Can software design embrace diversity?

We know that homo sapiens is a distinct species. We are different from each other according to our origins, heritage, culture, language, and experiences. All these aspects are manifested in the way we communicate, interact and perform our functions. Our brains analyze problems and make decisions based on all these factors, and many others.

However, there are among us people with neurodiverse characteristics, who think and process information differently. And for this reason, they end up being underestimated. The unique ability of these people for certain roles is wasted in most companies, where there is a high degree of standardization, and deviations from expected standards are not valued.

Neurodiverse people process information differently than most of us. According to experts, they represent about 40% of the world’s population. Because of their characteristics, they concentrate, almost naturally, on some professions or functions. One of these is sales, in which part of them stand out.

In many companies, however, vendors must use customer relationship management (CRM) software systems in which records, workflows, and analytics are standardized and the user experience is restricted to how the system was configured.

Most neurodiverse people have difficulty with systems that tend to impose a way of working, a rigid pattern that does not include different ways of processing information.

Diversity of thought is what makes a difference in business

Some companies have been creating programs for the inclusion of neurodiverse talents with very positive results. Experiences prove that they are faster at performing certain tasks and with the right direction and conditions are also more productive. These results are encouraging other organizations to include neurodiversity in their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and adjust their selection, training, and even workplace design processes.

This progress is important, but it is necessary to go further and advance in the design of the systems and software used – which may otherwise limit the exercise of these unique capabilities.

It is necessary to design systems that truly consider the user experience of different users, including flexibility as a fundamental principle of design. This begins with the recognition that not all users are exactly the same. Neurodiverse professionals bring different perspectives and strengths to the table and often challenge the status quo. It’s this diversity of thinking that makes a difference in business.