.

Tell us about something you've built in the past using Google tools.

One notable project I have built using Google tools is the Bulgarian NLP platform "AzBuki.ML". I used TensorFlow to develop several state-of-the-art natural language processing models specifically tailored for the Bulgarian language. These models were hosted on the Google Cloud Platform and served through web and mobile applications built with Angular, React, or Flutter and hosted on Firebase Hosting.

In the past two years, I have been actively conducting research in machine learning as well. I have used the developer resources by Google to extend my theoretical studies to usable software libraries or at least provide tutorials to interested developers on applying state-of-the-art techniques for auxiliary learning, contrastive learning, tabular modeling, and autoregressive text generation in their work. These include:

  • The GatedTabTransformer: A state-of-the-art deep learning tabular classification architecture inspired by TabTransformer with integrated gated multilayer perceptron. I recently gave a talk on how it can be used together with the TF-DF library for robust tabular classification and regression.
  • RSTOD: Novel auxiliary tasks for task-oriented dialogue systems. The study has been peer-reviewed and is available in the ACL Anthology.

What advice would you give someone starting in their developer journey?

  • Start your developer journey with curiosity and continuous learning. Resources for computer programming and machine learning are easily accessible, allowing growth at your own pace, from anywhere, at any time, and at any age.
  • Use online courses, tutorials, forums, and blogs to learn and connect with developer communities.
  • Collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and gain insights, support, and mentorship from these networks.
  • Work on open-source projects that you're passionate about to enhance your problem-solving skills through hands-on experience and engage with the developer community to gain valuable experience or forge connections.

What is the role of allyship in the tech industry during Pride Month?

By embracing allyship, we can help create a more inclusive and innovative tech industry that benefits everyone.