The Inclusive Design reading and resource list

February 15, 2022
My selection of top books, articles and videos that will get you started on your inclusive design journey.

Hello, Learner!

Looking to learn the ropes of inclusive design?

I’ve compiled my favorite books, articles, podcasts and videos from practitioners, thought leaders and communities around the world into two focus areas:

Product Inclusion: Approaches carried forward by big Tech players such as Microsoft, Google, Adobe, AirBnb, Uber, and Salesforce, with a focus on digital products, services and experiences.

Community-Centered Design: Approaches stemming from the public, non-profit and academic sectors, with a focus on uplifting marginalized communities and centering them in the design process in the pursuit of equity, ethics and social justice.

Product Inclusion Resources

1. Microsoft Design's Inclusive Design Hub

A fantastic primer into inclusive design is Microsoft Design's Inclusive Design Hub, which is filled with toolkits, booklets and videos with Microsoft's practical tips to approach inclusive design.

For the past decade, Microsoft has led the industry by pivoting its culture and approaches toward designing for diversity and accessibility.

Microsoft Design Inclusive Design Hub

2. Kat Holmes's Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design

The former Principal Design director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft and currently SVP of Product Design and UX at SalesForce (with a stint at Google in between) unpacks exclusion, disability and the essentials of inclusive design in her book Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design through both theory and concrete examples.

Copyright: Kat Holmes

If you prefer a video teaser (or have limited time), watch Kat Holmes’s talk on “How Inclusion Shapes Design”:

3. Benjamin Evans on the Power of Inclusive Design

Benjamin Evans initiated Airbnb’s work on inclusive design as its Inclusive Design Lead for 4 years and is now leading Product Inclusion efforts as a Director at Paypal. I’d recommend his interview — “Airbnb’s Benjamin Evans on the power of inclusive design” — on the Design Better podcast where he talks through how to start experimenting with inclusive design (even with limited resources and no set strategy) by drawing on his experiences at Airbnb.

4. Annie Jean-Baptiste's Building for Everyone

Annie Jean-Baptiste, the head of Product Inclusion at Google, released her book Building for Everyone: Expand your Market with Practices from Google’s Product Inclusion Team in 2020, which provides a solid foundation on how to build a product inclusion strategy.

Check this out if you’re curious about assessing organizational readiness, getting buy-in, defining KPIs and concrete first steps to take across the product development cycle.

Copyright: Google

5. A Practical Guide to Inclusive Research

A cross-functional group of researchers across Adobe, Salesforce, Airbnb and other organizations have put together A Practical Guide to Inclusive Research.

Through a series of detailed articles with practical tips and examples, the group outlines how to approach the full research process with an inclusive lens. A must read!

6. Shalini Kantayya's Coded Bias

Shalini Kantayya's thought-provoking documentary Coded Bias follows MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini in her exploration of bias in facial recognition technologies.

You'll walk away with a clearer understanding of the disproportionate effects this has on women (especially women of color) and working communities and the rising need for safeguards and regulation against intrusive surveillance technology.

Community-Centered Design Resources

7. Creative Reaction Lab Webinar Series & Field Guide

The Creative Reactive Lab is building a youth-led, community-centered movement to train Black and LatinX youth to design healthy and racially equitable communities.

Check out the Introduction to Equity-Centered Community Design and How Design Thinking Protects White Supremacy webinars, which are part of the Redesigners In Action Webinar Series, to draw inspiration from their community design approaches.

Copyright: Creative Reaction Lab

I’d also recommend reviewing the Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide on how to engage community members as co-designers using equitable design methods, especially for social and civic design projects.

Copyright: Creative Reaction Lab

8. Sasha Constanza-Chock's Design Justice

The Design Justice Network is actively working to reimagine the future of design with approaches anchored in social justice, equity, liberation, community and accountability. I couldn’t recommend more the Design Justice book by Sasha Constanza-Chock, which explores the relationship between design, power and social justice.

Bonus Resource!

9. Michelle MiJung Kim's The Wake Up

You can’t design inclusively without mastering the foundational principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. So I’m leaving you with one final resource — a practical, no-bullshit guide on how to approach diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace: Michelle MiJung Kim’s The Wake Up: Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change.

Want to dive deeper?

I’ll be soon launching a YouTube channel to dive deeper into inclusive design under a variety of angles with the help of special guests. Make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter to be informed of the launch in Spring 2022!

If you're a team looking to upskill on inclusive design in a practical and hands-on way, get in touch to chat about training opportunities.

And if you're a young designer early in your career, feel free to connect with me for a mentorship session via ADPList.

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I help teams align their business practices with their values by harnessing the power of inclusive design. All it takes is a willingness to challenge your assumptions and evolve how you design.
"I strongly recommend Sandra for any job that requires strong analytical skills, an innovative mindset and leadership."
Muy Cheng Peich, Libraries without Borders