As a designer with a disability, I am being excluded from design because I think differently. I have struggled to write a portfolio and no one will look at designs without one. You would think that companies would at least be willing to talk to a designer that has unique strengths and perspectives when they request accommodations.
Companies are finally starting to address accessibility in design but they are so focused on showing they care through buzzwords like, “Inclusive! Diverse! Accessible! Empathy!” any chance they can for marketing. While they are blowing past the fundamentals of ACTUALLY listening and trying to accommodate different experiences, needs, and realities of team members, customers and users alike.
People with disabilities deserve to be involved with shaping the world we live in and choose how; whether it’s on the team as paid consultants or in some other capacity.
If you haven’t thought about how accessible your recruitment and hiring process is, then it’s not accessible! You are excluding valuable candidates that could round out your perspectives and make your company better. Adding a boilerplate paragraph starting with “_____ is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion.” doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have any concrete systems and data to support it.
If you have a disability, it’s never clear when or even if you should disclose it. Do you disclose in order to request accommodations and risk being rejected because of bias or try to make do without and fail to demonstrate your true value?
What are the skills that are required to get a job and what are the skills needed to do the work?
Does your process inadvertently prioritize the wrong skills when evaluating a candidate?
Are you hiring the person that has the flashiest website to do user research?
Are you hiring a smooth talker to coordinate people?
Are you hiring a person that has never been excluded to improve inclusion?
Why can’t an industry that is based on innovation move past archaic systems?
Be diverse, equitable, and inclusive from the inside out.
Feel free to contact me if you have a design role or want help with making your recruitment and hiring process accessible.