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Language, metaphors, and images play a decisive role in determining research questions and processes. The way in which topics are spoken or written about, what images are transported, and what people are represented can limit or expand perspectives. Here, attention should be paid to the inclusion of gender/diversity. When designing technological systems, it is particularly important to reflect on how reality is perceived and described and what scenarios and examples are chosen.

Reflection questions

  • Do we encourage the specification of pronouns used in written and oral communication?
  • Do we make an effort to learn the correct pronunciation and use of names for all team members and people we are in contact with?
  • What terms, scenarios, representations, visualisations, and images are commonly used in our field of research? Do they mirror a diverse group of people and contexts? Do they reinforce stereotypes? Can we try out new ones and experiment with them?
  • Do we formulate system requirements so they can be understood and verified by various stakeholders?
  • How can we avoid technical language and formulate for audiences without technical expertise?
  • What images and scenarios do we use in tests? Do they address and appeal to all target groups?
  • Will the testers easily understand tasks and scenarios?
  • What images do we use in marketing and public relations?
  • Do we address different target groups in specific ways?
  • How do we present important results from research and development to non-technical experts?