Understanding why it's critical to design products and services with intersectionality in mind

By Lee Dale

Why designing with intersectionality in mind is critical

One of the most common ways to approach product and service objectives is to create personas and conduct research based on 'average' target users. But this approach falls apart when you consider that every person has a variety of shifting needs, identities, and contexts of use.

In my talk, "There is no average person. Why it's critical to design with intersectionality in mind", I highlight the research behind prioritizing individuals over averages and how inclusive research practices can grow the impact of your work.

You'll leave the talk with an improved understanding of markets, new approaches to opening up market access, insights on how to deliver products and services that better serve increasingly diverse markets, and an understanding of the ROI of inclusive design practices.

Interested in bringing this talk to your organization?

Video transcript

Hi, I’m Lee. And I’d like to tell you about my talk, “There is no average person. Why it’s critical to design with intersectionality in mind.”

My motivation behind the talk stems from a sweeping, industry-wide problem we need to address.

Looking at websites alone as a lens, we can see that well over 90% of websites do not meet basic accessibility objectives. And accessibility is only part of the story.

The result of our industry’s collective inability to deliver products and services for all means that 90% of websites actively limit access, usability, and content engagement.

This industry-wide problem doesn’t begin and end with websites. It’s a part of how we work in developing any products or services.

We design for the average and avoid the edge cases.

My talk highlights the flawed methodologies and the real data that shows there is no average to target or edge case customer to avoid.

Your main takeaways:

You’ll have the evidence you need to bring this discussion back to your team members.

To sell them on more inclusive practices

With practical considerations around customer markets and segmentation, product and service planning, and the ROI of inclusive design.

That way, you’ll be able to turn discussions from “why would we invest in serving edge cases” to “why aren’t we serving our whole market.”