Microsoft has adopted a unified strategy for design that involves learning from the innovations and responding to the needs of everyone. Cliff Kuang, editor of Co.Design, has written a thoughtful article on Microsoft’s design approach and key players in its creation. When the diverse needs of a person are viewed as a design problem rather than a personal limitation, the possibilities for solving problems and making technology more usable become more apparent.
The discipline of design has historically focused on the “average” consumer, though no such person exists. Everyone’s capabilities change over time. Microsoft aims to create the digital world’s “equivalent of the curb cut, something elegant that let[s] everyone live a little easier.” Not only does necessity breed invention, but empathy breeds innovation.
To create technology that adapts to humans, it is important to study how humans adapt. Understanding why a gamer who is deaf picks one platform over another when playing multiplayer games (preferring the one with a keyboard) can help designers figure out how to improve in-game communication options. A new text wrapping system has the potential to make reading easier for people with dyslexia and faster for everyone. In adopting an approach to design that is not just universal, but inclusive, Microsoft improves user experiences for everyone who interacts with its technologies.
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