Annie Jean-Baptiste Building for Everyone: Designing Inclusive Products

Video Transcription

So I'm super excited to introduce to you our next speaker. Her name is Annie Jean Baptiste. She's head of product inclusion at Google.In this talk, we are going to learn how Google builds seamless products that celebrate diversity of the human race and I'd like to to welcome any on this stage. Hi, Annie. Hi.

How are you?

I'm good. Yourself?

I'm good. Thanks.

Awesome. So I'm leaving this stage to you then.

Awesome. Let me pull up my presentation. Thanks so much. Alright. So hi everyone. Hi. As Ann mentioned, I'm Annie Jean Baptiste and I lead product inclusion at Google. I'm super excited to be here today, and I'm really grateful, to be asked to speak a little bit about the work I do and what building for everyone really means. So as soon as this pulls up, we will get started. Awesome. So first welcome. I know that product inclusion can be something that not everyone has heard about before, but it really is something that each and every person can Right? When you think about all of the products and services that you're building or that you use every day, the goal is that everyone feels seen everyone feels validated and uplifted for the diverse dimensions that they bring to the table. And really the output, of bringing diverse perspectives to the table leads to a ben better experience for everyone, right, not just underrepresented groups.

So At Google, we talk a lot about building for everyone, and our team actually says build for everyone with everyone because we believe that you can't create something for people without having them have a seat at the table and really help at key points in the product design process.

And so we think the for everyone is really important. And when you think about all the underrepresented groups, that make up our big, beautiful, diverse world. It's really important that we have, different perspectives at the table. Not only because we wanna be as inclusive as possible, but actually also because research shows that when you have more perspectives at the table, It actually leads to higher levels of innovation and higher, revenue and other better better business metrics. So Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. And so the universal part is really what we're leaning into in Right? And so it says not just for some for everyone. So no matter where you are, who you love, what you look like, how much money you make, where in the world do you live, how old you are.

We wanna make sure that every dimension that encompasses you and how you move through the world is encompassed in a product or a service that you're using. And so I talked a little bit about how product inclusion can be a new kind of perspective or a new framework that you might be using, but It really does build on a lot of work like accessibility work, for example, but it just adds more dimensions to it. So, on the the right side, you can see some of the dimensions that we focus on, right, whether it be race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, education, socioeconomic status, and many more. Other thing that's really important about product inclusion is really thinking about intersectionality. So doctor Kimberly Crenshaw actually coined the term sectionality. And what intersectionality means is that you're looking at the cross section of dimensions of diversity that historically will provide barriers to people who are trying to move through the world. And so we really have to be cognizant of that if we're trying to build equitably. Right? So using myself as an example, I'm a black woman.

I'm also left handed. And it's not like I'm black on Monday. A woman on Tuesday and left handed on Wednesday. All of those things are within me, and they're all affecting how I move through the world, how the world perceives me, and also how I interact with products and services. And so It doesn't work if you kind of try to put dimensions in a silo. You really have to look holistically at all of these dimensions and all of these multiple dimensions that, make someone who they are when you're building a product or service. And so I think it's really important to to understand Of course, there may be one dimension that kind of is more at the forefront when you're building something. Right? So an example I use is, if I'm using scissors, obviously being left candid is going to be something that's really, really important. Right?

But if I'm using another piece of technology being black and a woman and those that intersection, is likely going to be something that needs to be thought of so that I can be included in the output and the outcome. I always like, to come with receipts, because I think a lot of times there's a misconception that if a group is underrepresented, they don't have power. And so I think that's something that we all need to shift, right, to understand that that's actually not true. So what you're seeing here are a bunch of different stats across multiple dimensions of diversity, that show you that there's a lot of power, whether it's purchasing power, whether it's people coming online, whether it's, making household decisions when there's, mobile usage.

Right? It's showing trillions with a t in some cases. Right? And so as the world becomes more globalized, as you're trying to get more people to love and use your products, you really need to bring these these groups into the fold. Right? There are 1,000,000,000 people in the world with a disability. That's that's a huge number. You know, you're seeing $1,700,000,000,000 of spending power in the Latinx community in the US 1,400,000,000,000 in the, black community in spending power in the US alone. Right? And so we really, again, need to move from this, belief that underrepresented groups because they might be smaller don't have that power and don't have shouldn't have a seat at the table. Right?

I also think it's it's worth mentioning women are 50% of the population that's actually not represented, but what we're talking about here is being kind of historically underrepresented in certain sectors. And so that leads to, not having a voice, at the critical points in the product design process. And so I wanted to just really quickly give you a look into what product inclusion means for us. So, product inclusion is not just one point in the process, right? It's looking end to end at what we call inflection points. So Each of these, steps is an inflection point for us where product inclusion can be brought into the process, right? And it's really important to note that the earlier you bring product inclusion in, the easier and more successful you'll be, right?

Of course, you can bring other, pieces later on, but it's really important to understand team composition, user design, marketing, PR, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I'm really excited to share with y'all, something that we're we're going to launch this summer. So over the past year, we've been doing some research on the business case for inclusion. Again, a lot of times when we hear about diversity equity inclusion, it's about it being the right thing to do, which it is, but it's also so much more than that. Right? Product inclusion and diversity is critical to business. And so a few key nuggets, again, this will be launching later this summer. Is that there are 4 key points in the product design process where it's really important to think about product inclusion.

Those four points are the ideation, UX, user testing and marketing phases. That's not to say that you shouldn't think about it in other phases. Right? You just saw kind of, you know, multiple points where you could bring it in. But during our research, what we found was that teams were coming back to these four points, and so it's really important to kind of think through these points and how you're concretely bringing an inclusive lens because it will disproportionately affect your product's outcome for the better if you do.

The second piece, which I think is really exciting, is that the 100% of the teams that we we looked at and we, you know, did surveys and and a bunch of other research the shadowing and things like that is that a 100% of the teams that built products that had inclusion in mind did so at multiple points in the process.

Right? So, again, it's not about just doing one piece, maybe, you know, research or just marketing. For example, it's really looking holistically at your end to end process. And a 100% of those teams did that. Another few points on the research, both underrepresented majority groups prefer inclusive marketing and product designs. So I think this is really important. Again, there's this misconception that underrepresented groups may not have power and also that when you're building with inclusion in mind, whether it's for people with disabilities, people of color, women, older users, etcetera, that it's only benefiting those users, but that's actually not true.

And and I think that's been proven with the curbed cut effect, right, when you look at the curb and the sidewalk that was originally created for, people who use wheelchairs, but when you think about who uses them now, right, we all do when whether we have a stroller, a suitcase, a bike, a scooter, right, shopping cart.

There's so many use cases for that, but that started with an underrepresented group. And so in our research, we also found that it's not just underrepresented groups, but also the majority. They want to see diversity. They want to see the world that they live in reflected in marketing and product design. The second piece is that teams that proactively focus on product inclusion are more able to create inclusive products regardless of team makeup. Right? So I think a lot of times people say, well, we're not at the representation we want in our company, how can we how can we push this forward? So it's really about being intentional. It's really about thinking through what those critical points in your process are.

It's really about always asking who else, right, who else do we need to bring in? What voices are missing? How do we take what research and feedback we have and build that into how we change the trajectory of how we build. Right? So it's not something where you need to have the full representation, right, of course, you should be pushing for that and pushing for, a very equitable, inclusive representative team, but you can start doing this work if you are intentional regardless of what your team makeup is, which I find super exciting.

So I'm gonna try to quickly show a video. This video is, from our cameras team. So we had a team that focused on camera sensors. This was actually our first product inclusion, work that we did about 3 years ago. And it really, I think, crystallizes how, building with an inclusive lens, asking who else, and really, like Brian Stevenson says, get proximate to underrepresented users can can lead to a great come. So we'll see if this works.

Pictures tell stories. It doesn't really matter if it's a selfie, or if it's a portrait that somebody is taking of another person, you are sharing in that human moment.

Let's take a picture of you 2.

1, 2, 3,

Oh, he's too dark. So this is where the discussion started. Yeah. Just use my phone. It's got a better sensor. Better sensor? What does that even mean? Color tuning is an extremely complicated process. When we look at images, what we try to do is figure out how much of a difference there is between, let's say, a reference image and the image that we actually are trying to quantify. We were running some tests on a product, and it was the proximity sensor we were testing. And we said, Oh, it looks like it does 60 centimeters. And we looked at each other and go, we're both white. The technology itself, as many people will say, he is not racist. It's just that it wasn't tested properly to make sure that the designers weren't unconsciously biased.

Hey, there's an entire world out there, and we wanna make sure this works for everybody. I love the fact that we get to influence cameras, and we get to share those experiences of life and emotions. To me, that is what imaging is about. It is a vehicle

to express Humana. Take a picture of you too. 1, 2, 3,

Awesome. So I I really love that video again because It brings multiple people from multiple perspectives to the table. It's really honest about what questions we need to answer and how we build more inclusively and equitably. And it really helps people feel seen. Right? At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel seen, feel validated. It's a core human need and desire. And so I really think that that's important for us to think through when we're building products and services. I also wanted to show, this this is our duo. So duo is the calling, and video feature on on Google devices and it's really cool that the duo team thought about how to bring that inclusive lens to their product. So they wanted to make sure that any user that use this, no matter, the lighting, no matter the skin tone, etcetera, that everyone would show up.

So it was really important to show how many skin tones needed to be kind of in the process, to make that happen. Right? So the the duo team was really, really intentional about partnering, on product inclusion to say, we need, what we call inclusion champions who are Googlers who have opted in, to helping teams test across multiple dimensions of diversity. How do we do this in a thoughtful, inclusive way so that when our users all over the world who have different lighting, setups, they are accurately and beautifully presented. And so I think that this is just a really cool example of another team, that really thought about inclusion from the forefront. So I'm gonna just go through 3 principles that I think are really important when you're thinking about building for everyone and with everyone. The first one is to address the user. So I I went over some of the dimensions that, we focus on.

We actually focus on 12 dimensions of diversity, again, in the intersections of those dimensions. So really thinking about, again, holistically what makes up these users and how they interact with your products and services. It's something that is really about user first user centric design. And it's really about, again, asking who else, bringing more people into the fold making sure that the the right voices have a stake in the process at those kind of critical points. And then making sure that you're taking that feedback and actually changing, right, to build a more inclusive and equitable process. The second one is to start with equity. Right? So, again, you're trying to look as early as possible in the process.

Thinking about it after something is launched or only in marketing doesn't make sense and and consumers can see that. Right? They can see that mismatch. And so it really has to be something that's heard throughout the product development process, and it's really about starting with equity, right, we wanna build things that work for everyone. And so really thinking about it and really being intentional, right, writing things down, having accountability frameworks, bringing the right people to the table is really important. And and yes, it takes work, but everything in product design takes work. Right? So, it's really important to not see this as as something that's different or can be brought in all the way at the end. The last one is to continually test. Right? This is not a a checklist or a checkbox. You really have to make sure that you're always constantly testing. Right?

You know, we have examples like the Google Assistant, for example, that, we've we've really worked hard to ensure, is is inclusive and can answer questions, and really be kind of a a great partner in life, right? And that is something that's ongoing. It's been ongoing for 2 plus years. And so I think it's really important to understand that this isn't a 1 and done type of thing, just like anything else in the product design process, right, It's iterative. You're always learning. You're always changing, and and product inclusion should also be that as well. The last thing I'll say is that I think commitment to product inclusion doesn't live within one team. It has to be across the entire company. Right? I think it's important, that Google and other, companies start to have a core product inclusion team, right, but it's really, the Googlers across the company that are powering this work.

It's leaders who are holding their teams accountable who are speaking to how this is important. Right? And so if it lives within one team, it's not going to be successful. It really has to be PM, UX, marketing, and support, etcetera, and leadership to really make sure that, there's a commitment to doing this for the long haul. I'm just really grateful and so always wanna give a shout out to the Googlers across the company who drive this work, right? So We have trained 12,000, technical Googlers, in 2019 across product inclusion and how to bring that inclusive lens And we also have, 2000 plus Googlers who we call our inclusion champions who are constantly testing, doing adversarial testing focus groups, etcetera, to make sure that we're really building for everyone and with everyone.

And so I think again, it's really kind of a community collaborative effort to power this work, to make sure that everyone feels seen of her validated and uplifted. And with that, I will stop sharing my screen.

Thanks, Annie. That was great. Love the special is that you Any? Okay. You're back. Love that you showed also people and, you know, and gave them a shout out and it's super impressive what you're doing to build a more inclusive world truly. Please, everyone, use our channels for any questions. Love in your presentation, any great presentation, any people are saying awesome. Okay. Thank you, Amy. What is the importance of marketing in the area? What's the role?

Yeah. I think that that's a great great question. So I think, you know, as as you saw in the slides, there there are four main pieces. Marketing is the 4th so it's 20, you know, 25% of like the core pieces of it. I think what's important about marketing is that you're telling a story, right, and you're telling a story to help resonate with with your potential, customers and consumers. And so when you're telling a story, right, you wanna tell it with real people in real voices that's that is authentic and resonates with people. Right? And if you you go to, you know, company or look at a brand and you don't see yourself reflected, you know, that that's sending a signal, right, that that maybe you don't feel that it was made for your built with you in mind. Right? And so I think when companies can really, think through how they bring a diversity of perspectives in their storytelling, right? And that means a lot of things.

It's not just who is in, an ad, right? Like what pictures are in an ad? Who is the voice over in commercials? Who are you choosing, to film your commercials or spots or who are the photographers? Right? Again, it's end to end. You can kind of do product inclusion inside each of those four points, but it's really about saying how do we make sure that the tone, the voice, the the message that we're sending is inclusive of as many people as possible. So they feel that they're validated and seen in it and then that backs up all of the work that you've done beforehand, right, in the product design process.

Alright. Thank you. The question Sean from Hold on. Just a second. How can someone in a low level position try create an environment of in a company technology or testing startup problem?

Yeah. Great question. So I'll say, this work started as a 20% project for me. So at Google, you can spend 20% of your time doing something that's not your core role. And I, you know, I'm not a marketer. I'm not, a product manager. Right? I'm not an engineer. I just took a UX bootcamp I'm by no means a user researcher. Right? But it was something that I could tell was core to kind of building for all users and also a a business case. Right? And I think that when you can balance the business and the human case, I think it's very compelling. Right? So to say you know, I'm really passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I think it's the right thing to do. I think we all at this company believe that.

And did you know that you know, black and Latinx users over index on mobile. Right? By x percent. Those are two things. Right? It's kind of, you know, the data doesn't lie really. Right? So I think it's really about figuring out what is core to your your company's business and how does bringing inclusive lens kind of amplify that, right? I think that balancing both of those things is really important and I would say pick one thing. Right? Like, it's sometimes it can feel overwhelming if if you're not at a high level, right, like, again, 3 years ago. So I think, if it's if if it's making sure that you know, your company does a lot of user research.

Maybe it's about talking with your user researchers and saying, hey, have we thought about doing some research internationally, or we do a lot of research in urban areas. Why aren't we going to rural areas? Right? So it's about kind of asking a few questions. And then also just finding that core kind of tie into the business so you can balance that business in human case.

How do you measure impact once created in a way, like, inclusive product or the way you think it's inclusive? How do you measure the

Yeah. How much time do you have? No. I'll I'll keep it to them.

There are

a lot of ways. Right? I think the first thing is going back to the users. Right? You're building for everyone with everyone, so you need to be getting that feedback and that's why it's iterative. Right? So when you're bringing them into research, when you bring them into testing, something launches, you need to come back and circle back to figure out what user sentiment looks like. Right? Is it is it better? If you're used doing accessibility, for example, is is it passed just usability and functionality. Right? Are you delighting the user? Are you delighting your customer? Right? So again, it's about having and making sure those voices are at the table. And and looking at the data, right? Like you also need to be intentional about thinking through what kind of data you're collecting, right, from whom and who is collecting it? Right?

So kind of key questions I would start to ask to start to think through. And then you kind of come up with 4 or 5 metrics that matter, right, and then you you hold yourself accountable. However, your your company does that, whether it's, OKRs or, goals, and you you start to measure just like anything else in your company.

I love your point that it's important who creates this data, right, because it can be always biased. Right? So you need to make sure that people who represent diverse groups are creating the data because they can see more than people who, let's say, don't considers themselves to be a representative of diverse group. Thanks a lot, Annie. Really love your insight. People had so many questions, how they can get in touch with you.

Yes. So you can find me, on social media at it's underscore me underscore a j b, or you can go to Annie's number t dotcom, and I look forward to connecting with y'all and hearing all of your questions.

So thank you. Thanks, Jenny. Have a great day. Bye bye. Twitter. That was great.