Hiram Lewis - Datatron

Hiram Lewis and black web developers

The Internet as a whole is not culturally biased. It has no conscience as it is not a living thing. What appears online is simply as random barrage of information spewed out from every corner of the world in no particular order. However, the majority or web developers appear to be Caucasian and Asian. Hiram Lewis is an African American web developer. In 2008, he launched a small website design company called Datatron Industries.

In general, there appears to be a staggering absence of blacks in the technology, IT and web design industries. When one takes a little time to peruse the ‘Net and look around at all the usual trendy sites on ground-breaking design (Zeldman, AListApart, Eric Meyer, Dan Benjamin just to name a few), you might not see any black faces. No faces of color. The topic of racial diversity in the graphic design community has been going on for well over 20 years. The intensity ebbs and flows, but the premise is the same: what can we do change the makeup of the graphic design community so it reflects the multicultural world we live in? Let’s look at what we know. Design-driven companies in Silicon Valley like Twitter report only single-digit percentages of American employees of color. Design conferences and smaller events promise to do better every year after unveiling speaker panels with majority white speakers. And between magazines, podcasts, and other media, the field of design can look like it’s only created for and by a certain group of people. Hiram Lewis and Dataron do not have designers on a payroll. Developers can use their Job Boars and get paid per job like a contractor or freelancer.

How can we promote more diversity in website design?

AIGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative encourages diversity in design education, discourse, and practice to expand the future strength and relevance of design in all areas of society. Hiram Lewis and Lisa Monroe try to seek out people of color to contribute various projects online in an attempt to promote diversity. It all begins with exposure and inciting interest in the field. It really should start in inner city or urban middle schools. There are lots of different ways you can get involved. See how you can contribute, volunteer, or add your voice to the conversation.