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WEIRDness in design - can empathy bridge the gap?

Following from the WEIRD challenge in psychology, design also has its issues: 71% of designers are white, and the majority of leadership is men. The design thinking idea that "anyone can design for anyone" is a dangerous fantasy because everything we experience is processed through the filters of our own biases. We can try to understand the people & their needs, but if our life experience is vastly different we'll struggle to even ask the right questions. Solutions designed with a limited perspective result in poor solutions: facial recognition software that doesn't process black faces, women worse affected by car accidents and voice assistants that struggle with non-white voices. "We live in a patriarchal system where white male is considered the default in nearly every aspect of society. The inherent imbalance, privilege, and bias contained in a system like that runs so deep that not only is it impossible for a white guy to ever empathize with someone who is black or a woman, it’s not even possible for them to start with the right questions. This is the real context in which we are designing, and most of us can’t even comprehend the ways in which that context drives every decision we make."

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