Inclusive design and user experience
The digital world allows us to imagine and build ourselves as an inclusive, diverse and fair society. And this is thanks( in large part) to the inclusive and accessible design, or IUX (Inclusive User Experience).
The target of accessible and inclusive design not only involves people with functional diversity but affects (and benefits) all of us. Adapting the font size of an app or giving the possibility of reading the subtitles in a video because we are in a library and we forgot to take the headphones, are just some examples.
What is inclusive and accessible design?
When designing a digital product, we must understand the people who will interact with and use our products and services. This implies taking into account a series of particular characteristics that condition the way we perceive the world and interact with the technology.
In that sense, we can understand that in the world there is an extremely wide range of diverse capabilities (cognitive, physical, neurological, economic, social…) that imply many different ways of interacting with the products we design.
“The target of accessible and inclusive design not only involves people with functional diversity but affects (and benefits) all of us.”
Accessibility should not be confused with usability
Both are part of UX design but have their differences. While usability addresses how to design to make a product easy to use, allowing users to accomplish their tasks or solve their problems quickly, accessibility understands whether all users can use the product or service equally.
Benefits of inclusive design
Inclusive design in the field of digital products is not only beneficial for the users but also for the product itself and the companies. The following are some examples in these three areas.
For the user
Taking into account the particularities of individuals helps to a greater sense of belonging and greater autonomy thanks to technology. On the road to democratization and accessibility of digital products, individuals should be able to customize their experiences in the way that best suits their preferences and needs (color, sounds, volume, sizes, etc.).
Accessibility also gives autonomy to your users, decongesting other processes. All this will improve their day-to-day experience and make the product successful.
For the product
From an ethical and professional point of view, you are designing a more worthy future for all people. Moreover, when it is designed taking into account possible cognitive difficulties, for example, it is not only improving the experience of those people but of all other users, since now the use will probably be easier and more pleasant.
In addition, since the code is designed to display correctly in different formats, it is also ready to be read by new and service delivery technologies. Moreover, it reduces the load on the servers.
All this will help the product to expand to more people, and will also help the business community to assume a position of social responsibility.
For the business
A company that accesses a wider audience with its digital products is more likely to increase sales. A WHO report showed that 15% of the world’s population would be excluded from a product or service that does not take accessibility into account in its design. For example, a site that uses a screen reader will increase the audience for your business.
On the other hand, it can be at the basis of a marketing strategy in distribution channels, as it improves search engine rankings. SEO finds technologies like screen readers with ease and gives advantages to sites that use them. Users find value in your product or service, the site has more visits, lower bounce rate and more conversions.
In addition, a digital product designed from the beginning with accessibility in mind ensures the quality of the product by identifying beforehand the changes to be made and the measures to be taken in order not to exclude, avoiding losses and corrections of great impact in the future.
In terms of legal matters, the United States and Europe must comply with accessibility regulations in order to operate. Some companies such as Iberia, Domino’s Pizza and Endesa have been fined for not complying with such measures. Apple received in 2018 the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award for developing its products 100% accessible to people with disabilities.
When we implement IUX, we create a beneficial chain reaction: better experiences, increased user loyalty, greater prestige and brand image, higher conversion, higher sales and opening up to the international market.
Diversity translates into design opportunities. There is still much to be developed for all people in the field of technology. Designing with a minority in mind can implicitly embrace the vast majority.