Designing Inclusive Content for the Digital World

What is Inclusivity?

Inclusivity considers and enlists a greater understanding of diversity for informing decision-making to include as many people as possible. Digital spaces have highlighted the necessity for inclusivity and the struggles of traditionally marginalized, oppressed, and discriminated groups. Inclusivity includes a range of concerns such as accessibility for the disabled, technology, socioeconomic status, education, geographic location, generation, languages, and cultures. When in action, inclusivity produces a conducive and welcoming environment for all. The promotion of inclusivity is required in all facets of our lives including design.

What is Inclusivity

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design focuses on enhancing the user experience to reach larger, more diverse audiences. The inclusive approach to designing content, not just the outcomes allows Designers to remove inherent biases. Inclusive design recognizes aging populations, future design elements, the risks of bad design, and the principles of good design.

Three (3) Dimensions of Inclusive Design

Recognize, respect, & design with variability

  • Self awareness
  • One-size fits many
  • Adaptive design

Broader beneficial impact

  • Acknowledge interconnectedness of users & systems
  • Continuous cycles of inclusion
  • Impact beyond intended audience

Inclusive and transparent processes and tools

  • Diverse perspectives & participation
  • Accessible development & design tools

Universal vs. Accessible vs Inclusive Design

Although, the terms are often used interchangeably there are significant distinctions between universal, accessible, and inclusive design.

Universal: A design that works for everyone in all scenarios with every contingency considered.

Accessibility: An attributable quality that makes an experience open to all.

Inclusive: Human-centered approach that embraces diversity.

Principles of Universal Design

Universal design has seven (7) principles that create results for all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialized design or adaptation.

These principles are as follows:

1. Equitable Use

Design is marketable and useful to those with diverse abilities.

2. Flexibility in Use

Wide-range of individual preferences and abilities.

3. Simple & Intuitive

Easy to understand, regardless of user experience, knowledge, skill, or education.

4. Perceptible Information

Communicates information necessary for users to act regardless of ambient conditions or sensory abilities.

5. Tolerance for Error

Hazards and adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions are minimized.

6. Low Physical Effort

Efficient and comfortable use with minimal fatigue or strain.

7. Size & Space for Approach & Use

Appropriate size, manipulation, reach, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

Where Accessible & Inclusive Design Align

  • Lowers barriers
  • Usable by greatest number
  • Recognition disability happens at the point of interaction
  • Learning from the way people adapt to technology based on contextual abilities
Accessible vs. Inclusive
Accessible Inclusive
Outcome-based qualities or attributes Process-based methodologies
Products usable by disabled persons Products user-friendly for greatest number of people
Assesses “typical” customers/clients
vs. disable customers/clients
Asserts there is no “typical” customer/client
Guidance from established laws and standards to address Seeks cases of exclusion to address
Physical and cognitive focus Exclusion for any reason and connections between people
Common disabilities Exclusion that can occur with anyone depending on context

Learn the fundamental concepts, strategies, and data-driven skills to produce designs that are inclusive, accessible, and universal at Digital Workshop Center. To learn more about our certificate programs, set up a time to speak with a Student Advisor and discover how we help you strengthen your skills.

Interested in learning more?