Nonprofit Organization Outlines Plan for Advancing Equity in Digital Experiences and Design, Announces Board of Directors
ExperienceFutures.org (XF) has officially launched as a nonprofit to build equity into digital experiences such as websites, apps, and social media content through new design tools and standards. XF will create and offer organizations first-of-their-kind tools, certifications, and technology using AI to deliver digital experience and equity across a wide range of users.
Digital equity is a challenge facing all businesses and impacting people around the world in untold ways. The growing digital experience divide permeates nearly every walk of life — from an estimated 4.4 million students in low-income U.S. households with only mobile phones to access educational tools; to the aging population, of which 1 in 5 will be of retirement age in the U.S. by 2030, and to the nearly 80 million refugees and stateless people forcibly displaced around the world and relying on mobile phones to access essential services. Presently, no organizing body exists to help businesses understand how they may be perpetuating this gap in experience equity, and what they can do to fix it for the benefit of millions if not billions of users.
Across many organizations, digital and product teams work to incorporate inclusive design through methods like Design Thinking, Journey Mapping, and UX design to varying degrees of success. Too often, digital leaders making critical equity decisions lack the resources to create experiences that serve a wide range of users – including those who are disadvantaged or faced with technical or language challenges. Consequently, users who can pay for premium services or who understand digital tools are often the primary beneficiaries, leaving behind more disenfranchised and disempowered communities. As digital experience publishers adopt new design technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning, XF aims to ensure that using these tools will improve equity online and reduce bias.
“The world of digital design is at a crossroads, and our community has a choice to make,” said Founder Howard Pyle, a 20-year design and digital platforms veteran. “Do we continue to build technology that is designed for the privileged few, or do we build it for all? By collaborating with diverse communities and employing new technologies, we believe that organizations can create digital experiences that are equitable and inclusive.”
ExperienceFutures.org is a standards-driven organization modeled after open-source software foundations, providing common frameworks, tools, and technologies for designers and experience creators. The organization will have a membership model that allows individuals and organizations to collaborate on developing best practices for creating impact through digital experience design.
“Digital publishers have a responsibility to create more equitable experiences, and we need independent bodies like XF to shape and accelerate that effort,” said design expert and board member Becky Wang. “XF’s goal of reaching wide-scale adoption of design equity tools is essential to creating a future where organizations improve equity in their digital experiences.”
XF’s Board of Directors
A diverse group of experts will help set the organization’s agenda:
- Amit Sen, a human rights lawyer who leads humanitarian efforts at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Becky Wang, partner, Crossbeat, and CMO of Esme Learning Solutions
- Jim Schachterle, co-founder and creative director, Grammar Works
- Utibe Bassey, VP of Customer Experience at Dominion Energy
- Howard Pyle, founder of XF and previously SVP of Global Experience Design at MetLife.
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