UX Consultant, Speaker, Ladies that UX EMEA Director.

Jenny Shen is a UX consultant who has worked with numerous startups and brands including Neiman Marcus, Crate&Barrel, eBuddy, IBM, TravelBird and Randstad. Currently, she focuses on helping businesses innovate and designing inclusive product experiences for international users.

In her spare time, she mentors designers, speaks at conferences and volunteers at Ladies that UX, where she is working on global community strategy as the Regional Director of EMEA. She also writes about UX, design career and various topics in her newsletter and on Medium.

Jenny was born in Taipei, Taiwan and has lived in Canada, Singapore. She is currently based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means to include, listen to and celebrate the voices of people from various cultures, genders, age, education, ethnicities, experiences, interests and other forms of human differences.

To consider diversity means that a product, service or a team/organisation is not made (up) by a homogeneous group of people.

Why do you care about diversity?

The tech industry is dominated by a single profile—white and male. But that’s not what the real world looks like. As someone who designs software, I strive to design for real people in the world and not just for people that work in tech.

The incident where Amazon’s AI recruiting tool taught itself that male candidates were preferable demonstrates the danger of male dominance and gender bias.

I don’t want to live in a world where products and services are designed by less than half of the population. Or one where society decisions are based on the interests of white males.

If an organisation doesn’t actively seek diversity, it risks excluding users who are not like them.

Finally, diversity in the industry increases the representation of people of colour and women. This is good for society because representation helps create role models and promote ethnic people’s self-esteem.

How can we build more inclusive communities?

  1. Actively seek voices and participation from underrepresented people. To build inclusive communities, one cannot just wait and hope that underrepresented would show up.
  2. Be explicit about inclusion. This is a lesson learned while building Ladies that UX Amsterdam community. Without being explicit about being an inclusive community, people thought our community was limited to ladies.
  3. Don’t exclude people who don’t have the experience (be it working in tech or working in design, A.I., etc). If we don’t allow people who don’t yet have the experience to learn and participate, we cannot grow the industry and change the gender/ethnicity ratio.