Inclusive design is good for business. I lay out the reasons why in my latest report, “The Inclusive Design Imperative: Win And Retain More Customers,” and explain how you can establish the foundation for it to take hold. Once you raise awareness of inclusive design and spark the desire in employees to do better, it’s important to arm them with the tools to turn desire into action. To this end, I outline how to modernize your design practice for inclusion by incorporating new people, processes, and tools.
The great news? Many of the tips I uncovered in my research are things you can put into practice starting now — no new budget required. For example:
Ask new questions in your design critiques. Challenge your designers (and yourself!) to spot and stop exclusion early. Next time you hold a design critique, ask questions such as: “Will a non-native English speaker understand that phrase?” “Have you checked the color contrast of that text and background combination?” “What will this design sound like when ‘read’ by a screen reader?”
Include multiple perspectives in the design process. A key principle of inclusive design is “learn from diversity”: It’s about not just designing for or accommodating marginalized segments like people with disabilities and aging adults — it’s about designing with them. This means evolving the composition of your design team so that it reflects your customer base’s diversity. But before achieving that goal, you can start by simply expanding who you include in customer research. Next time you run a usability study, for example, make it a point to recruit customers who vary in age, gender, background, ethnicity, ability, etc. to participate.
Annotate wireframes with inclusive design considerations. Next time you hand off designs to your development team, annotate them with guidance on elements such as what the heading structure should be, the order in which UI elements should be read by a screen reader, and where focus should move when the user takes an action. Don’t leave your developers guessing.
That’s just a sampling — want to learn more? You can read the full report, “The Inclusive Design Imperative: Win And Retain More Customers,” schedule an inquiry with me, and/or attend my webinar in a few weeks: Modernize Your Design Organization For Scale And Inclusion. You might also be interested in my blog post about an event I recently attended that touched on these issues: Accessible Pizza And Other Highlights from CSUN 2019.