Confab 2018
Main-stage talk

Inclusive content, ethical tech, and you

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

We all want content strategy to be a force for good—we want to make things welcoming, seamless, and maybe even fun to use. But without a process for ensuring our decisions are also inclusive, equitable, and fair, our products can end up with all sorts of biases embedded in them: “smart scale” notifications that assume everyone’s trying to lose weight, form fields that fail for queer people, chatbots embedded with sexist responses, and so much more.

In this talk, we’ll take a hard look at how the tech industry’s culture—its lack of diversity, its “fail fast” ethos, its obsession with “engagement,” and its chronic underinvestment in understanding the humans it’s designing for—has led to products that perpetuate bias, manipulate users, undermine democracy, and ultimately wreak havoc. Then, we’ll talk about what we as content strategists and user advocates can do about it: how we can uncover assumptions in our work, have difficult conversations with our teams and companies, and use content strategy as a wedge to open the door for a more ethical and inclusive way forward.

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