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Talent Spotlight: Award-winning product designer Zilin Zhou champions equal employment opportunity for disabled people with his OurAbility Connect Dashboard


Zilin Zho
Award-winning product designer Zilin Zho

Zilin Zhou, who goes by Jason in his day-to-day, is an award-winning product designer with a commitment to fostering inclusivity through accessible and inclusive design, which he believes can and should be used as a tool for social justice. The former is a design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered; while the latter considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age, and other forms of human difference.


OurAbility Connect Dashboard Designed by Zilin Zho
OurAbility Connect Dashboard Designed by Zilin Zho

Digital design still frequently overlooks the needs of people with disabilities, making it difficult to find and apply for work. So Zhou teamed up with Our Ability Inc. — a company that uses the latest AI technology to create inclusive and accessible employment opportunities for people with disabilities — to reimagine and improve their overall service. The OurAbility Connect Dashboard, as the project came to be called, was realized in two different phases: website redesign and an A.I.-powered dashboard with a chatbot to assist users.


OurAbility Connect Dashboard | Night Mode | Designed by Zilin Zho
OurAbility Connect Dashboard | Night Mode | Designed by Zilin Zho

First, Zhou redesigned the website's information architecture for a more intuitive, cohesive, user-friendly, and accessible experience. This involved developing a robust research plan that encompassed a number of different methodologies, including interviews and surveys, as well as using visualization tools to generate design concepts. Second, he designed a fully functional AI chatbot tailored to support accessible job searching, as per the client's requirements. Zhou also developed a new career connection dashboard that offers advanced accessibility features.


OurAbility Connect DasOurAbility Connect Dashboard Designed by Zilin Zhohboard
OurAbility Connect Dashboard Designed by Zilin Zho

More specifically, the dashboard allows individuals with disabilities to create digital profiles, connect with mentors, engage in social networks, and find employment opportunities tailored to their unique talents and needs. “The OurAbility Connect Dashboard is a testament to my dedication to creating digital experiences that are accessible and inclusive for all users,” explains Zhou. At the heart of the project lies the deep seated belief that inclusive design should empathize with users and go beyond compliance with accessibility standards. 


OurAbility Connect Dashboard  | Night Mode | Designed by Zilin Zho
OurAbility Connect Dashboard | Night Mode | Designed by Zilin Zho

According to the U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS: “The unemployment rate for people with a disability was 7.2 percent in 2023, about twice that of those with no disability (3.5 percent).” Fortunately, companies like Our Ability Inc. are dedicated to reducing the unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities by being mindful of their needs and providing equal access to services by working with product designers like Zilin Zhou, whose design garnered international acclaim, resulting in his recent UX Design Award nomination and win of the iF Design Award 2024.


OurAbility Connect Dashboard in Use
OurAbility Connect Dashboard in Use


Note* All images for the sponsored post were provided by Zilin Zhou

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