The way we speak and the technologies we support reinforce stereotypes that, in turn, have an invisible influence on the ways we view the world, others, and ourselves. In information architecture (IA), basing your work off anything without knowledge of these invisible influences can be lethal to a design. But, these invisible influences are not only seen in IA, rather, they are in all industries and can be equally, if not more destructive. In this podcast, we will explore how these invisible influences are everywhere.
Client/Project: Information Architecture Course
Team: Myself, Alex Rucker, Erin Campbell, Azucena Rodriguez
My Role: Team Manager and Audio Engineer
Objective: To develop a piece of media that shares IA knowledge with an audience of non-IA experts. The goal is to share IA “insider” knowledge with a group outside IA that has some interest or stake in the matter at hand.
Timeline: November 2018
Invisible influencers in the technology industry are causing stagnant innovation. If the industry continues to hire homogenous groups of people, the products these people create will only serve those similar to them and reinforce the current systems and structures of inclusion and exclusion. In this podcast, we will explore how women and men of color in the tech industry are affected by invisible influences.
Media, as we know, plays a vital role in introducing us to outside cultures. Many musical or play aficionados use the theater as not only entertainment, but for an education into the mind of another person or group of people. The theater industry, therefore, has the ability to break or permit boundaries or stereotypes. In this podcast, we will discuss how a dramaturg and theater historian experiences stereotypes within the theater and how he sees its effects on everyday life.
A homogenous culture affects how we see ourselves, especially if you do not fit the norm. Everyday we interact with design that is made for us, but does not necessarily represent us. This affects us because it silently instills in us ideas about our identity that might be socially imposed or binary. For this reason, professionals in all industries must be aware on how their innovations may affect groups of minorities. In this podcast, we will discuss how the LGBTQ+ community is affected by stereotypes in their everyday lives.
When we started this project, we were all amazed at how beautifully our individual passions and projects fit together. Without knowing it, there was a thread of ethical considerations woven into each initial project. We decided to talk about the ethical implications of stereotypes and the perpetuation of stereotypes. At first, we didn’t know how to do this in a way that would feel cohesive across three different focuses: industry, theater, and the LGBTQ community. After further discussing our purpose for this project, we decided that it wouldn’t necessarily be sufficient for us to just sit around and discuss ethical implications of stereotypes in places with which we we lacked experience and expertise. So, we decided to take the conversation to those with experience to hear what they had to say about the perpetuation of stereotypes in their field. This allowed us to be learners before educators (or people who produce podcasts in an attempt to educate the public).
As we learned in class, no design is ethically neutral. As we learn more about stereotypes and assumptions people make, the more important universal design becomes. From this podcast and my various design experiences, I now understand the lack of knowledge people have of universal design and how I must be an advocate in my everyday life.
I also learned about my excellence in audio engineering from this. With years of experience behind me, I was able to finish these podcasts and ensure they are up to standards. I compared the quality, timing, and structure to other popular podcasts such as NPR to ensure soundness.
I gained a new perspective of my role in advocating for universal design, as well as exercised my audio creation skills.