“We all have biases, it’s natural to have unconscious biases,” noted Idit Duvdevany Aronsohn at a masterclass last week at the TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World. The challenge, she said, was to keep inclusion top of mind when designing products and services.
Furthermore, inclusive design – ensuring that all people, not just the “common users”, or the ones most similar to us, can all equally enjoy products/services – also naturally connects with another key issue for the tech industry: promoting diversity and inclusion.
“More diversity around the table progresses the belonging of our employees; and there’s a strong correlation between sense of belonging, inclusion and levels of innovation. More diversity leads to better results,” Duvdevany Aronsohn, Amdocs’ head of corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, pointed out.
So what is Amdocs doing?
XDC (Amdocs’ Experience Design Center) offers robust accessibility guidelines on how to adjust UI/UX elements to accommodate people who are color-blind or have other disabilities. This way Amdocs designs suit everyone’s needs.
Separately,in a project led by Amdocs company projekt202, we can find an example how we get closer to a lower-income persona. While creating a strategy for a large mobile service provider, we used a design-thinking method to co-create with low-income users to prioritize household expenses. This method has us laying out cards with different costs to sort and prioritize. This is the data we need to understand more about their world and how to market and make products that suit them.
Covid-19 meanwhile spurred Amdocs into assisting the elderly learn how to use technology. Another example of how Amdocs is fulfilling its mission on creating products and services that are inclusively designed is through the call-centers that we set-up at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to assist the elderly with using technology.
“We realized the elderly don’t know how to use Zoom, FaceTime and other digital tools, so we set-up a call center, where Amdocs volunteers taught the elderly how to interact with the world digitally,” Duvdevany Aronsohn said. This initiative, which was Israel-based, will soon be launched worldwide.
“By challenging ourselves to think more broadly and include diversity as a design principle, we can create better products, services and platforms that are designed for and accessible for everyone,” the Amdocs executive concluded.
Opening career doors for all
Also at Digital Transformation World, Amdocs’ Nomi Malca was recognized as a TM Forum Rising Star Mentor for leading at Amdocs internal and external mentorship programs for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities usually join companies at a later stage compared to people without disabilities, Malca told the conference. “Consequently, they're more afraid to raise questions, they don’t know what to expect, and therefore the role of a mentor is to give confidence and teach the mentee key employability skills.”
What makes a good mentor?
“A good mentor is empathetic and patient – someone who attentively listens to the needs of the person with disabilities and comes up with unique solutions to meet their needs,” said Malca, head of Learning & Development at Amdocs. “However, from my experience it boils down to matching – the mentor and mentee need to suit one another and have chemistry.”
Entrepreneurial progam for people with disabilities
Aside from a mentorship program that connects people with disabilities to employees at Amdocs to help them identify their next career move, leverage their networks and open the doors to the high-tech industry, Amdocs has also supported the launch of an entrepreneurial program by WinWork, which supports people with severe disabilities and provides them with training on how to become independent entrepreneurs and establish their own business.