Tool for overcoming bias in design

A magnifying glass is held over a grid montage of human faces. Overcoming bias in design.Everyone has a bias. Our biases can lead us to fall into the traps that create unintended barriers or inconveniences for users. Recognising biases in our outlook is the key to countering them in design processes. Airbnb Design has a tool for overcoming bias in design. 

It’s a human trait to hold on to initial evidence more strongly than information we gather later on. Then we fit our interpretation of the world to match that initial evidence, regardless of what else we might learn as time passes. This can prevent the process of designing inclusively.

Airbnb Design partnered with journalists from News Deeply and came up with a toolkit for designers. Another Lens is a research tool for conscientious creatives. “We believe that both designers and journalists have the responsibility to shine a light on their bias by asking the right questions, seeking conflicting viewpoints, and expanding their lens to build inclusive, global solutions”.  

Three principles underpin the thinking process: balance your bias, consider the opposite and embrace a growth mindset. All good principles for universal design thinking. The website tool is simple to use, poses critical questions and provides the thinking behind it. 

It’s the way the brain processes things

A globe atlas of the world sits on a desk and lined up in front are small dolls representing different countriesDr Belina Liddell argues that culture may affect the way your brain processes everything. And that is important. The term “culture” is a very complex web of dynamic systems – beliefs, language and values, and also religion, socio-economic status and gender may play a part too.

Liddel explains how culture makes a difference to the way we not only perceive things intellectually, but visually as well. All this is from the emerging field of cultural neuroscience.  Now we have new acronym to deal with, WEIRD – Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic. The article also discusses refugee populations. See the ABC science website for more on this interesting article. 


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