“You can’t say you can’t play”* UXinsight’s journey toward creating an Inclusive Research event, part 1

Karin had learned a close relative, because of a rare genetic disorder known as Usher Syndrome, was slowly losing the ability to see and hear. She felt sad but curious too. Wanting to learn more and having been sensitized to the situation, she decided to go deep into the research around accessibility, and a journey began that continues even now.

Accessibility is for everybody’s benefit

At UXinsight Festival in April 2021, we introduced captions to all of the recorded talks. And we discovered that they aren’t only helpful to those who ‘need’ the captions from an official diagnosis standpoint. The captions are also helpful for the attendee who wants to follow along more closely. Or for the one experiencing loud sounds of construction vehicles outside their window. Accessibility we realized is for everyone’s benefit.

…and can sometimes be overwhelming

Accessibility can be to everyone’s benefit. And yet the nature of the lengthy detailed regulations around accessibility can feel overwhelming and de-energizing. Other questions can slow us down as well:

  • How do we include EVERYONE in our research?
  • If we exclude others accidentally or on purpose, what do we do about that? How do we manage feelings and expectations?
  • Where is the best place to start?

Rather than be discouraged by these questions, we decided to embrace the open-ended exploration. Rather than paralyzing by information overload, we sought to take action. And we remembered that when forming a personal or positive connection to the logic behind inclusive research practices, when we hear the stories how everyone — you and me included — can benefit, we become more energized, more motivated.

We cannot include every topic — ability/disability, gender, immigrant populations, language diversity, religion/holidays, age, neurodiversity, etc — and still have a one-day event that is engaging. We are learning to accept this constraint. If overwhelmed, none of us will feel ready to take a real step.

A Spirit of Play

We cannot address every topic related to inclusive research. But we thought we can include you in the co-creation process if we allow you to follow our journey. This then is a first step in a series of co-creation.

We hope that by letting you see “under the hood” as we design the event — sharing our thoughts and feelings, our doubts and decision-making processes — you might learn more, even before the event officially begins.

Logo UXinsight Unfolds 2021 - Making UX Research more inclusive

*In her book Mismatch, Kat Holmes refers to an experiment by Vivian Gussin Paley exploring how children begin very early to exclude one another in school settings. Learning together how to reverse that trend, one teacher introduced the mantra “You can’t say, you can’t play.”

We invite you then to play with us in co-creating our Inclusive Research event for November 11, 2021. With your input, we believe our Inclusive Research event will be better. Please feel free to get in touch with ideas and suggestions at We look forward to hearing from you 🙂 

It’s not about the WHY but about the HOW

As for content, we want the event to presume already that diversity & inclusion is important; it is a given. We are hoping to design the event itself to be inclusive. And we want anyone who attends or participates to come away from the event ready to take a real step in making their Research practice more inclusive. We want content that’s actionable and accessible, empowering all who co-create and participate in the event to practice more inclusive research in their day-to-day soon after.

To that end, if you have a story to share about a time when you introduced more inclusivity to your UX Research practice in how you… 

  • conducted research process-wise, 
  • interviewed or who you chose to survey, 
  • researched with members of a marginalized community,
  • advocated for a segment of users that had previously been inadequately served because of mainstream assumptions,
  • OR in how you yourself experienced exclusion when using a product, tool, or website… 

We would love to hear your stories! You can send us a message at

Jeffrey Coleman

Jeffrey works as a project manager at Amplinate, an international UX Research agency that promotes cross-cultural understanding and authentic human connection. He is also a freelance career coach partnering with others to help make tech more inclusive. If you’d like to start (or continue) a conversation, he’s always open to connect.

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