“Designs shapes our ability to access, participate in, and contribute to the world” Kat Holmes
Inclusive design is a design philosophy that embraces how diverse people are and helps us create products that serve as many people as possible. As we design for so many different people, we must make sure our designs are accessible and remove obstacles. We should always open an invitation for the community to know and to respect differences in physical abilities, regardless of gender, race, language, and ways to live.
Good research and development mean that you take into account the people and their needs when using your product. We should be mindful of all the improvement opportunities we gain when we take diversity seriously. It is important to create diverse ways for people to participate in an experience.
A Quick Guide to Inclusive Design
The inclusive Design Guide is a freely available resource that provides inclusive tools and techniques in flexible ways. How to put the insights of inclusive design into action? This guide shares a variety of practices that can help us walk towards a more inclusive way of working! I wanted to share some of them that I found awesome:
When designing, it is important to work together toward a shared goal. This is one of the keys to an inclusive design process! More diverse perspectives add more value to your process. Try pairing up with a co-worker to sketch while you exchange your ideas on other disciplines with your team or organization. It’s always helpful to keep track of these meeting notes to generate new ideas!
When presenting, include accompanying text descriptions to allow a broader audience to access your content. Also, make sure your content is well organized, so it makes sense for new participants to be added to the conversation.
Design for Flexibility:
When creating products, make sure it provides a channel for user feedback to make improvements based on specific user requests. This way, the design becomes a living, changeable system that sustains and nurtures future needs.
Design for Uncertainty
Unexpected uses of the design can give the user ways to extend, remix or repurpose the final product! You might want to brainstorm using case scenarios different from the basic ones as much as possible.
Focus on functional needs
When designing for users with disabilities, sometimes, we tend to focus on their limitations rather than their functional needs when completing a task. Do not do it! Write realistic use cases based on real people and situations when creating user personas. An inclusive design approach will perceive disability as a mismatch and would re-assign the responsibility to the design to correct it.
Integrate accessibility from the Start
Incorporating accessibility from the beginning of a website development or redesign process is always easier, less expensive, and more effective than making accessibility improvements to an existing site later as a separate endeavor.
Allow users to become active participants in the design process by facilitating their direct input into the creation of solutions that meet their needs.
The earlier and more user feedback is gathered and added to the design process, the better. Just remember that UX walkthroughs and usability testing can be done with rough prototypes or sketches! You do not have to spend enormous amounts of time or money to test your early designs.
Finally, be open. Transparency makes diverse participation possible. This is an important aspect of inclusive design, as it drives greater access to collective knowledge. Learn from different perspectives to make a virtuous cycle of inclusion. Present your work to large groups of contributors to gather feedback.
Inclusion as an innovation engine
Please remember that innovation is about people. The more diverse teams are along many dimensions like culture, gender, educational background, the more likely they are to draw inspiration from unrelated places. When it comes to deciding ideas to test, diverse and inclusive teams are far better than homogenous ones!