What Are Inclusive Website Designs? 6 Ways To Design For Everyone

Introduction

Inclusive design is of an environment indicates that it is user-friendly on all accounts and can be used by everybody irrespective of age, sex or disability. It involves users in the process of design so that they can keep giving feedback as to where the inclusivity may fail.

The top three features of inclusive design are inclusivity, responsiveness and flexibility.

Earlier, this would pertain to open spaces and buildings. But now, it is essential that websites also have inclusive design because the majority of the population, including aged and people with some kind of disability, are using the Internet daily.

It has become so important that Google has included accessibility as one of its SEO factors, and accessibility is already one of the top design trends of the year.

Inclusive design for the digital world means designing all websites, applications, browsers and tools keeping in mind all those who are temporarily or permanently disabled.

Why is inclusive design important?

15% of people across the world are permanently or temporarily disabled. That accounts for over 100 million people.

Businesses cannot afford to keep out such a massive number of visitors from their websites or applications. Many companies have already started making their websites inclusive. Still, if you have not, it is high time you realign your digital assets to present a more user-friendly experience to disabled readers.

Because remember, they have an annual budget of over $ 320 million, so it is a massive market you could tap into, just with more thoughtful design and responsiveness.

A lot of things have to be considered for inclusive design:

  • Aged people not well-versed with technology
  • People using older devices
  • Mobile limitations
  • People with short-term injuries
  • If your website works with assistive devices like screen readers

Ultimately, integrating this change will make sure you have:

  • Better loading time
  • Better SEO
  • An outpouring of love from readers

And believe me, nothing is more flattering than the last point.

Top 5 factors of Inclusive Website Design

  1. Layout guidelines for dyslexic users
  • The website should have a consistent layout with all text accompanied by suggestive diagrams. 
  • The text should not be unnecessarily wordy and if possible, try to add audio inputs for your text. This will be of enormous help to dyslexic people.
  • Avoid blocks of text at once- space it all out with two-line blocks and spaces.
  • Use block letters and underline to emphasize on certain areas.
  • It is better not to assume that the reader has read or will read previous or connected blogs. Explain everything as clearly as possible.
  1. Higher contrast for color-blind and visually impaired people
  • The color contrast is most important- it should not be bright and glaring. 
  • Mix up images, shapes and texts.
  • Make sure the buttons for all actions are right beside where they can see them clearly.
  • It would be better not to put any information in downloads. Put it all on the web page for clear viewing.
  • The content should follow a linear outline.
  1. Optimize code, so the website works on screen readers
  • Follow a linear layout and add tags for images. 
  • If you have audio or video snippets on the page, make sure to offer transcripts.
  • All the text should be laid out using simple HTML 5, and the headings should be descriptive of what content is to come ahead.
  • Instead of saying “Click Here” for anchor text of links, use descriptive phrases to explain exactly what you are redirecting the user to- like “Read more about us”.
  1. Minimum number of clicks for users with motor impairments

Motor impairments are on the rise all over the world. For these people, holding a spoon or clicking on tabs might be a difficult job. And the onus is on the website developer to make sure they have no issue navigating it.

  • Clickable actions should permit a large area, and all clickable elements should be spaced out. 
  • It should be suitable for keyboard or speech only use. Restrict mouse movement as much as possible.
  • Provide shortcuts for actions.
  • Most importantly- make it mobile and touchscreen-friendly, as it is easier for them to navigate these devices.
  1. Design for readers with hearing impairments
  • In clear bold text, provide subtitles and transcripts for all videos, keeping in mind users with vision and hearing impairments.
  • Break up your content into multiple parts, with subheadings and images, to make it more readable.

Relationship between accessibility, usability and inclusion

Three highly overlapping terms, which, when integrated together, can create the best user experience for all readers of a website, irrespective of age and disability.

Accessibility judges if your website is navigable by disabled readers. If they can easily understand and interact with your interface and tools, then your site is highly accessible.

Usability decides if your product has satisfied the customer and is efficient. This is not just concerning people with disability, though often, their experiences are entirely ignored while deciding this.

Inclusion is all about making your website for all, be it people with disability, older technology, age or even financial difficulties.

As you see, these overlap majorly, but all are focused toward presenting all readers with fantastic user experience.

6 Ways to Design for Everyone

Slowly, but surely inclusive website design is becoming a common norm while developing a website. Here we have curated a few things you should take into consideration before you begin the design and development:

Know your target audience

Though of course, this point is the first thing that people mention for all kinds of content creation, it is mandatory while designing your website. 

Get a buyer persona made and study precisely who you are catering to. While A/B testing, take broader groups so that you can ascertain if your website is genuinely inclusive or not.

Consider inclusive design in all stages of development.

Through the whole process- strategy, design, and final production keep re-evaluating your decisions by considering if it is inclusive in nature.

Talk about the contrast, the font size and the keyboard interaction when in the design stage itself, so that the developer is quite clear before he starts his job.

Every customer will benefit from enhanced accessibility.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet said it best- “…we juggle our phones one-handed, we’re distracted or in a rush. We are, quite literally, temporarily vision, motor, hearing, and cognitively impaired on a daily basis.”

And thus, increased accessibility is a boon for all the readers- which explains why bounce rates are significantly low for mobile-friendly sites.

Design your site keeping in mind uncommon uses

Rather than how pretty your site looks or how catchy the words seem, our first thought should be if the disabled person with the assistive technology is enjoying my website.

Sure, you have all swanky features, but how useful is it, if people who can’t see or click with ease are unable to navigate your website?

Thus it is recommended that you move ahead with these first. Make sure your website is truly user-friendly for all and then go work on the common interactions.

Use color with care

It’s true. Colors can definitely enhance our understanding of a subject.

But we’re not taking a range of factors into consideration here.

Like someone with poor vision or someone with a poor display on their devices, if the website is providing information with color hints, they are completely going to miss out on it.

So use a suitable contrast of 4:1 and don’t imply important meanings and derivations with the help of color.

Inclusive user interfaces

Good UI/UX is not pretty UI/UX.

Let that sink in.

Good UI/UX is one that considers all constraints on the part of the reader and provides them with a good experience.

Because hey, reader satisfaction and high dwell time rake in the money, right?

Case Study

The Harvard Digital Library specially employs a team for increasing their accessibility- who make sure going through their digital archives is a piece of cake for anybody who opens the sites, irrespective of their age, disability or device constraints.

They provide transcripts for all audio and video and appropriate image alt tags to convey meaning. This way, nobody loses out on the significance of the images and videos.

Summary

Many websites overlook inclusive web design and what they don’t know is that, by doing this, they are ignoring a significant chunk of the population.

They probably don’t even realize why their bounce rates are so high.

But with this short guide, we hope to educate you on the fact that inclusive design is win-win for all.

It is crucial, and the first thing that you should consider before starting the web development process.

Conclusion

Seattle New Media has been creating easy-to-use websites for a while now because our sole aim is to make sure readers are happy with the interface and with what they read. If you would like more tips on web design or need help with one, hop on a call with us!