GenderMag Design Catalog
Examples of how to make software inclusive
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Add category labels
Categorizing issues with color-coded labels helps users avoid spending time on issues that don't fit their skill level
Before

The issue list for this open source project doesn't allow users to easily parse through the issues and confidently select one that fits their skill level.

Attitude Toward Risk: A risk averse user doesn't want to waste time working on an issue that doesn't match their skill level.

Also affects users with: comprehensive information processing style, task-oriented motivations, low computer self-efficacy
After

Categorizing issues by color-coded labels allows users to map the skills needed for each issue.

Attitude Toward Risk: With this solution, a risk averse user can clearly identify the issue that best matches their skillset, and move forward without wasting time. This doesn't hinder a risk-tolerant user since they wouldn't have experienced this pain point.

Categorizing issues by color-coded labels also helps users with: comprehensive information processing style, task-oriented motivations, low computer self-efficacy

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).

Organize persistently
Cohesively organized instructions help task-motivated users move forward
Before

Instructions for each OS were in different locations in the project

Motivations: A task-oriented user doesn't explore around to gather up all the necessary instructions. If the instructions they need aren't organized cohesively they may abandon the task.

Also affects users with: low computer self efficacy, risk aversion, process-oriented learning style
After

Added and organized instructions all in one place for all OS setups.

Motivations: This allows task-motivated users to find exactly what they need but allows technology-motivated users to explore as much as they want.

Better organization can also help users with: low computer self efficacy, risk aversion, process-oriented learning style

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).

Explain why
Hints can create clear paths for task-oriented users
Before

This single sentence provides little information of what a user can expect if they click "Contribute.md".

Motivations: A task-oriented user prefers a workflow that doesn't require exploration to complete their task. If they don't see a clear path, they may abandon the task.

Also affects users with: comprehensive information processing style, risk aversion
After

The sentence with the contributing guidelines link now has hints that provides users with more information about what they can find in the 'contribute.md' file.

Motivations: A task-oriented user now knows what to expect if they click on the contributing guidelines link and doesn't need to explore in order to complete their task. Also, this solution allows a technology-motivated user to purposefully explore a piece of software by knowing where potential paths lead.

Adding hints to create a clear path can also help users with: comprehensive information processing style, risk aversion

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).

Don't be vague
Providing more context helps increase user confidence when making decisions
Before

Title is vague and the lack of a description makes this issue difficult to guage.

Information Processing Style: A comprehensive newcomer needs enough detail to select an issue that fits their skill level; this further impacts their decision to contribute.

Also affects users with: low computer self efficacy
After

A more detailed title and description were added to provide context for the issue in the project.

Information Processing Style: By providing more information about the issue, a comprehensive newcomer is more inclined to contribute as they can easily decide if it's in their skill level. This solution doesn't hinder a selective newcomer who prefers lists with bolded key words over text blocks.

Providing more context can also help users with: low computer self-efficacy

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).

Break into bullets
Step-by-step instructions benefit selective information processors
Before

There are no step-by-step instructions or directions to the "issue list".

Information Processing Style: A user with selective information processing style wants to clearly locate the required information without be overwhelmed by extra text.

Also affects users with: task-oriented motivations, low computer self-efficacy
After

Numbered step-by-step instructions were added as well as a direct link to the "issue list".

Information Processing Style: This solution directs users with selective information processing style to a list of instructions instead of a paragraph. The "issue list" is hyperlinked and doesn't require additional navigation. This also doesn't prevent tinkerers from learning through exploration.

Incorporating numbered lists and hyperlinks also help users with: task-oriented motivations, low computer self-efficacy

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).

Give a process
Step-by-step instructions for documentation contributions help newcomers
Before

Contributing to an OSS project can be intimidating for newcomes, especially if they believe their only option requires altering the project's code. This project only provided instructions for how to complete a code contribution and gave no instructions or even indications that a documentation contribution was possible.

Learning Style: A process-oriented learner wants to follow step-by-step instructions rather than tinker around the project or go through the coding setup (which requires much more work) to make a documentation contribution.

Also affects users with: risk aversion, low computer self-efficacy
After

Now there is an entire section dedicated to documentation contributions with step-by-step instructions.

Learning Style: A process-oriented learner now has the instructions they're looking for in order to easily complete a documentation contribution. This also doesn't stop a tinker from exploring around the project as much as they want.

Providing step-by-step instructions also helps users with: risk aversion, low computer self-efficacy

Evidence: This redesign was validated in a user study (to appear).