In July 2020, during the racial reckoning that followed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, Uber made a commitment to being an anti-racist company.
Uber acknowledged how the inequities we see in the world have been intentionally designed and began to think deeply about when we do not intentionally design products, experiences, and services that address the needs of all communities, we are potentially limiting safe, dignified, and equitable access to a world in motion.
We’re making several long-term commitments to drive this work forward:
- Ridding our platform of racism
- Fighting racism with technology
- Sustaining equity and belonging for all
- Driving equity in the community
As part of the commitment to fight racism with technology, Uber put together its very first Product Equity team to design and build products that prioritize communities that are often overlooked, ignored, and neglected.
At Uber, product equity ensures that our platform meets the needs of users based on their lived experience with oppression. Product equity acknowledges the historic, institutional, and interpersonal harm that systemically excluded customers face, and aims to mitigate this harm to create equitable outcomes for all.
Our vision is to weave equity into the way the world moves, and our mission is to foster a culture of building equitable experiences by enabling teams to prioritize the perspectives of historically and systemically excluded communities.
Our Product Equity Principles
Recognize how your identity informs your perspective
Product Equity involves identity work. Identity plays an important role in our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Unpacking identity before delving into any design and product process helps teams move away from practices that may harm communities.
Shift unequal power dynamics
Product Equity involves designing with, not designing for. In order to design with, we must ensure that those with direct lived experience are authentically represented, centered, and involved in the design process.
Prioritize your impact over your intentions
Product Equity involves examining impact. When a design has done harm to communities, our initial reaction can often be to center our good intentions over the negative impact the design created. It is our responsibility as designers to consider the consequences of our designs.
Making progress on our mission
We’re making progress on our mission by focusing on systems change, equity evaluations, and product launches.
Shift how we build our platform and the systems that support us in the journey toward equitable experiences.
This has come to life in our Product Equity guidelines and tooling. We’ve established guidelines that enable teams to consider equity at every stage of the design process. Some of these guidelines have been used to create tools in Figma that enable designers and developers to know if their work is inclusive and accessible.
Shift from being reactive to proactively finding and mitigating equity issues on our platform.
We’ve established a review process that enables Product Managers to consider the needs of systemically excluded users in the products they are working on. For these reviews, product managers submit their Product Requirements Document, which defines the requirements of a particular product, such as the product’s purpose, features, and functionality. After they submit it, they are prompted to fill out an equity intake form. If we discover any risks, we work with them to think about how to make their product more equitable.
Focused work on a specific experience or product area, whether leading, collaborating or supporting.
We actively work on specific experiences related to equity and inclusion as well as collaborate and consult with product teams across the company. We’ve also established weekly office hours where teams can sign up to showcase work, and ask us for UX, research, and content advice about how to make their projects, products, or features more equitable for the communities we serve.
Today, our team is working on product changes to make the Uber platform more equitable. We are growing quickly and hiring engineers to increase our capacity. If you’re interested in joining us, check out open roles on our team:
If you’re interested in learning more about the team, you can reach out to our founding members:
- Zach Singleton, Equity Product Lead
- Erica Ellis, Equity Design Lead
- Anurag Agarwalla, Equity Engineering Lead
- Rafael “El” Moises, Product Designer
- Paola Mouro, UX Researcher
- Jacquelyn Iyamah, Content Designer
- Tafarii Mckenzie, Product Manager