Inclusive Design: What, Why and How? with Rubina Halwani

In this episode, Rubina Halwani joined us to talk about the What, Why, and How of Inclusive Design.

It's great to see L&D Professionals putting more and more of an emphasis on inclusive design, and Rubina offers an impressive presentation that will help energize you to do the same.

Give this episode a try, it's not long but it's a good one to help you on your way to build more equitable learning experiences.


Luis Malbas  
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the training learning and development community. Thanks for joining us. Happy Monday to you all. It's nice to have so many people in a Monday broadcast haven't done a Monday broadcasts in a while. It's great to see everybody logging in. Let's see. I am seeing Joe Joe is here, Jeanette, Susan Linnea. Let's see Adrian roll. Bobby. Jessica, Brian, Lucy Batiste, Risa, Heather Schneider. I'm sure there's more. There's a lot of people in there. So then he had posted from the Philippines in the chat. Thanks for joining. This is an important topic, inclusive design. And I'm glad to see that Rubina is really kind of taking this on. I was just talking to her in the greenroom about whether or not she's shifting a little bit to do this. And, and yeah, so Rubina is wanting to prioritize inclusive design more in her instructional design work. And I think it's actually something that I'm hoping everyone in the audience is going to do is going to start looking at that. I know that, I mean, it's taken me over a year to really start prioritizing it myself. But as long as we keep on doing events like the accessible and inclusive design conference, which is coming up in June and other events like that inclusive design, it needs to be something that we all think about on a regular basis. And so, this is great, Rubina that you're jumping in and doing this one for us. What can I say about Rubino Rubina has done multiple broadcasts and TL DC. I have playlists available on the TLC website of Rubina talking about or sharing her instructional design knowledge. She's somebody that is pretty prolific on social media. And I'm so glad that you are going to be doing this broadcast with us. Um, you've got a slide deck that you're going to share with us, what I'll do is I'll just minimize my, my camera, and I'll just let you take over everyone. If you have questions, please add them to the Ask a Question area that is kind of down at the bottom of your screen. Also, you know, put them in chat as well. And I'll call them out as if we need to, as we proceed through this through this broadcast broadcast. So with that Rubina Malay take it away.

Rubina Halwani  
Sorry, thank you so much. And thank you, everybody, for being here. And I'm really excited to share this with you. brief background of where I started with Inclusive Design, you know, I learned about what was going on in the world, and locally and nationally, and in just a lot of different spaces that I find myself in on a lot of different identities that I personally have about myself, and just trying to see what I can do to learn more about inclusive design, about accessibility, about cultures, variants of cultures, and how to bring diverse groups of people together and get on the same page, because apparently, I'm learning out in the world or not. And so trying to identify disparities, and trying to help bridge some gaps that are that are coming across in lots of different mediums in lots of different paces, spaces, personally, professionally. And then really, looking at the skills that I already have as an instructional designer, how can I then become an inclusive instructional designer, and then what it is that I'm learning from my experiences now, it's been a couple of years now of really taking classes, webinars, books, training, and then actually practicing those things at work, and finding successful ways to infuse inclusive design. They're in my projects, and then some other projects that I do on the side nationally, and internationally and defense for yourself. I do, I am an activist in my community. And so I do try to do things to just help me cook all over the place. And that's really the beginning and end of that. And so that's all so to share with you today. I do have a presentation and I hope to make it interactive with you guys and I will try it with you and see if you get hopefully will please be ready to put stuff in the chat to help me through this. So inclusive design essentially what why and how. What I want to share with you are three things let's define some terms to get on the same page. Why it's important and then how you can start going about using the different elements of inclusive design into your work and projects. So I have here a basic definition of inclusive design, I love this one, I've scoured the internet to find different things and then just pull from different pieces together. And this one just kind of encompasses everything that I understand of inclusive design. So considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age, and other forms of human difference. I think that really just covers the gamut of everything that I would like to remind myself in terms of inclusive design. So here's an exercise for you. And I hope you are ready to put some stuff in the chat. It's just a little game for us to kind of think about what you may want to think about in terms of how to identify gaps or disparities or points of exclusion by just this one activity. So here's a scenario for you guys to go through. Pretend that you are the person putting together an annual office holiday party. And these are the decision points that you're making. And these are the things that you're considering. So you have a Christmas party. And that's the theme that you're going to go with and you want to be able to decorate according to that theme. And you've got Christmas tree and you've got REITs that are going out. And you're all ready to roll. So this is an office party for everybody in your office. Put in the chat, what you think there might be problems by this particular theme. office party that you want to have for everybody in your office, and you're just gonna be like a Christmas theme here. So let's see. Oh, we're not representing everyone. Okay. Religion might be a problem here.

Raul, I'd love for you to expand on that. What? What does that mean in there? It's excluding everybody from non Christians. Okay. All right. I really love these responses. There are many different holidays in December. Okay, so we have a Christmas party that may or may not work for that theme. And some other things are coming into. I really love this. Okay, so now you're actively thinking, Okay, wait, is this theme going to be appropriate for all the folks that are in our office and or not? It's a great one for maybe need to have. I love it. If I celebrate Christmas. I personally actually don't I'm just putting myself in your shoes. But yeah, then it includes some folks, it excludes some other folks inadvertently. So then, the next thing that you do you want to think about is the location of the party, right? So I want to go to the attic. It's the best place. It's this huge space. I'm loving it. It's on the second floor, and it has stair access. So that's wonderful. For me, it's really pretty inside. But oh my gosh, I'm starting to see what's happening here in the chat room I excluding by picking this particular space, or what am I missing from picking this kind of space, or this type of venue? Oh, my gosh, where's the bathroom, I have no idea then even has the bathroom. I bet the bathroom is on the first floor. No elevator, it's not wheelchair accessible. I've actually done some event planning in another life. And I would have to check out the venue just to make sure there were elevators, and you'll be surprised. There are spaces out there that don't have it, where the party room is located at. And so I would not be able to host an event over there because it does not have access points that I need. So making sure the location is appropriate for an office party for everyone so that they can all attend. Next thing for the invites, I'm ready to draw up the invitations. I am gonna make sure that I email everybody except for Gary. Gary has a slight drinking problem. And the last time he was at the office party, things happen. I can't really tell you because it's not really PG. And you know, first he started singing, and that he's just a really bad drunk. And so I'm just, you know, in theory, I don't know if I can do this. So what are some things here that when I'm sending out the invitations, and I'm thinking about this party, what are some elements of inclusion or exclusion is happening here and I'm thinking about invite You're not inviting Barry. Yeah, that could be exclusive. What else to think about here? No alcohol for See, that's a really good activities to do together besides drinking. So when I'm sending out these invitations for everybody, I want to make everybody be able to come and feel that they they can attend, and that they should be comfortable attending, they should feel welcomed, they shouldn't feel excluded, just because they may have something different things going on in their lives. And I personally had to actually experience this, we did have an office party, where there were drinks around, and it was just like, if you drink, you can, you know, engage. And if you don't drink float, there's nothing else there for you and stuff. And so just deal with it. For folks that may have substance use issues, that could be a very, very hard thing to just even have the drinks there. So it may or may not be an appropriate time, or appropriate space to do that. And so I wanted to be mindful of that. Something there. Yeah, it could actually be very dangerous to have if you think about it during the daylight hours. All right. I picked the place I got the location, I sent out the invitations, I have corrected all my little errors and made sure that this thing is getting more and more inclusive, and more accessible to everybody. And yes, the music has got it poppin on going I love it. I'm gonna bring out the hip hop and the r&b and all of that stuff. And my cousin has a band and I want to make it really, really loud. It's just gonna be awesome. Wait, wait, wait, there's stuff coming in the chat about this? Oh, sensory overload. I'm not coming. That's

love it. Yeah. Okay. Can't wait to hear the conversations. Yeah, yeah. You can't hear the conversations for your co workers. What was the point of having the office party if you can engage with your with your co workers, because the music is too loud. Some people may not even like the type of music that you're bringing. I'm a huge r&b fan at a party. I don't know if I can just bring it out that high that volume into a party. Some folks may like classical music, some folks may not like any music. So it's going to be kind of interesting to figure out what music should I provide if I should provide music? And then what's appropriate, you know, like, go back to where I thought to have a Christmas party? Am I just going to be playing out Christmas music the entire time, or I'm not going to be a little bit careful about the music selection and maybe try and get something that's appealing to everybody that's out there. Or try to mix it up. There's some different decision points there. Right. So thank you for the feedback here. And then the last thing, all right food, everybody loves chicken. Chicken is the best thing, right? It's like, it's not your red meat. So you don't have to worry about that. And, and all your cholesterol thing. So I needed, you know, accommodating to an extent. And so we're definitely going to have some chicken in there. And that's great. Oh, my gosh, somebody's a vegetarian. That's a problem. Okay. Yeah, yeah. But but that's okay. Just you know, eat before after the party. That's fine. Like, why do I have to change the way that because I love chicken. So I definitely want to have chicken over there. It's the best thing like, I need to have it. Eat around the chicken. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So when I'm making this decision here about the food, what to have there, I could be actually being offensive to some people who may have dietary restrictions, who may have religious restrictions on their food about what they can or cannot have. Who may have allergies. I knew my niece has peanut allergy. And I have to really be careful about if I'm having a type of event for the entire office. Maybe I should think about the people that are coming to the party. And what it is that they like to maybe survey them ahead of time, and then pick the different foods that I may have. Pull all the kosher foods Yes, or a salad at least to the berries. Don't tell people to eat before after the party. That's just although I myself have had those experiences of having to eat before afterward because I could meet all this after. So anyway. Oh, Um, so why is inclusive design important? If you'd like continue putting in there, what your thoughts are of why's, why it's important. There's different reasons for everybody, these are the three that I particularly like when I'm thinking about it. In terms of instructional design,

it demonstrates cultural sensitivity, I think it's imperative and important for the instructional designer, to be the voice of the learner, and be there at the table on behalf of her in terms of knowing who the learner is, what their needs are, and being sensitive to those needs, being empathetic to those needs, and being able to respond to the murderer, you know, nobody else is in that room. And I've said this plenty of times, nobody else is in the room with you to be able to speak on behalf of the learner and have those considerations, the Smee may or may not be able to do it, the stakeholders that are in there won't be able to do it, your project owner may not be able to do it. Really the only person that's there on the learners behalf when you start talking about these trains that you need to develop for them, or any other kinds of learning material output that you want to have, you're going to be the one who has responsibility, the main responsibility. So make sure that you're thinking about it not just in terms of an instructional designer, an inclusive instructional designer up your game a little bit, increase the way that you think to be inclusive of different cultures and accessibility needs as well. You're able to attract more people, when you do this, when you start working in an inclusive way, you start attracting different types of people towards the learning content. People ask me all the time, how do you make learning more engaging? How do you make it learning more engaging? Well, you can make it more engaging, if you start attracting more different types of people into that engagement. Who are you inviting in? Who does the invite go out to Who are you preparing this training for, make sure that you bring them in, include them in have those images of diverse people, diverse groups of people, different age groups, different races, different ethnicities, whoever your particular winner is, and make sure you avoid the the vomit of images, you don't want to if you're making a training for a certain demographic, make sure the images and illustrations that you have are representative of that demographic, don't just start putting in images that you thought were diverse. And it actually doesn't look like any, any any of the learners that you have out there. I had somebody who I had to pretend they wanted to put an Indian person in there. And they asked me how did you do that. And they put somebody that was from India that was actually in India. So that didn't work for the demographic that they were trying to get, I was like we're are you pitching this training into India, then that's a perfect kind of illustration, it doesn't work if it is a person that's here in America, because they don't have the background that's in this picture. So you want to make it representative of where you're at. Again, if you have people of a certain percentage of demographic from a certain community, then try to include them in, if you end up having somebody who's not at all, it doesn't make sense to have that representation necessarily. Look at the specific dynamics of people that you're working with. And then make it inclusive of the of the learners that are out there. That is like the most beautiful way for you to present your training so that everybody can enjoy it that's in that space. So don't go too far out. And then provide equal access and opportunity to all of the learners that you're going to have in that space, or that particular training. I will share this PowerPoint with you guys with us after this. And then if you want to go to this link, I'll show this also in the chat so that you can follow it. This is one of the best websites that had the best written terms principles of how to how to conduct instructional design in an inclusive way. So I really love that.

So I Have you do it? So now you have an understanding of what to look for why it's important. But how do you actually actually, in your own space, one, make sure you know your audience know your audience know your audience, your audience, it's so important, survey them go out for a site visit, if you need to actually really ask for that, at the beginning of your training, don't just take the content down and the project without building it in if you're able to go and see the learner, and or get five or six different learners, for a user testing rater, you can always ask for that your manager, whoever they are, if they will support you, they'll say yes, if they won't support you, they'll say no, but at least you ask them, and then you work within those confines and those parameters. Or if you ask your manager, perhaps your manager will be the one to conduct the site visit. And then you go, here you go, here's the stuff that I need for it, please come back and tell me all these things that I need to know about the learner, about the demographics about any parts of their cultural aspects, any points of accessibility needs, anything I need to learn about for their specific environment, access barriers, go ahead and give it to them, ask those questions, if they come back and say, Oh, I didn't know that, then that's the reason why you're conducting this exercise in order for you to get back out from them, or kill yourself. Assess the environment, figure out what is going on in the learner space that they have to operate in. It's funny how so many people make training without understanding when environment is going to happen about the learner can using the training and going through the training, where are they going to be out taking this training. For instance, I've had learners who are taking trainings on their tablets, at their construction site or wherever they're at, that's just when they're going to be taking a train. So I'm not going to make this highly stylized, very interactive, really, really engaging in gaming piece. If I don't have to, they need to know what to do, how to do and when to do it. And that's really important for any training. And so I'm going to make it so that it's responsive to their needs. I may or may not have narration and volume and, and all of that, if I know they're not going to be able to plug in and listen, if they're at a construction site, they just want to have that time for it, I'm going to have it so that they can read everything, they can print out things, they can have

other ways of interacting with the material that doesn't necessarily need audio if they can't have audio in their space. And so those are the considerations that you want to have and plan for it that way. Avoid bias and exclusion. So if you're going to be the instruction instructional designer, and you know for sure that you want to be inclusive, and that you want to avoid bias, and that you're learning a lot about all of this stuff, that's wonderful. Here's what happens. You You make all those decisions, and you say, Yes, I'm gonna go do this. And then you get a training handed to you training materials to you, or some training, some supervisor is coming to say, hey, we need a training about that. Okay, they come in, you start having these discussions. And in the course of the discussions, it happens all the time. They have biases, they have assumptions about the learner, about what's important to the learner sneeze will always have that thing, where they say, everything is important, all this content and all this material is important. And you as the instructional designer know full well on. It's a content overload, it'll be a sensory overload, you're going to have to make some decision, decisions about what goes into presentation. Versus like gets backlogged in another way, put in into links, resource links, after the training, pre training, post assessment, some other way of disseminating information or just checking it out all together. You want to make sure that you're also checking off for biases and accounting for biases that you're seeing these that your stakeholders may have. Don't just let them come to you and say, Oh, well, the learners like this. Don't let them come to you and say, Oh, well, if this content is absolutely in full But is it show me a metric, show me a performance, show me, show me some objective that we're gonna cover with by by doing all of this. And if those things are not well defined or unclear, or perhaps you find out is full of bias, then start working to negate those things, take those things out, unravel that bias and move away from it. The worst thing you're going to do is offend your learner in some way, where the training was either inaccessible, or unresponsive, or perhaps too high for them to understand it, or to dumb down for them together. Like it just it just doesn't make sense. So make sure you know what you need to know, to negate the bias, not just your own, but what your stakeholders in your knees promote welcome and even longing. How do you do that in a training is you're not there, you're not physically there. language, tone, and messaging? Is the language clear enough? Is it appropriate? Does it say what you need to say, in a polite way, you'll be surprised how much content you can get that can be condescending, you'll be surprised the types of content that you're given that's quite negative, or is full of here are the don'ts that you're supposed to do? Or in your job, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, well, then, what can I do? What am I supposed to do?

And then what? And then why are you gonna think that I'm this kind of employee when I never even thought I was that kind of employee. So be careful about the language that you use the presentation of that language that you use, and you get to make all those decisions. Those decisions, definitely be more hands in your pocket and your wheelhouse, whatever it is away from the schools away from the stakeholders, they should not be touching these elements of your design, designing in a polite way, in a professional way. In a perhaps I've been learning in the last couple of years, how to write things in a strengths based way, where I talk about what is nice or positive. And then I interject in the training, things that an employee should be aware about, and what they should work on. And then and then get them the examples and the exercises and the practices to get them to the behavior that I want them to see the want them to do. And at that point, it just kind of seamlessly works into avoiding negative behaviors, because I don't even have to refer to that in my training. If I'm directing them in the way that I want to direct them, then those things kind of go to the wayside already, they won't be thinking about it, because I haven't framed it that way. So you'll have you know, in your content dump, all of those little things may come up. And then it's your job to kind of shuffle it through and figure out what's the best way to present this. What's the nicest way to use what's what's, what's an accepted way to do this professionally. And keep the new gators out, keep the biases out to the stuff that you don't know.

And then it's the continual process for inclusive design. You always have to learn, you always have to refine things, there's always going to be more that comes out. And that's what I've learned in the last couple of years when I first started figuring this out for myself and taking. I started with unconscious bias training. Okay, great. But now what now what I do with that, then I started taking other trainings and I started reading more about it. Then I started taking webinars, started paying attention to some really good speakers, not just l&d speakers, speakers that are in the field of Dei, dia, diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, there's that's four different topics, their speakers in four different places at the university level, and a government level and a corporate level, how are people defining these things in those spaces? How are people applying these things in those spaces? I was surprised to see how corporate companies were just jumping at the bit to get diversity initiatives, equity initiatives, inclusion initiatives a lot faster than the nonprofits than government. I thought it would be the other way around, and that we'd be going after business to say, Please, can you do this? Can you can you get to this point, and I'm surprised where there were a lot of business businesses who are doing it first, just to name a couple, I know Microsoft is giving out really good messaging about diversity, equity and inclusion. Now, whether the companies are the best at it. I mean, that's, that's to tell that's for the employees to tell. But at least they were putting that effort forth. And that's one step. And they at least try to, and then they reach their goals, same way that you should perhaps, try to make a goal and increase your learning and your growth as you go along. I do believe that I am, perhaps now two years ahead. I've learned things about accessibility that I've wanted to know for a really long time, and really going to lay the websites and reading everything I possibly could. Learning about language, learning about how to figure out translate things into plain language delivery, learning about tone, what's an appropriate tone, what's a nice tone, what tone works for this kind of audience versus this type of audience, learn things about different audiences. I'm very actively known about different groups of people, different cultures of people, different dates of people, I've started doing that to get very intentional about wanting to build inclusive spaces, and not excluding others, I really didn't like that I don't like having a training or any learning content, perhaps inadvertently, being exclusive. And so I'm making an intentional effort to be inclusive, and I really did start with myself a place of vulnerability, going outward, Where were those times in those spaces? Where I felt other? Or excluded or didn't belong? You know, did I get the invitation for the party? Because if the right party, did I want to go? What was over there? What were they feeding people? Who else was coming out? Was it a good party or not? You know, those kinds of things are a great way for you to understand, what did I have? Think about? What are the different elements on to know, our inclusive design, and keep those in mind materials to others. So some quick elements to think about. Language, I've said tone, messaging, bias, and stereotypes. keep those in mind not just yours, but your C's, your project owners, anybody else who's touching your projects and content. And you want to make sure that it is

taking out as much bias as possible. Can you take out everything? Probably not. And learn as you grow? As you continue? accessibility needs, I cannot repeat illustrations, images, are those appropriate images? Are those appropriate illustrations? How do you know, get user testing the learners to figure that out, get feedback cycles from the learners that are receiving your training prior to doing a full launch, perhaps tried beta testing, or a soft launch? With just a few people get that feedback? And then, and then extra training? I've had people in my office now, because they've heard that I that I've learned about all of these different skill sets. They come to me with their content materials in training or not. It's it perhaps is an infographic perhaps it's some educational materials, perhaps it's a curriculum, different things that come across my clinic. Now, Rubina, can you just get your eyes on this and tell us if it's inclusive, and or exclusive. And then I'm like, okay, all right. And then I look back at the different elements that I need to remind myself of, and then look at their materials and then do the best that I possibly can to tweak some things out to see from my own lived experience and my professional learning, how we can make this delivery of content better, more impactful, more inviting, welcoming, and giving somebody a sense of, they belong in this space of either learning, training, receiving materials, they belong there, they are recognized there, they are represented there. All of these things really enhance the experience for everybody. A quote that I'd like to leave you with diversity is like being invited to a party. Inclusion is like being asked to dance and belonging is dancing like no one was watching. So I hope that this presentation will speak for you. And I hope everything I presented to you is for you. If you hadn't kept having any questions, comments, or complaints, please email me. And we can follow up later. And we can talk about anything more specifically or more discreetly if you're in a, in a particular kind of space or with a certain type of audience.

Luis Malbas  
Alright, thanks for being out. That was great timing is great, too. I know, there's just so much to think about when it comes to inclusive design. And I do want to mention, I actually haven't released this yet. Hopefully, I'm not releasing it too early. But on June 23, and 24th, we are doing the accessible and inclusive design conference that Kayleen holds from Scissortail creative services is helping build that one out. We've got we're getting speakers lined up all of that. But I do have an instance, if you wanted to register, I'm going to post it there a link, it's free, there's a free ticket. And then there's kind of like a donation ticket that helps because, you know, we've got to buy captions and different things to help with the event. But feel free to register for that one, it's going to be two days, it's going to be a lot of information. Last year's event. Oh, I should have. For those of you that haven't seen it on the CLDC website. We do have we do have the recordings available for last year, which I made for free because it's obviously information that I feel like everyone should be able to have access to. Because it was such a wonderful event. Let me post that in there too. If you've any of you have time, and you just want to, you know, check out the recordings from last year. Absolutely fantastic. I mean, Sherry Byrne Haber, and you know, Gwen, Suzy Miller, everybody that spoke at that event last year, were amazing, and it's a great place to, to learn a whole bunch. And I think that inclusive design is just more important than ever, and we have the ability to make a change in this world by just expending a little bit of effort to include more people in what we do. And you know, so kudos to you will be enough for, for helping lead the charge on this. I'm so happy that you're moving in that direction. And hopefully everybody in the audience is going to do the same. So with that, I'll go ahead and wrap up. Um, thanks everyone registered for that event. It's free. The AI DC 22 And then also this week on Wednesday, talking to Dr. Parker, a grant from IB Lance, we're doing a showcase with him just to talk about his l&d journey. And if you don't know about TLD chat or slack group, just go to to the You can sign up there. We have like little conversations on slack in that group. And with that, I'm going to close everything out. Thanks again. Rubina. So great that you did this morning.

Rubina Halwani  
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Unknown Speaker  
Okay, bye, everybody.

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