Maybe you’re already enjoying a culture of belonging or hoping to start a trend of good feeling in your organization. Either way, consistently reinforcing the importance of diversity is critical to the health of any team.
I’m a Cuban-American UX writer, and a year ago I joined a Chicana design researcher and a Black & Pacific Islander product designer to form 3D—Diverse Dropbox Design, a working group dedicated to the planning, execution, and enrichment of DEI initiatives within our design team. But we didn’t start off with that directive. Like most grassroots initiatives, 3D was something we each felt personally invested in.
Dropbox Design had already made huge strides in gender balance. In the course of three years the Design team grew to more than 50% women on the team. But like many tech companies, Dropbox still had room to grow when it came to underrepresented minorities. With the encouragement of leadership, we started developing ideas about how we wanted 3D to show up, starting with a presentation at the January 2019 Design All Hands, the first time we shared a tip of the month.
The intention of the tips was to keep them as lightweight as possible to encourage adoption. They were things we could each do with a light touch that cumulatively might help foster a more inclusive culture on our design team, and ultimately help diversify the world of design over time. The tips organically fell into a few themes:
- Promoting a culture of diversity
- Sharing your spotlight
- Encouraging others
Consider picking a couple of tips to test out for yourself or galvanize your team to follow suit. Either way you’re making a difference—change can begin with just one.
Inclusion starts with awareness. Broadcasting, in seemingly minor ways, that diversity matters to you can have a domino effect.
Tip: Add an email signature
Showcase an unsung influential artist, writer, or other designer of color by adding a quote to the footer of your emails. Even better, link to a page with more info about them. Here are a few good ones:
“You need to keep evolving your depth of intellect to be able to see design from another side.” –Michele Y. Washington, African American design critic, writer, design educator
“Creation is everything you do. Make something.” –Ntozake Shange, poet, playwright, Black feminist
“Speak and act your truths to each other and give space to change minds!” –Karyn Campbell, writer, designer, Latinx feminist
"Let's bare our arms and plunge them deep through laughter, through pain, through sorrow, through hope, through disappointment, into the very depths of the souls of our people and drag forth material crude, rough, neglected. Then let's sing it, dance it, write it, paint it." –Aaron Douglas, African American painter, graphic artist
Tip: Use a multi-tone emoji
Default to a multi-tone emoji whenever you’re adding a thumbs-up reaction. In Slack, type :thumbsup_all: to insert an animated emoji that cycles through skin tones.