Design justice asks whether the affordances of a designed object or system disproportionally reduce opportunities for already oppressed groups of people while enhancing the life opportunities of dominant groups, independently of whether designers intend this outcome.
Is it always (or ever) possible to reduce cognitive load for all users simultaneously? Perhaps not. Instead, designers constantly make choices about which users to privilege and which will have to do more work. UI decisions distribute higher and lower cognitive loads among different kinds of people. The point is not that it’s wrong to privilege some users over others; the point is that these decisions need to be made explicit.
An object’s affordances are never equally perceptible to all, and never equally available to all; a given affordance is always more perceptible, more available, or both, to some kinds of people. Design justice brings this insight to the fore and calls for designers’ ongoing attention to the ways these differences are shaped by the matrix of domination.