Inclusive design has one simple and guiding principle; ensuring that online products and services are able to be experienced by more people.
But what is inclusive design?
Josh Crawford from Vision Australia described it as a methodology to recognise exclusion as the starting point. He sees it more as a way of practising design as opposed to an outcome.
During an informative presentation we recently attended, Josh detailed 7 ways you can get started with inclusive design, which we have summarised below.
1. Tell the 'why inclusive design' story to those in your organisation who don't know
- Figure out what will grab the interest of the leadership team
- Use tools such as case studies, expanding the marketing and customer feedback
- Plan lunch and learn sessions and create online channels for discussion
2. Broaden your team's awareness of disabilities and assistive technologies
- Organise people with disabilities to come in and speak to your team
- Learn about the different ways your customers/clients interact with your services and products
- Share videos of the various assistive technologies within your team
3. Equip team members with the tools and processes
- Define who is responsible for what
- Define where accessibility fits into your workflow
- Identify the tools your team can use
- Provide resources for team members to go for information eg. videos on the intranet or a FAQ page
4. Be inclusive from the beginning
- Include people with disabilities in your research including interview and usability testing
- Get regular feedback from people with disabilities
- Share the findings widely using a variety of modes including internal blog posts and videos
5. Employ people with disabilities
- Not just for testing, employ them in your team
- They'll be there to advocate, they'll be there to educate, and they can offer different perspectives that you may not have heard before
6. Communicate the story
- What were the outcomes? What were the great ideas that ended up being built into the solution? Share these internally to get the team onboard
- Do it externally if it's a really big win
7. Learn, be curious and practice
- Learn how to learn
- Become a design generalist
- Learn from other design disciplines
- Develop your observation skills
- Work on your listening skills
- Put it into practice
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes
Using these 7 tips, you'll be well on your way to ensuring that you are being inclusive in your design for everything from websites, surveys and engagement events.