In a design career that’s taken her around the globe, Ros Horner [feature image] has had the opportunity to work with top brands such as Adidas and global agencies like Wunderman and SapientNitro. Now AKQA’s design director, Horner tells B&T why an hour in a government immigration office helped change her career.
Ros Horner has worked in London, Amsterdam and New York. But it was a government immigration office where she learnt one of her most important lessons – the value of diversity in design.
“It’s our job as designers and technologist not just to seek out and work in diverse multi-disciplined teams, but to understand the diverse needs and circumstances of customers,” she tells B&T.
“One hour as a customer in a government immigration office, where every interaction was self-service on a screen, taught me more about design than anything else I can remember.
“Design is decision making, and even with rigorous research and testing processes, we can’t help but bring our own perspective and viewpoint when designing.
“If your team is made up of people with the same background and experience as you then you are limiting the quality and impact of what you’re creating.”
It is Horner’s opinion that as an industry, we are still prioritising profits over inclusion.
“There is always a time and cost pressure when creating digital experiences,” she says.
“So, we tend to prioritise our own expertise and previous learnings over deeply understanding or researching another point of view or way of experiencing the world.”
“Diverse teams enable us to quickly get more insight and a variety of perspectives into the work, and along with solid research practices go a long way to creating more useful and usable products and services,” Horner explains.
“Diversity of thought, experience, gender, culture, age, race is absolutely vital in the design process.”
Leading the way
Talking about diversity in technology and design is one thing. Putting effective strategies into place is another.
Horner puts it to the industry leaders to start changing the tide.
“I don’t care what the motivation is for tech leaders promoting diversity, it has proven impact on innovative work, happier employees, increased revenue,” she says.
“But people working in organisations need to hear their leaders speaking about diversity consistently and often and see plans being put into action,” she says.
“To really have a long term impact on gender balance in tech every part of a business needs to be considered, internship programs, hiring processes, pay and benefits, org structures, staff allocation, and this holistic change can only really come from senior leaders working together.”
Continue the conversation and hear from some of Australia’s leading female technologists at B&T’s inaugural Women Leading Tech awards gala lunch on 8 April 2020 at Linseed House, The Grounds of Alexandria, 7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria.
B2B marketers could learn a thing or two from their B2C colleagues, argues WP Engine VP APAC sales Mark Randall in this guest post. It surprises me how many B2B organisations are not quite hitting the mark when it comes to reaching their audience. When talking directly to businesses, many brands are missing an opportunity […]
The majority of adverts uploaded to Facebook aren’t created for Facebook as its priority. This is causing huge inefficiencies and poor performance for brands, many of whom are facing up to shrinking budgets. Tom Phillips (main photo) managing director at Connecting Plots shares lessons from 12 campaigns they optimised for auto brands… It’s no secret […]
On Wednesday, 21 October 2020, the PR industry was bolstered by the launch of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) first University Mentoring Program in New South Wales, adapting the traditional face-to-face program to a virtual format for the first time. In collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the PRIA NSW Young […]
JCDecaux has developed a dynamic digital campaign with live timetable data where commuters can access their money from MyPayNow while waiting for the bus. In an exclusive nationwide Out-Of-Home campaign, JCDecaux’s SMARTFRAME digital assets are broadcasting bus arrival times, letting commuters know how far away their next bus is – and just how easy it […]
Rokt has today announced an investment of US$80M. The capital will help accelerate research & development and support the expansion of its client base into new verticals and geographies as Rokt continues to make e-commerce smarter, faster, and better. The funding round was led by Rokt’s largest institutional shareholder TDM Growth Partners , and supported […]
PayPal Australia and Buy From The Bush have joined forces to launch a new online marketplace to showcase rural Australian small businesses in time for Christmas. The expanded partnership aims to build stronger connections between bush businesses and Australians in cities and suburbs across the country. The new Buy From The Bush Marketplace is an […]