For This Design Pro, Successful Design and Inclusivity Are One and the Same

“As designers, it is crucial to consider the needs of a diverse range of users rather than focusing solely on a specific ‘typical’ user.”

Written by Stephen Ostrowski
Published on Feb. 22, 2023
For This Design Pro, Successful Design and Inclusivity Are One and the Same
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Catering to a wide net of people is inherent to legal technology company New Era ADR, according to Product Design Lead Heidi Fleck.

“Our company vision is to ‘be the standard for accessibility in the legal system and lead by example,’” Fleck said of the company, which offers a digital platform for dispute resolution. 

In line with that vision, accessible and inclusive design is front of mind when Fleck considers the UI/UX practices that currently catch her attention. 

“As designers, it is crucial to consider the needs of a diverse range of users rather than focusing solely on a specific ‘typical’ user,” Fleck said. 

Fleck noted that an embrace of accessibility and inclusivity in design “should not be a trend in the sense of being ‘trendy,’” but rather an imperative for creating products that cater to all users and their specific needs. 

Read on for the best practices the product design professional applies to her work at the Chicago-based company.

 

Heidi Fleck
Product Design Lead • New Era ADR

What’s a UX/UI trend that’s really inspiring or exciting you at the moment, and why?

Accessible and inclusive design continues to be prioritized more, which is both inspiring and exciting, but should not be a trend in the sense of being “trendy.” Instead, we’re seeing more people thinking about it because it’s evolving into a standard. It is increasingly being recognized as a critical aspect of the user experience that should be incorporated into all products. 

 

How do you plan to incorporate this trend in your work in the year ahead? What impact will this have on the user experience?

Our company vision is to “be the standard for accessibility in the legal system and lead by example.” We aim to deliver the most accessible way of resolving disputes that’s easy to use and delivers the best-in-class user experience for all. New Era has a goal to provide access to justice and make the law available to everyone regardless of skill set, background or circumstances via our platform. We want to understand how our users adapt to our technology at any given time, and thus we adapt in return, viewing our product through different lenses.

Our platform facilitates virtual mediation and arbitrations for a variety of users. Our responsibility is to provide these users with skilled and experienced neutrals (third-party professionals) who can handle complex disputes fairly and impartially. We plan to showcase neutrals’ strengths in the selection process using a variety of mediums, including video and audio. These solutions will keep accessibility top of mind so people that are hard of hearing, with vision impairments or have other needs can evaluate our neutrals effectively and choose the right one for their case, ultimately giving them the best chance at a fair outcome.

We use a variety of mediums, including video and audio … so people that are hard of hearing, with vision impairments or other needs can evaluate our neutrals effectively.”

 

How do you see this trend evolving in the future? And how will your work help drive that evolution?

In the future, this will not be a nice to have, won’t be trendy, but rather it will all be table stakes. Products that don’t have inclusive design top of mind will fall behind, with potential legal implications.

 

 

Learn MoreHow Web Accessibility Democratizes the Internet

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via New Era ADR.

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