Diverse by design
Co-creation means deliberately involving a diverse range of potential users throughout the design process. Tapping the perspectives of people from different backgrounds, cultures, ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations and abilities helps creators develop products and services that feel authentic and meaningful to their audience. It’s especially important that people from historically underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, are brought into every stage of development from ideation to marketing.
Research shows that collaboration among a variety of people who have different ways of thinking and experiencing the world can spur breakthrough innovation. Products, services and experiences resonate better with a broader audience. When diverse perspectives are leveraged at the start, it can eliminate the need for costly rework that might otherwise not be uncovered until later in the process.
The best way to involve a diverse group of people is to include members of your own already-diverse workforce. If that’s not feasible, research companies can help access diverse consumers, or you can work with non-profits, advocacy groups, or membership organizations to recruit them.
While focus groups and interviews are helpful, they typically happen at a point in time, so may not capture shifting perspectives or responses to newer iterations of the product or service. It’s more direct, and can be more effective, to collaborate with diverse groups of users throughout the development cycle. User research and testing are necessary but not sufficient, because they occur too late in the process to spark breakthrough innovation or avoid rework.
Bringing it all together
Products need to be accessible to their entire target audience, including the more than one in five people globally who have disabilities. The most successful products or services are easy for everyone to use and co-created by a diverse group of potential users so, they authentically reflect the needs and values of a broad range of people. To drive the kind of innovation, process efficiency, productivity, positive employee and customer experiences and growth that can transform your business, all three elements – accessibility, usability, and co-creation – must be embedded at every stage of development from concept creation to release.