Tag Archives: Product Inclusion

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:

Designing for Wear OS: Getting started with designing inclusive smartwatch apps

Posted by Matthew Pateman & Mallory Carroll (UX Research), and Josef Burnham (UX Design)

Smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular, with many people using them to stay connected, track their health, and control their devices. Watches enable people to get information at a glance and then take action. These quick and frequent interactions can help people get back to being present in their daily lives.

To help with the challenges of designing and building great watch experiences that work for all, we have created a series of videos. These videos cover a variety of topics starting with how to understand what people want from a smartwatch app. We cover how best to design for your target audience, and how to make the most of the watch’s form factor with a series of design principles. Lastly, we give you an introduction on how to approach product inclusion throughout the whole development lifecycle, and how this approach can help make your products better for all. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out the videos below.

1. Introduction to UX Research & Product Inclusion on Wear OS

If you’re considering building a smartwatch app but don’t know how to begin, this video will help you get started. It shows how to uncover what people want from a smartwatch app, what a great Wear OS experience should look like, and how to ensure it addresses real needs of the people you are building for. Lastly, you’ll find out how to take an equity-focused approach when developing products, apps, and experiences.

2. Introduction to UX Design on Wear OS

Did you know that the average smartwatch interaction is approximately 5 seconds long? In this video you will learn how to design effective and engaging experiences for Wear OS. We’ll guide you on how to make the most out of these short watch interactions by covering key differences between mobile and smartwatch design, the importance of a glanceable user experience, and practical tips for designing for different Wear OS surfaces.

3. Introduction to Product Inclusion & Equity

We will introduce you to Product Inclusion and Equity, and how to approach it when designing for Wear OS. You will learn how to build for belonging and make products more accessible and usable by all.

4. Case Studies: Inclusion and Exclusion in Technology Design

Here you will see a series of case studies showing how product and design choices can be impactful on a personal, community, and systemic level. Designs can both be affirming and inclusive, or harmful and exclusionary to various people and communities. We’ll use some examples to highlight how important inclusion and equity considerations are when making product decisions.

5. Considerations for Community Co-Design

The last video in this series will give you an introduction into community co-design, a powerful approach that focuses on building solutions with, not for, historically marginalized communities. In community co-design, we engage with people based on identity, culture, community, and context. You’ll find out how to engage people and communities in a safe, respectful, and equity-centered way in product development.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates from us as we continue to share and evolve our latest design thinking and practices, principles, and guidelines.

We also have many more resources to help get you started designing for Wear OS:

  • Find inspiring designs for different types of apps in our gallery
  • Interested in designing for multiple devices from TV’s to mobiles to tablets, check out our design hub
  • Access developer documentation for Wear OS