How We Designed the Pronouns Feature within Lattice

As someone who identifies as nonbinary and uses “they/them” pronouns, it was important to me to have my pronouns visible in Lattice.

Melissa Chenok
Product Manager
Sherri Aminshahidy
Software Engineer

“As a manager, knowing what pronouns people identify themselves with is essential. In my experience, building trust is foundational to any manager-report relationship. It will be tough for me to build trust if I don't consider the core attributes of my teammates’ identities, such as their pronouns.” Joan Roig, Engineering Manager

Lattice is committed to building a more inclusive platform, and gender pronouns play an important role in creating a welcoming community for members of all gender identities.

As someone who identifies as nonbinary and uses “they/them” pronouns, I have been regularly misgendered when being referred to at work. Having my pronouns visible in Lattice helps me put my pronouns front and center while my manager and my coworkers are using the product.. I know that folks will be able to easily see how to refer to me when giving me feedback, writing my review, or updating our joint goals.

  • The "Pronouns" field in Lattice allows users to add their gender pronouns to their Lattice profile and let others know how to refer to them.
  • Users can add pronouns in the pronouns field in both the registration form and in their account settings and edit their pronouns at any time in account settings.
  • Users that choose to add pronouns to this field will have their pronouns displayed next to their name in various places across the site where a colleague may want to refer to them 

For a deeper dive into why pronouns matter for us at Lattice, check out this post on the importance of pronouns in our Lattice Library.

A Grassroots Start

This project started as a hack week project, driven by engineers, product managers, and designers who are passionate about building an inclusive platform. We heard from clients that this was a feature that they would enjoy having. Enabling users to define their own identities is an important part of any product, and pronouns are a critical component of identity

Our hack weeks prioritize team building, personal development opportunities, and exploring new ideas. We don’t emphasize building features with the intention of shipping them. However, this project gained significant excitement across the organization and in early user discovery interviews and showed substantial value to our own employees. Because of that, we added this feature to the roadmap for our product platform team in the subsequent quarter and brought it to production this past October 2021.

Design for Inclusion

When designing the input pattern, we used an autocomplete control for the pronoun entry field to make an accessible way to find your personal pronoun. We took into consideration that we may never be able to have a list of pronouns that covers every single personal pronoun.

People can select pronouns as they register their account or later when they edit their profile. Employees are in full control of their pronouns. Unlike other employee attributes that can only be changed by an admin, pronouns are only editable by the employee.

Why is this different and important? Because it’s not about putting people into boxes, and literally requiring them to “other” themselves. We’re creating an even playing field for every individual to identify, for themselves, who they are.

Creative Engineering

There were two aspects of the implementation: editing pronouns and displaying them across our products. For editing, we built a custom input component that’s used in our account registration form and in profile settings pages.

Selected pronouns are stored as fields like title or date of birth. While our Identity team implemented the data model and user interface for editing pronouns, all product teams at Lattice contributed to surfacing these pronouns across our products.

In order to make the process easier for other teams and make sure pronouns are displayed consistently everywhere, the Identity team built another component to render a list of pronouns. Now all the product teams had to do was to make sure to fetch the pronouns from our GraphQL and pass them to the pronouns component.

Below is an example of what the new pronouns feature looks like in our feedback tool, and these pronouns appear in relevant areas across the site where users would commonly refer to their colleagues. 

We have tens of thousands of users who have already set their pronouns, have received positive feedback from clients, and are even talking about this work in an upcoming inclusive design workshop! If you’re a Lattice user, here’s a how-to guide for adding your pronouns to your profile.

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