Inclusion and Accessibility in the Digital Space

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Inclusive design is one of those things that you know when you see, or perceive when you don’t. Perhaps it is more evident in environmental or industrial design because of the tangibility of these disciplines, which is more about universal design. But when thinking about inclusion and accessibility in the digital space, we need to be equally aware of the purpose, tactics, and importance of incorporating these efforts into your strategy.

The most wonderful thing about practicing an inclusive and accessible design is that the process is expansive rather than restrictive. We should not think of this as fulfilling a list of requirements; rather, it paves the way for truly creative and innovative thinking, where much more is possible.

Designing in an inclusive way does not mean doing something for everyone. You’re designing a variety of ways for everyone to participate in an experience with a sense of belonging. “Microsoft.”

Because inclusive design requires many of the core strengths of digital design, such as user-centric experiences and expression versatility, it is an empowering effort to achieve this. It also depends on an intentional understanding and observation of the richness of global diversity. When considering the needs of an individual, community, region, or digital environment, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to how to better design any digital space for inclusion and accessibility.

Related: 5 tips for creating an innovative UX design

No doubt a company or concept has a general idea of ​​its target audience, but we can recognize that these goals are benchmarks and have a much wider potential. This potential impact guides us in tackling digital design with a number of perspectives and skills in mind. In order to define terms, we can think of two key components:

Inclusion and accessibility

  • Accessible design: Accessibility involves optimizing access to the systems and considerations of people who interact with products in many different ways. In general, accessible design is guided by an effort to customize products for specific audiences, taking into account devices, access to technology and those with visual or hearing impairments, or other physical or cognitive circumstances that affect how they can access, navigate, understand and interpret a digital space.

  • Inclusive design: Inclusive design takes into account the full range of human experiences, including, among others: ability, language, culture, socioeconomics, gender identity, race, age, and other types of differentiators. Inclusion can be thought of as a way to identify and eliminate points of exclusion. Inclusive design strives to achieve a design for all.

What does it look like?

Putting accessibility and inclusion into digital design practices is demonstrated in many ways. There are technical tactics to consider, and it is important to consider inclusion throughout the design process, rather than as an initial consideration or as part of the improvement stages.

It’s not that this is a new trend or consideration, but the tools that can be applied to the user experience and the user interface are increasingly available, and it’s an interesting time to explore strategies that stay in place. ahead of the game and consider the options available to your user. equipment to implement them. With simple add-ons and strategies, designers can easily apply design features accessible to existing sites after the fact, and for new projects, these principles can be planned before launching a website or digital property.

Accessibility is really a matter of personalization. There is something that can benefit everyone. Whether or not you identify as someone who needs accessibility, it can really be about productivity or simplicity, how you use your technology in your daily life. – Apple

Related: Why your website should be accessible to everyone

How is it done?

Inclusive and accessible design can be achieved in several ways:

  • The careful use of icons and micro-interactions that are attractive without depending on the quality of a user’s Internet speed or those that do not interfere with the memory of a device or system, can make a big difference. user.
  • Graphics such as archive images or photographs that express racial and gender diversity, video captions that can help people with hearing impairments, as well as those whose devices may not support effective audio, color contrast, and size / type. legible letter for visually impaired users and gender. Neutral language are all examples of inclusive and accessible design at work.
  • The language that is created with the most prominent points of prioritized information and simple language standards that avoid superfluous words can resonate widely among users, regardless of cognitive ability.
  • Consistent space-wide navigation and branding attributes can enhance a site’s intuitive user interface and create clearer, more impactful communication of brand identity while encouraging web page crawling.
  • User testing, if implemented, should include as diverse an audience as possible, taking into account a personal spectrum. A spectrum of this nature can take into account the senses of touch, feeling, sight and sound, for example, as well as a variety of backgrounds, races and gender identities to understand the quality of reception and the resonance of message.

Why does it make sense?

Make no mistake, we all benefit from an accessible and inclusive design, even if it is not immediately apparent according to our individual abilities or any other human trait with which we identify. At the very least, it improves the reach and impact of a brand or business. But perhaps more than that, it instills a sense of empathy and helps us stay present and aware of the diversity of backgrounds when we experience digital design that puts accessibility and inclusion into practice. This can create a real sense of community and increase organic awareness of how important these efforts really are. If we think of digital space in physical-like terms, we can better understand how necessary and important this approach is.

Related: How Website Accessibility Affects Your Brand’s Reputation and Success

We can increase our expectations of the brands we support and the services we are committed to. As design professionals, we can become responsible and with a higher design standard and philosophy, and as users, we can develop a deeper appreciation of diversity of all kinds.

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