Why we are talking about cognitive bias and inclusive design

man and woman having a meeting in the office

Written by Sarah Richards, Founder at Content Design London

At Content Design London, we are passionate about making products and services inclusive. 

As a consultancy, we work with large and small organisations across the private and public sectors to change the way they think about content. Our purpose is to transform how products and services are understood by users, by automation, and by the world.To create truly user-first services, we must understand how our biases work, and ways we can be more inclusive in our design approach.

During a recent podcast with David Dylan Thomas (an expert on cognitive bias), I asked him why companies should care about this subject? David shared, “We are living in an age where people are paying attention to companies’ position on inclusive design. That is a conversation that is happening now.”

“Inclusive design is going to follow the path of accessibility. We’re not there yet, but I see a day coming where there are actually laws on the books around inclusive design.”

Inclusive design is not restricted to platforms, systems, or technologies but is a process of understanding specific user needs, and ensuring the product or service is designed to be inclusive of those needs. The point at which these user needs meet bias is an interesting concept, and one worth exploring further. Every day, in every situation we put ourselves in at work and at home, involves some level of bias. In a work context, we not only have our own biases contributing to a product or service, but our users, stakeholders, and leaders all have biases. 

Anyone whose job involves making decisions benefits from understanding biases and how these impact our decisions. From a content perspective, it is important to understand how to recognise bias to make our content design more inclusive. In the podcast, David talks about user bias with content. If a person finds content easy to read, the subject of the content is perceived as a simple concept because the user has found it much easier to understand. If the content is easier to understand, it will be more believable and people are more likely to perceive it as truth. 

It is important to understand that understanding bias, and learning about ways to be more inclusive is not just for content practitioners, UX folk, or digital practitioners, it is for everyone, especially anyone who is in a job that involves making decisions. Content Design London is passionate about providing high-quality training opportunities for digital practitioners and leaders. 

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