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.
You can watch the full session on the Office for Digital Technologies' Online Accessibility Toolkit webpage
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.