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Cambrian College Inclusive Design

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Keynote delivered to Faculty at Cambrian College on May 2, 2019

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Cambrian College Inclusive Design

  1. 1. Inclusive Design Jess Mitchell Sr. Mgr. Research + Design @jesshmitchell jmitchell@ocadu.ca I’m going to do two streams today. I’m going to talk about the content and then I’m going to reflect on why I’m talking about it in the way I am. This is an example of trying to be more inclusive… I’d like to begin this reflection: I’d like to acknowledge the land we’re gathered on. It is the traditional lands of the Robinson Huron Treaty and my hosts here: the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, their ancestors, and the Anishnaabe People. I’d like to practice the two streams of doing something and then reflecting now. I’m an American, and I’m about to go through the citizenship application here in Canada. My wife, a Canadian, told me that I definitely need to know about the war of 1812. So, imagine our excitement the other night when we found a documentary about the war of 1812—finally I was going to learn about it. Now, my history education was pretty poor. Most history I’ve learned outside of school, through curiosity. The documentary we watched was yet another that outlined the injustices committed by American and Canadian ‘immigrants.’ The Native Americans, or Americans as we might call them, lost nearly everything. They were important to both Canada and the USA until they weren’t. They were both happy to employ N. Americans in their fights and then to turn around and take their land, their food, destroy their homes, take away their culture, their children from their culture. To me, it’s important that we acknowledge the land. And that we speak to the truth of the injustices and ask how can we reconcile that. Warning: this might make you see differently. That’s the goal anyway — to help you see things you can’t easily unsee! So you’ve heard the word ‘inclusive’ and you’ve heard about ‘design’ but together what do they do or mean? —————————————————————— 1:00pm - Welcome and Introduction to Jess - Paula Gouveia, Seija Korpola, Jenni Hayman 1:10 - 2:00pm - Keynote - Inclusive Design at Cambrian College - Jess Mitchell
  2. 2. Inclusive design is design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference. Designing inclusively results in better experiences for everyone. Inclusive Design Research Centre: https://idrc.ocadu.ca At the IDRC, we define inclusive design as design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference. Designing inclusively results in better experiences for everyone. And this is true for anything that we design. You might say, I’m not a designer, it isn’t in my job description, I’ve never thought of myself as a designer… We all are designing, everyday
  3. 3. we are all designers we are all part of the revolution 
 …or else the status quo Nothing is neutral, we are all designers, and we are all part of the revolution… or else the status quo With each decision we make, we’re declaring this one thing and nothing else. That is not neutral— how we arrive at that one thing. Especially those of us creating the rules and systems that others have to follow and be measured against. Your syllabus, your class attendance policy, your flexibility with deadlines… these are all design decisions. In many cases we STANDARDIZE in our design of things to make them fair. But we know that isn’t true — it isn’t fair. We aren’t all playing the game from the same starting point. So, you see, this is how inclusive design both deals with the practical everyday things we do and also the cycles of exclusion and barriers to access that exist. And indeed, it will be the everyday things that we do that fundamentally have a lasting impact on the exclusion and barriers. Waiting for someone else to change it all is ALSO not in our job descriptions.
  4. 4. Here’s what we know… Our world is facing many complex problems. Climate change, failing corporate ethics boards, widening wealth gaps, reparations and reconciliation, fake news impacting critical thinking, and lack of ethics and inclusion training in all disciplines are but a few of those problems. At the intersection of these issues is the diverse human population of the planet. And that diversity is an opportunity and an asset. We know that diverse groups make us smarter, make us work harder, make us more thoughtful and creative. We don’t yet know how to create the culture where diverse groups can work together in equitable contexts. We struggle with understanding how to do the work of inclusion, though we use the word often, and we do not share a clarity on the relationship between diversity and inclusion. I’m asking you to accept two assumptions: o that diversity makes us stronger o that we can make sense of different ideas
  5. 5. Complex problems need better solutions • that have a longer shelf life • that work better for more people • that reach people who are falling through the gaps now I’m going to suggest that with design thinking and inclusive design thinking in particular, we’re going to be better equipped to solve complex problems with better solutions - that have a longer shelf life - that work better for more people - that address the gaps
  6. 6. Reproducible Steps There is a process we have developed for inclusive design, this isn’t voodoo — it’s based on milestones, not a step by step linear process, but iterative — building on small successes. Not linear, not a straight line, but iterative, committed to revisiting and rethinking. So we challenge the notion of completion or knowing what others want. This leaves us in a fundamentally curious space. We remain curious evermore.
  7. 7. Nothing is Neutral In Inclusive Design, nothing you do is neutral Font choice Font colour Word choice Mode It could be paralyzing, but we find that it is the thoughtfulness that has been lacking in a world where everyone is a content creator and therefore a potential influencer…
  8. 8. Perspective Shift And I think this is the unique part of inclusive design — the perspective shift. We get this from an inclusive design approach that challenges us to solve hard problems— And it challenges us to solve them not just for persons with disabilities but for everyone. There are similarities with universal design
  9. 9. • recognize diversity and uniqueness • use an inclusive process and tools • have a broader beneficial impact 3 practices of Inclusive Design 3 tenants of ID 1. recognize diversity and uniqueness — how many of you consider yourselves average? so why do we design for the average? 2. use an inclusive process and tools — get experts to make the best solutions —talk to students; engage with them 3. have a broader beneficial impact — solve for everyone You might say, hey Jess, you still haven’t solved my problem. I have 100 students who all have different needs, I’d make myself crazy trying to solve for all of them differently. THIS DOESN’T SCALE. I’m done with scale — scale is code word for make more $ for doing less. And we need to call it what it is. Yes, thoughtfulness, accommodation, curiosity cost more than just doing w/o considering. And if not the people within a learning environment, who will do this work?
  10. 10. • all learners are visual • all learners use a mouse • all learners require the same content type Know Your Assumptions Start by breaking down your own thinking and doing… everyone is like me, solve for me!
  11. 11. • Pace, Path, Content, Delivery Method • text, visual, sonification, video… • individual, group, didactic, participatory • Motivation – external, internal, positive, negative • Social support – peer, instructor, other • Degree of structure Pace, Path, Content, Delivery Method text, visual, sonification, video… individual, group, didactic, participatory Motivation – external, internal, positive, negative Social support – peer, instructor, other Degree of structure These are just some of the diverse needs or preferences for learning. How do these fit into your rubric? Does your syllabus flex to these? Advantage some? Disadvantage others? Is the preferred mode even available? And if you say, we’ll put a checklist together and ask students… this isn’t fixed. At 3p on a Wednesday when I’m in a library will be different from 9a at home with my dog. Remember: We are all unique — let us be us.
  12. 12. Design for the Edges Who is the Edge?! This is a question we have to keep asking. The edges are different in different contexts.
  13. 13. CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT Solve for mismatch - edge case Beware one-size-fits all
  14. 14. One-size-fits-one • Flexible • Accessible • Meet people where they are (where else could you meet them?) FLEXIBLE (levels of complexity) – ecosystem of tools? One adaptable tool? Give user ability to choose from multiple ways to interact. E.g. keyboard vs mouse interaction, iphone provides multiple ways to take a photo ACCESSIBLE – avoiding assumptions about comfort with tech, ability, environment MEET USERS WHERE THEY ARE ((comfort level, environment, context) CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT Solve for mismatch - edge case Beware one-size-fits all
  15. 15. The magic at the margins • benefits the majority • resilient • supports the spectrum • innovation hangs out here We don’t say look to the edges for charity — we look to it for better solutions… ones that… benefit the majority, are more resilient, support the spectrum, and innovate. instead of 80/20, solve for the hard ones, the 20% and your solution will cover the 80% Change of Outcomes Better solutions Longer shelf life Better usability Innovation
  16. 16. Disability is Mismatch Mismatch is Solvable Design can solve Mismatch All experience Mismatch
  17. 17. In Inclusive Design we aim for the digital curb cut — closed captioning is an example. top 3 uses: 1. in a bar 2. in a gym 3. in bed with a sleeping spouse
  18. 18. Resist the urge to generalize inclusive design There are some key perspective shifts that can help you accomplish this in your own work and pedagogical practice. First, Resist the urge to generalize: We often say This worked for me/x/most/the majority or I knew a guy once who… my neighbours, sisters, kid… Bring experiences into your work, but understand that they don’t represent populations. What person does really? Who here represents a population?
  19. 19. Resist the urge to design for Assumption: We can fix it/him/her—technology can solve it all and we are smart people who know what is best Remember: we’re all designers — let me be me. How can you do that when I’m one of your students? Don’t make me conform, don’t make me adapt —find a channel where we can both participate. Tools and techniques that are inclusive — how can we find those? A good portion of Pinterest is dedicated to the thoughtful design of everyday things in innovative and surprising ways. We learn from how someone else imagined using something and we riff off of it. children’s rain boots nailed to a fence and used as flower pots a basic lamp that someone builds a lego structure around with holes to let the light through and shine colours
  20. 20. Resist the urge to predict + speculate assumptions: the roadmap can be predicted + controlled We can know the 
 problem + create a 
 solution can be solved in a 
 standard, linear manner we can control + 
 predict requirements there is an end point + we know what success is reality: require ongoing transparent communication + recalibration complex projects cannot be predicted emergent, complex systems cannot be *known* — they evolve “Success” continues to evolve and change
  21. 21. Aim for Curiosity: not Solving Ask Why avoid the token solution to the problem… wonder, ask why, ask more, ask questions — how can you get to know me?
  22. 22. Places to Inject Inclusive Thinking in Education • Syllabus • Sharing / Critique / Feedback • Pedagogy • Materials • Assessment NOTHING IS NEUTRAL Why we standardize… People are not standardizable. Recognize human difference and diversity. It is our strength. SAMENESS is not our goal.
  23. 23. https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ultimate-critical-thinking-worksheet.jpg
  24. 24. Are you comfy? So, are you comfy? Then you likely have a helping of privilege — ask Is comfy desirable? Is it diverse? Is it inclusive? If you feel comfy, I argue that it’s time to push and find the discomfort.
  25. 25. Inclusive isn’t easy - often not comfy - uncomfy is avoided Inclusive isn’t easy: often not comfy uncomfy is avoided
  26. 26. • Never complete • Not a task, it’s a value • Not a checklist • Measurable by seeing how inextricable it is in everything you do Inclusive - it isn’t ever complete - it’s like bathing, you gotta keep doing it — derived from Florence Kennedy’s, “Freedom is like taking a bath: You got to keep doing it every day.” - it’s never a checklist - measure it by seeing how inextricable it is in everything you do And I do mean everything: - How your job descriptions are written - Hiring practices - Procurement policies - How you role from ideation to sketching - How you make info architecture decisions - How you write, edit, document, pair, or not on your code - And this is often sniffable — you can tell from looking at website, going into physical buildings, experiencing interactions just how inclusive a space, org, or culture is.
  27. 27. we are all designers we are all part of the revolution 
 …or else the status quo Remember: we are all designers and are either part of the revolution or else the status quo.
  28. 28. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person —James Baldwin “A Talk To Teachers” It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person —James Baldwin “A Talk To Teachers”
  29. 29. Questions?
  30. 30. Activity (do) • REFLECT - on your own experience • TELL - the others at your table • THREAD - together, find the thread • NAME - together, name the group I want to ask you all to take a moment to reflect on a transformative, positive moment in your life — related to education… Each of you do this individually, without talking or discussing. Now, I want you as a table to all tell (quickly) your moment to each other and THEN find a thread or theme that goes through them all — and from that theme, I want you to (AS A TABLE) choose a name for your group.
  31. 31. Activity (why) • REFLECT - 1-2-4-All • TELL - the others at your table • THREAD - together, find the thread • NAME - together, name the group So, why did we just do that? A number of reasons - 1-2-4-all — liberating structures - A moment of reflection — we don’t think often, wonder, remember. You took that moment. Many of you talk about a person who made an impact on you. - Bring the story to the group (said do it quickly) because every group has a HIPPO and a LOUPO. And that gives you all the same, level expectation that these should ALL be quick. Some of you probably didn’t go so quickly—that’s ok! Be aware of yourself and how you impact others. - Share your story — this is a bit of vulnerability for you, the teller of the story. And this is a big moment when the others at the table let you know what kind of listeners they are. - Common thread — thinking in a different direction now — how can you find a pattern, have fun with it - Why is it important to name the table? Naming something brings people together. We create an identity, a brand. You’ve just created a community. Don’t believe me, go sit at another table that has done this — be the new person. There is an us and a them now. Notice how it feels. In less than 5 minutes you created groups/ communities — and they already have a tiny bit of intimacy and a tiny bit of exclusion. So, what do you do with that information? 1. Be aware of it 2. Be aware of how it impacts you and makes you feel/act
  32. 32. Activity (do) • Syllabus (critique) • Sticky Problems (discuss) • Ethics (not black or white) • Allies (notice your comfort levels with being open) How can I support you? Syllabus (critique) • I’ve been teaching ______ for 20 years with the same syllabus. I’m tired of it, the students are tired of it and I feel stuck. Sticky Problems (discuss) • Alternate due dates as an accommodate • Retroactive accommodations Ethics (not black or white) • Why are we doing what we’re doing? What problem are we solving? Allies (notice your comfort levels with being open) • Ask yourself this question…. Sometimes the answer is just to LISTEN Sometimes the answer is to ask a follow-up question — Clarify this for me Have you thought about this?
  33. 33. https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ultimate-critical-thinking-worksheet.jpg
  34. 34. Activity (why) • Syllabus (critique) • Sticky Problems (discuss) • Ethics (not black or white) • Allies (notice your comfort levels with being open) How can I support you? Syllabus (critique) • I’ve been teaching ______ for 20 years with the same syllabus. I’m tired of it, the students are tired of it and I feel stuck. Sticky Problems (discuss) • Alternate due dates as an accommodate • Retroactive accommodations Ethics (not black or white) • Why are we doing what we’re doing? What problem are we solving? Allies (notice your comfort levels with being open) • Ask yourself this question…. Sometimes the answer is just to LISTEN Sometimes the answer is to ask a follow-up question — Clarify this for me Have you thought about this?
  35. 35. Activity (why) • REFLECT - 1-2-4-All • TELL - the others at your table • SHARE - continue the conversations • TOMORROW and everyday THEREAFTER Leave off with some questions – how to build the community of practice
  36. 36. Questions? Comments? Critiques? @jesshmitchell

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