Although ensuring your digital offering is accessible might seem like a chore or something that could restrict your creativity, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Put simply, designing accessibly and inclusively is just the right thing to do.
Inclusive design doesn’t just benefit those with disabilities. It benefits everyone, and a more human-centred approach to your designs will guarantee a better user experience.
What is inclusive design? 🤔
Inclusive design aims to provide the best user experience for all, regardless of age, disability, or background. It’s about creating for a diverse range of users, addressing any barriers, and giving everyone equal opportunity to engage with your products or services.
Ultimately, it is based on the one simple principle: that designing for everyone will benefit everyone.
Over 1 billion people worldwide live with some form of disability, and 14.6 million people in the UK alone. That’s 22% of our total population!
If you’re not designing inclusively and accessibly, you miss out on a massive proportion of potential audience (and therefore, potential revenue), as well as make it much more challenging to gain trust and retention.
Let’s imagine 20% of your users have a disability that makes it hard to navigate the web. If they come onto your site and cannot use it because they can’t read the small text, or their screen reader doesn’t register the information correctly, there is no reason for them to stay.
They will have no choice but to go somewhere else – i.e., your competitors.
Businesses that go further than just meeting accessibility guidelines stand out the most in terms of brand and reputation.
It’s About Trust
If a business can’t be bothered to build a functional website, why should the consumer trust them?
Businesses garner trust when they can demonstrate their values from the get-go. If someone comes on to your site and thinks, “this organisation doesn’t support me” or “this organisation isn’t made for people like me”, it’ll be very hard for you to say, “look, I fixed it for you!” and guarantee they come back.
It’s much harder to regain people’s trust after breaking it.
Having easy-to-understand, inclusive digital services gives people the confidence they need to become loyal customers.
Adopting an inclusive mindset 🧠
Inclusive design is a process that involves considering all the various ways folks use your digital services. The key is cutting out unnecessary barriers (don’t make these mistakes!) that make it virtually impossible to engage.
As mentioned earlier, inclusive design isn’t just for those with a disability or impairment. How often do you make the text on your phone bigger so it’s more legible, or put captions on your Netflix show when you’ve forgotten your headphones?
Ensure your design team knows the signs to stop exclusion early before it has chance to spread.
Inclusive design is good for business 💰
Prioritising inclusive design can place your brand as a leader in innovation and strengthen your brand’s perception. Look at brands like Apple and Microsoft – these tech giants put inclusive design and accessibility at the forefront of all they do and are understandably considered leaders of the tech space.
Take a look at Nike’s FlyEase, allowing people to enjoy sport no matter their ability with technology. Another amazing example is Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Tommy Adaptive’, based on workshops and research that makes getting dressed easy for everyone, without compromising on style.
Trusted brands who work to represent all users spark conversations and increase customer satisfaction. This can lead to word of mouth, more traffic, and positive feedback about your organisation. All of this has the potential to lead to more customers and better retention of loyal customers long-term.