Championing DEI in EdTech Design: Megumi Hiramoto’s Fight for Visual Representation and Inclusivity

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In today’s world, technology has revolutionized how we learn and educate ourselves. EdTech, or educational technology, is the use of technology to improve learning outcomes and provide a more interactive and engaging educational experience. As with all things, there are certain challenges that come with EdTech, some of which are visual representation and inclusivity. This is where Megumi Hiramoto steps in, a designer who is dedicated to championing DEI in EdTech design.

Megumi is a designer who specializes in creating products that are accessible and inclusive to everyone. With her knowledge and skills in web and PDF/document accessibility, she is championing the fight for visual representation and inclusivity. She also produces simple designs with her technical skills and brand/design guidelines.

Creating accessible documents is like programming, which many people don’t know.

When it comes to accessible PDFs, designers must be creative when producing their designs so the final document is available for everyone and can be properly processed by assistive technologies. A designer must have many technical skills in design software, almost like programming or engineering. Megumi believes that design should always be either meaningful in some way or practical. Especially working in EdTech, understanding the purpose of design and practicality is as essential as creating a striking design in a society where people are highly stimulated by visuals.

Megumi is an advocate of DEI in design in education. As she builds a product for social studies, not just including history that isn’t really taught but also including a visual representation of people who have been historically excluded is something she is passionate about. However, it can be hard when these products are sold to school districts with conservative academic standards and politics. Megumi believes that everyone, regardless of race, gender, or ability, should be represented in EdTech products and that it is the designers’ responsibility to ensure that happens.

Being born and raised in Japan and going to school in the middle of Tokyo for more than seven years, design has constantly surrounded Megumi, and her passion for design and accessibility stems from this. The use of Tokyo’s signage, way-finding graphic design, and user experience in design naturally made her keen to create efficient, practical designs that are still beautiful. Her practical approach and reasoning behind her designs are based on where she’s from and what she observed.

Megumi completed an internship at ELLE magazine (Japan) in college and then worked part-time in the Japanese Harper’s BAZAAR editorial team. These experiences stimulated her interest in design, especially commercial and marketing design. Born to doctor and pharmacist parents, with a younger sister who just became a doctor, Megumi once wanted to follow a path in medicine or do something to help people. Instead, she became a designer while always finding a way to be helpful and meaningful to people. As she continues to lead her design team and advocate for accessibility in design, Megumi is a shining example of what it means to be a designer with empathy.

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