Design is never for the 100%

by | Dec 27, 2021 | ICT4D |


Nothing is made for everyone. It is impossible. When we create something, it is for someone or a group. Whether it’s a chair or a digital product, who’s it for can not be answered with ‘Everyone’. There are too many competing priorities and trade offs to make.

The digital world has made the ability to reach more people easier. And it’s made it easier to find the others who are interested in what you do. But it is not everyone. Even Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft don’t reach everyone. So ‘everyone’ is not a useful goal.

However, if your goal is to go beyond the 1% of world’s rich, there are choices you can make to help. Design choices along the way that can help. Even consider where design choices are made and who are making them. Choices made in Gulu, Uganda are going to be different than ones made in London, Toronto, or New York. And choices made by women, LGBQT, or living in disable, or brown or black bodies with intermittent energy sources and mobile (2G) connectivity will be different than straight, white men.

However, most of the time, when we design and build for the minority, it works for the majority – expanding our reach. Just not the other way around. But it is and will never be for everyone (the 100%).

And ‘who’s it for’ is never just a design choice, it is also a business model choice.

And the choice is up to us.

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui


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