In 2012, when YouTube, a Google subsidiary, created a mobile app that allowed people to upload videos from their phones, it noticed something odd. About 10 percent of the videos being uploaded were upside down. When designers looked into the problem, they found something unexpected: Left-handed people picked up their phones differently from right-handed people, leading to upside-down videos.
The issue here was one of ignorance — the engineers and designers who created the YouTube app were all right-handed, and none had considered that some people may pick up their phones differently. It’s a small example, but a telling one. If Google’s designers couldn’t anticipate the needs of left-handed people with an all-right-handed product team, how could they anticipate the needs of women with a staff composed overwhelmingly of men?