As we start to develop our design and content practices, learning from the industry has helped us incorporate new trends, technology, and learnings into the way we work and how we design our systems for millions of TELUS customers. We’re thankful to be invited by Republic of Quality to support the Design and Content Conference this year. This three-day conference consisted of a panel discussion, workshops, and speakers by a variety of industry experts.
Here are 7 lessons our team took away:
1. Diverse perspectives helps us grow
Diversity isn’t necessarily about gender or race, but about different perspectives and ways of thinking. Be open and receptive to ideas from different sources. Combine them with what you know and build something beautiful. - Neal McGann
2. Accessibility is more than a requirement, it's a lifestyle
Kat Holmes shared insight into the power that designers and content strategists have in their ability to create environments or situations that could dictate who was included and who was excluded from them. For example, the ban of plastic straws in Canada. Plastic straws are not great for the environment, but the reason why the bendy straw was originally invented was meant to provide those who couldn't hold a cup an equal opportunity to be able to drink a beverage at a restaurant. When Canada chose to ban plastic straws, did it consider who they excluded from that decision? It was a good way of humanizing the concept of accessibility and how accessible by design is beneficial for everyone. - Vanessa Morrison, Strategy Manager, Digital Review Board
3. Inclusion shapes design, technology, and society
Inclusive design should be top-of-mind when we are designing products and services for our users. It is more than designing for accessibility. It’s about considering that the user may not be in the most optimal environment when using our products and services, such as when a user is in a noisy environment. - Seiya Zhu, Interaction Designer, Home Solutions
4. Guiding principles help create design systems for building and designing complex software.
Good design systems are built on principle. Some examples of principles could be: Authentic & Genuine, Practical & Actionable or Friendly & Accessible. Principles help drive decision-making in what we incorporate into our design system. The elements in our system should then become cohesive and interconnected, solve specific problems, and drive purpose for our product and our users. - Anita Phanthikane, Visual Designer, Home Solutions
5. Your background can be quiet but highly influential
Farai Madzima talked about how culture influences people without them being self-aware, from the way they speak to people, to how they give and receive feedback. In Western culture it may be the norm to interrupt someone while they’re talking to let them know that you are engaged in the conversation, whereas this may be less desirable in Eastern cultures. - Francisco Peña, Visual Designer, Home Solutions
6. Universal access is a right, not a privilege
Designers have the ultimate power to detox the digital world by responding to the needs of all users. The web is full of systems explicitly prioritizing products and features for an average user. It is a designer’s responsibility to design inclusively and transform those systems to make it accessible for everyone. - Berceste Kozanoglu, Design Lead, My TELUS
7. Customers don't always interact with your brand on their best day ever
When Sara Getz talked about Facebook designing applications to help adoption by women in India, it was so comparable to how we make assumptions about TELUS customers. The Facebook team had made the assumption that everyone loved them and understood the value of Facebook but that was found to be false. We may have the best intention to create an amazing customer experience, but making assumptions that customers interact with our brand on their best day ever is a flaw. We should be thinking of use cases such as people arrive on our website searching for support on a service or wanting to clarify what the best offer is. - Vanessa Morrison, Strategy Manager, Digital Review Board
If we all took some time to think about creating products for more than just the average customer, our world would be just a bit more inclusive and accessible.
Learn more about the TELUS Design System (TDS), a unified system to help teams build faster and eliminate duplicate effort, on our new homepage.
Colin Li is a Community Lead and Content Marketer of TELUS Digital. He is passionate about creating a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible workplace for all.