Airbnb Developed A Toolkit For Inclusive Design

Airbnb Developed A Toolkit For Inclusive Design
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Another Lens poses a set of questions to help balance your bias

Matt Vitone
  • 4 august 2017

How can you design for everyone without understanding the full picture? That’s the question designers at Samara, Airbnb’s design studio, have been asking themselves to help better develop more inclusive products.


Airbnb has been working with journalism startup News Deeply on a project called Shadow to Light for San Francisco Design Week. Taking the festival’s theme of “Question Everything” as a start point, the two companies wanted to challenge designers to recognize their biases. The resulting project told the stories of refugees through the possessions in their bags.

After the conclusion of that project, the two companies wanted to continue to examine design from a journalistic perspective, which eventually led to the creation of Another Lens, a toolkit made to help designers think about issues related to bias and meaningful inclusion in their work.

“We believe that both designers and journalists have the responsibility to shine a light on their bias by asking the right questions, seeking conflicting viewpoints, and expanding their lens to build inclusive, global solutions,” wrote the company in a blog post.

Another Lens is based around three central themes: “Balance Your Bias,” “Consider The Opposite,” and “Embrace A Growth Mindset.” The toolkit guides each user through a set of questions meant to “shake up” the way they think about design. Questions include: “Am I just confirming my assumptions, or am I challenging them?”, “What’s here that I designed for me? What’s here that I designed for other people?”, and “Who might disagree with what I’m designing?”

While the toolkit is intended for designers, the company says the questions are a good jumping off point for any number of creative projects. Airbnb says designers at its company are already using the toolkit internally while working on projects, and has plans to turn the questions into a design curriculum that can be taught in high schools.

The desire to confront bias and see things from different perspectives is especially important for Airbnb’s business, which now counts over 3 million room listings in 191 countries. The company has taken the idea even further by implementing an international panel of Airbnb hosts to give feedback on the company’s services. The program is currently piloting in Sydney but 12 more panels are expected to roll out around the world by early 2018.

Airbnb | News Deeply

How can you design for everyone without understanding the full picture? That’s the question designers at Samara, Airbnb’s design studio, have been asking themselves to help better develop more inclusive products.

+advertising
+Airbnb
+Design
+Europe
+fitness / sport
+hospitality
+inclusive design
+journalism
+sport & fitness
+travel
+USA
+work

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