Inclusion is the new innovation: Embracing inclusive design

Rachel Garces

Design with a heart with inclusive design and create user experiences that help everyone. Explore our blog about creating a more accessible digital world.

Published on
December 12, 2023

In the constantly shifting sands of user experience (UX) design, there's a buzzword that's not just making rounds but also transforming the field – inclusive design. Or, as some may affectionately dub it, 'design for all'. It's more than a trend; it's a revolution.

What exactly is inclusive design?

Think of inclusive design as the Robin Hood of the digital world – taking from the complexity and giving to the simplicity. It's an ethos that seeks to craft digital products and experiences that are universally user-friendly. We're talking about a design philosophy that embraces diversity in human abilities, aiming to provide equal access and enjoyment for everyone – from your tech-savvy teenager to your grandma who reckons 'hashtags' are a new breakfast item on the menu.

The why: More than just being nice

  • Social and moral imperative: First off, inclusive design is the right thing to do. In a world that's increasingly championing diversity and inclusion, digital platforms should be the forerunners, not the snails. Neglecting inclusivity in design is like saying, "You're not welcome here," and that's just not cool.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: It's not just about ethics; it's the law. Many countries have rolled out accessibility standards and guidelines – ignore them at your risk. The legal stick aside, there's a carrot too – a reputation for inclusivity can be a brand's best friend.
  • Business benefits: Inclusive design is smart business. By catering to a wider audience, you're looking at an expanded customer base. It's like throwing a party and ensuring everyone's invited – more guests, more fun.

Impact on user experience: A game changer

Inclusive design acknowledges that everyone might face temporary impairments – like trying to read a screen with sun-glare or nursing a broken arm. It ensures that these temporary hiccups don’t turn into digital roadblocks. This approach leads to cleaner, more intuitive user interfaces – think of a website that's as easy to navigate as your favourite coffee shop.

Consider this: research from the University of Cambridge shows that products designed with inclusivity in mind often end up being better for all users. It's like installing a ramp alongside stairs – handy for wheelchair users, but also a blessing for someone wheeling a suitcase.

The How: Crafting inclusivity

Incorporating inclusive design isn't a one-off task; it's a journey. Here's the road map:

  • Understand your audience: Kick off with user research. Create personas that represent a wide range of users. It's like planning a dinner menu – you want to make sure there's something for everyone.
  • Prototype and test: Test your designs for accessibility. This isn’t just ticking boxes.
  • Involve real users: Get feedback from people with diverse abilities. It’s like having a focus group for your new Netflix series – you want to know it’ll resonate with your audience.
  • Iterate and improve: Inclusive design is never ‘done’. It’s an ongoing commitment that needs constant care and attention.
  • Foster collaboration: Get designers, developers, and accessibility experts to play nice together as each play a crucial part.

Your move: A call to action

Inclusive design isn't a fleeting fad; it's the future. As designers, developers, and businesses, we have a duty to ensure no one's left out of the digital narrative. Embracing inclusive design means committing to a digital world that’s open and accessible to all – a world where exclusion is a thing of the past.

After all, when we design for everyone, we're not just crafting better digital experiences – we're building a better world.

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