The sentiment taps into Adobe’s own diversity and inclusion strategies. Creating products and services, built from the ground up with diverse groups of users in mind, is both good for business and a moral responsibility. Just as non-accessible environments (like stairways and bathrooms) have the ability to disable a person, so do our own products.
“If Adobe is creating products that are central to people doing their job, and those products are not accessible, it means that an employer cannot hire an employee because the software doesn’t work for them. That’s where the tragedy is,” said Anthony. Matt May made it clear that Adobe is listening, and making conscious decisions to better design for people with disabilities with its current and upcoming products.
“If you’re under the impression that diversity is just about shades of brown, you’re not paying attention.”
While it’s important to incorporate people with diverse backgrounds of all kinds in product teams, it’s simply not enough to hire for their perspective without acknowledging their greater culture and experiences. Farai Madzima is the UX lead at Shopify, and he said companies that design products could be doing a much better job at helping their “diverse hires” integrate with teams and unleash their true creative potential.
“If you’re under the impression that diversity is just about shades of brown, you’re not paying attention. If you think diversity is just about gender or ability, then you’re not paying attention. You need to work with people who don’t walk, think, and talk like you. You need to have those people be a part of how you’re working,” said Farai.
From speaking up in meetings, to attending work events, to making decisions, and giving feedback, it’s not enough to just assume all people will work in the exact same ways in harmony. Culture and background need to be considered at all times, and while that may sound like more work, it comes with a potential payoff.