“Inclusive Design is a design practice where products and services are designed in a way that they are accessible and can serve as many people as possible, regardless of their age, gender, or ability.” –Canvs Editorial. It seems like a no-brainer, but might prove harder than most realize. Making sure every page is clean, concise, and adaptive can be a painstaking process. Videos need subtitles. Images need captions and alt text. Certain color pairings or fonts can be hard on the eyes. It’s not just about making your product the most modern, cool or pretty. So, why should you take the extra time and steps to make sure your product is inclusive? Simple. It’s good for business and here’s why:
Inclusion Drives Innovation
When teams are viewing problems with an inclusive lens and diverse backgrounds, teams are far more likely to develop lasting and innovative products or services. “New research from McKinsey and Company quantifies the indisputable value of design to business – companies with top-quartile scores on the McKinsey Design Index outperformed industry benchmark growth two to one, regardless of sector.” -Olga Stella, Meeting of the Minds
User Experience Improves
If you can give different ways to access a product or experience, your users will thank you. Not everyone uses a product the same way and all have different preferences, so this allows users easier and quicker ways to use your product or service. This is what designers at IBM Design discovered: “Using filters that simulated various visual disabilities, designers were able to quickly test designs for contrast, type scale and visual clarity.”
Expands Your Audience
If you can design for more than one person or audience, then that will automatically expand your pool of users. By adding subtitles or alt text to images, you can let those with hearing or vision impairments use your product too. “In 2015, there were an estimated 253 million people with visual impairment worldwide.” –International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
That’s an audience of millions right there. The ways you design access to your product or service, the more your audience increases.
When you can design for more people with different experiences, you can “future-proof” your products or services. Technology gets updated yearly, monthly, and even daily. To combat these constant changes, plan for all scenarios. Always make sure that your product, service, website, app, etc. is easy to read (by humans and screen-readers alike), easy to navigate, and easy to understand. This way, you can eliminate future problems with updates or losing an audience when something inevitably breaks.
Last, but not least:
People Are Diverse
Your product/brand/app/website design should reflect that. A no-brainer.