Sexual orientation describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person (Brabaw, 2019). Addressing a person’s sexual orientation is not relevant to every design project. However, for some projects, sexual orientation can represent a crucial aspect of a person’s identity that should not be ignored. For example, designing Valentine’s Day cards or creating financial planning services for same-sex couples highlight when sexual orientation is an essential aspect of experience design.
In different cultures and at different times, society has prescribed norms that have defined “acceptable” emotional attractions between people. These norms have created challenges for people who were not attracted to the “correct” people. People have been isolated and even killed because of their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation does not always align a person’s assigned sex or gender identity.