The Cultural Footprint of Inclusive Design

Inclusivity in Design Engineering

Niharika Arabandi

As a self-proclaimed aficionado of film, it feels blasphemous to admit I watched Jurassic Park for the first time ever last month. A landmark in marvel movie-making, and a testament to the interaction of entertainment and technology, one of the more pertinent questions it poses to scientists remains relevant: are we so preoccupied with what we are capable of creating, that we ignore the ethical and practical implications of the creation?

Clarico-Offer style 5

INclusive designs win

Accessibility & Inclusivity are at the forefront of buying decisions;  

Engineers must face this question everyday in their work. Accessibility and inclusivity are amongst the primary challenges faced by engineers of wearable technology. During product development, engineers are asked to incorporate a myriad of variables into their design, including cost, efficiency, ergonomics, and complexity. It is assumed that more volatile factors such as environmental impact and accessibility to broader markets will be subsumed by actors higher in the corporate food chain, when the motive of most corporate entities is to diminish cost and prioritize profit. Diversity is a word often thrown around in corporate settings as a simple checkmark to satisfy for the sake of maintaining good PR, when it goes much deeper than just marketing towards numerous subgroups.

Step one 

Provide Comparable Experience 

Ensure your smart wearable product provides a comparable experience for all so people can accomplish tasks in a way that suits their needs without undermining the quality of the content.

Step two

Consider Situation

People use your wearables in different situations. Make sure your interface delivers a valuable experience to people regardless of their circumstances.

Why must design be accessible and inclusive, and why is it imperative that engineers take on this responsibility? By 2050, over fifty percent of the American population will be made up of minority groups, and these are not limited to racial demographics. As our world becomes more and more intertwined with the virtual world, the relationship we have with technology and its impact on our psyche becomes more pronounced. How we interact with products informs our mental maps, and subsequently how we interact with each other. Consumers value human-centric products, meaning they want to align themselves with companies who will not take advantage of them, while giving them access to a product they can recommend to their loved ones. 

Step three 

Be Consistent 

Use familiar conventions and apply them consistently throughout your smart wearable product as well as software & data design 

Step four

Give Control

Ensure people are in control. People should be able to access and interact with your product and its content in their preferred way.

Sustainability is of the utmost values of generations in a world where climate is precarious. Many companies have been accused of greenwashing as a method of superficially aestheticizing environmentally conscious behavior. The products we create do not exist in a vacuum. As I observed in Jurassic Park, to create for the sake of creation without forethought over the life of the product can be negligent and result catastrophically. The true test of sustainability lies in the longevity of its usefulness to the consumer. A good, low-waste product with good results will stand the test of time, as people are able to recommend it to others knowing that it will be sustainable for the family and for the environment. Innovating products using revolutionary software and material that does not degrade easily, and providing it at a competitive and accessible price is what helps bind a community to see their value as consumers. At WearMe, our diverse teams from across the world work diligently to customize products to fit the needs of all customers and provide them with a reliable and successful experience. The field of engineering is one of the most forward-thinking and diverse professions of our time. Creativity is a requisite skill, as the problems we face today require complex solutions under numerous constraints. As we dismantle the obstacles to entering the profession, the pool of engineers becomes difficult to broadly define in terms of both identity and personality. Luckily, the constraints of the physical world become more surmountable as more diverse representations of the broader population are included in the workplace. The footprint a company leaves behind can be one others can follow the footsteps of to reach true socio-cultural inclusion.

Step five 

Offer Choice

Consider providing different ways for people to complete tasks, especially those that are complex or non standard.

Step six

Prioritize Content

Help users focus on core elements of the tasks, features, and information your wearable provides by prioritizing them within the design and layout.