Ulule is a crowdfunding company operating in Europe and North America. It focuses on funding projects with a positive impact. Frequent projects funded on the platform include clothing or self-care brands, music or book releases and charity fundraising. These projects can be of many different sizes, raising from 1000 up to a million euros.
Ulule is often recommended by creators thanks to its coaching team, helping them succeed in funding their projects.
Ulule has always been a company willing to have a positive impact on society. Each project on the platform follows this rule and the company itself pushes values of creativity and equality. But a year ago one of our coworkers realized that the way we did copywriting, in our brand content as well as our product was not following the standards we were aiming to promote. In France there has been an ongoing debate in the last few years around what we call inclusive writing, a way to write in order to promote equality between genders by avoiding using the predominant male grammatical gender as a default. Following this warning by our coworker we decided to switch to inclusive writing at Ulule.
Inclusive writing is a complex issue in France. Many people strongly argue against it and it's often to follow a political agenda. We decided to do things right and start a long research phase to get to know what inclusive writing was exactly and if it was a good thing to do.
We started as a small team of three people. Our research led us to read many documents and guides about inclusive writing from various institutions from all around the French speaking world. Those made us understand that inclusive writing had a real impact on the representation of women or LGBT+ people. We also got to know what the standards around inclusive writing were and which ones we should implement.
After this long research phase, we were able to create our own inclusive writing guide, that would follow the most recent rules but also be tailored to our own need and give hints about how to use inclusive writing in crowdfunding.
This guide was then properly edited in order to be presented to the whole team and shared across our company.
After working on understanding inclusive writing and its rules we worked with management on a test project to implement inclusive writing on Ulule. The scope of this project would be to implement it on the UI of our project page to see how difficult it would be and how well it could work.
We had some challenges regarding how to rewrite content but in the end came up with some alternatives and after some debate we selected and implemented them. For example, we had to find replacement for words such as "Contributeurs", referring to our project backers. Our alternatives ranked from "Contributeur·ices" (contraction of masculine and feminine form) to more general terms like "Soutiens" meaning supports.
Spreading the word
After writing our guide and working on our pilot project, we had to spread the world about inclusive writing at Ulule. To do so, we made an internal presentation to explain why we wanted to switch to inclusive writing, show our guide and explain how it would soon be implemented in our product. We had extremely great feedback from all the teams and could not be more excited.
After this, we were even invited by the UX Montreal community to give a presentation to fellow designers. It was a great moment for us to share this journey and talk about the challenged we faced.
By choosing to opt for inclusive writing, Ulule made a statement that it was a progressive company fighting for equality. We had a lot of debates internally but in the end were able to warm everyone up to the idea of using it. Now, every team uses inclusive writing in internal documents, social media or newsletters as well as in product design. Since then, its use has spread more and more and we have given a new presentation to explain it to new employees. We have had very little negative feedback from our users and even had some very enthusiastic messages of support.