Creating Accessibility and Knowledge Sharing with Design Thinking

Listening to a phone call. Typing a web chat. Navigating a company website.

Imagine if one or more of these interactions were difficult for you — the colors blurred, the text unreadable or the voice inaudible. How would that affect your experience?

These challenges are more common for consumers than you might think.

Over 1 billion people — about 15% of the world’s population — live with some form of disability, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes it difficult for someone to perform certain activities and interact with the world around them. This condition can be permanent, temporary or situational. And almost everyone will experience some form of disability at some point in their life. For example, you might suffer short-term hearing loss after attending a loud concert. Or you might have difficulty typing on a keyboard because your arm is in a cast.

But here’s the thing: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people with disabilities in disproportionate ways because of risk of infection, barriers in accessing healthcare and disruptions in support services, according to the WHO. It’s more important than ever before to create experiences that are accessible to everyone.

Addressing accessibility can enhance your brand, minimize your risk and extend your market reach — the global spending power of people with disabilities is over $6 trillion.

However, accessibility is often overlooked when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention. To share guidance on how to make accessibility a priority, let’s explore the subject and how you can incorporate it into your process with design thinking.

Design Thinking Is a People-Centric Approach

Accessibility involves designing products, services or environments so people with disabilities can easily use them. Keep in mind there are many different types of disabilities that can affect a person’s vision, movement, thinking, memory, learning, communicating, hearing, mental health or social relationships.

You can greatly improve accessibility with design thinking, a type of creative problem solving that keeps the user at the center of everything. Before its advent, most businesses would simply come up with a solution and hope consumers liked the result — failing to see the product or service through the customers’ eyes.

Now leading companies use design thinking to put the customer first, with a five-step methodology that enables continuous feedback loops: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.

  1. Empathize: Develop a deep understanding of your customers with research, interviews and listening technologies. “Listening” can be complex because it involves both capturing what people tell you, but also understanding how they connect with your channels and how they feel about it. Ideally, listening uses advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover issues and opportunities to help people feel heard and understood.
  2. Define: Brainstorm to define the true problem you want to solve. Frame the problem from your user’s perspective and develop a point of view for the unique way you’ll be able to solve that problem.
  3. Ideate: Generate a wide variety of possible solutions to the problem you’ve defined. Keep an open mind at this stage and unleash your creativity. You can use anything from mind mapping software to Post-It notes to visualize and categorize your ideas.
  4. Prototype: Create simple prototypes of different ideas to explore what might work and fail fast. When a prototype “fails,” use your learnings to develop a better solution.
  5. Test: Have users test your prototypes. Observe how people interact with them and where your designs fall short. Iterate your design and don’t be afraid to start over.

At Genesys, we use this process consistently in our continuous innovation and user experience. For example, we recently leveraged design thinking as we revamped our knowledge hub.

Creating a Centralized Genesys Knowledge Hub

The Genesys Knowledge Network is a comprehensive online resource where our employees, partners and customers can:

  •     Learn about Genesys products
  •     Share new ideas
  •     Engage in training courses and earn certifications
  •     Participate in community discussions
  •     Access knowledge resources like webinars and product release notes
  •     Get involved and become an advocate or join a sponsor user program

In 2018, a Genesys team listed websites used to support all of the company’s products — and realized there were dozens. They created the original version of the Genesys Knowledge Network (GKN) to centralize this information and make it easier for people to learn more about our products, ask questions and find everything they needed in one place.

While the Knowledge Network consolidated a vast amount of information, it became apparent the network needed an overhaul — and that it wasn’t accessible to everyone.

“Accessibility was considered from the beginning, is a primary design principle and remains a priority rather than an afterthought,” said Clay Tison, Senior Director of Customer Success Digital Transformation at Genesys. “Auditing our site and chipping away at accessibility improvements has evolved into a passion project for the team.”

Reimagining the Knowledge Network via the Design Thinking Process

Tison’s team followed a design thinking approach to reimagine the Genesys Knowledge Network. This team included internal facilitators, like a user experience researcher and software engineers, as well as testers that included customers, product owners and onboarding specialists.

The team created a design system to enhance accessibility. They performed a variety of usability tests and tested the site across different internet browsers and devices. And then the team performed continuous code reviews to identify accessibility and semantic issues.

“Thorough user interviews and extensive testing are used to vet and drive the GKN navigation, design and interaction direction,” said Tison.

Here’s what the project looked like through the five design thinking stages.


  •     User research and interviews
  •     Define the problem
  •     Create personas
  •     Set accessibility standards


  •     Cross-functional design thinking discovery sprint workshop
  •     Usability studies
  •     Navigation tree testing


  •     Wireframes
  •     Low-fidelity prototype


  •     High-fidelity prototype
  •     Design system creation


  •     Six usability tests interspersed throughout the cycle
  •     Browser testing
  •     Device testing

Benefits of Knowledge Sharing and Human-Centered Design

You can experience the results of this revamped knowledge network.

Our objective was to give the new Genesys Knowledge Network a clean look and feel. We strived to make it more intuitive — easier to access, consume and navigate. We made it responsive to different devices and enhanced the search functionality. And we made it personalized so that it surfaces relevant information according to your status as an employee, partner or customer.

With the new GKN, you can get the latest information on:

Products: Develop a deeper understanding of Genesys solutions.

Support: Find easy answers to your questions and access to product experts.

Training: Learn more and earn professional cloud certifications.

Resources: Explore helpful tips and tools, onboarding information, and more.

Community: Discuss the latest developments and ascend the leaderboard.

Collaboration: Share ideas, collaborate, write a review and more.

Click here to explore the new site.