With our growing dependence on technology, from online shopping to communication and entertainment, designing digital products with inclusivity in mind has become a crucial consideration. The use of inclusive design principles not only benefits people with disabilities but also enhances the experience for all users.
By prioritising accessibility and ease of use in our interfaces, we can ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully enjoy and benefit from digital products.
In this article, let’s delve deeper into the inclusive design principles and explore how they can be implemented to create inclusive and accessible digital products for everyone.
The first principle of inclusive design is to provide a comparable experience for all users, regardless of their abilities. This means ensuring that the user experience is consistent and that all users can complete tasks in their own way without compromising the quality of the content.
To achieve a comparable experience, designers must take into consideration different user needs and preferences. For instance, some users may require screen readers or assistive technologies to access the content, while others may have a visual or hearing impairment that requires specific adjustments to the interface.
To tackle this, a good example is by providing synchronised closed captions in videos. This feature can make the video more accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those who prefer to watch videos with captions for clarity or convenience
Inclusive design is not just about making digital products accessible to everyone, but also about ensuring that they can be used in a variety of situations. This is where the principle of considering the situation comes in.
People use interfaces in various settings, from bright sunlight to noisy environments, so it's vital to consider their circumstances and the potential barriers that may arise.
One example of how to consider the situation is by using good colour contrast outdoors. Bright sunshine can wash out colours and make text difficult to read, but using high contrast colours can help mitigate the impact.
The principle of giving control is about empowering users to access and interact with content in a way that suits their preferences.
Here is an example. Providing playback controls for animations and parallax scrolling is essential for users who may experience motion sickness or have sensory issues. By allowing users to stop or pause animations, you can help them avoid nausea and distractions, ensuring a more comfortable experience.
It's important to note that giving control doesn't mean overwhelming users with too many options. Instead, consider providing a reasonable amount of customization that is easy to understand and use.
Providing a range of options allows users to choose what works best for them, improving their experience with your product.
For example, providing a grid or list layout option supports people who prefer larger images or smaller rows. Another example is providing different font sizes or typefaces to accommodate people with varying visual needs.
Consistency is key! Using consistent design patterns throughout your interface can help build familiarity and understanding.
Consistency not only helps users navigate your interface more easily, but it also helps establish trust and credibility. When users can predict what will happen when they interact with different elements of your interface, they feel more confident using it.
Help users focus on what's important by prioritising core tasks, features, and information. Keep things organised and free of distractions so users can easily find what they need.
One way to prioritise content is by progressively revealing features and content when needed. This technique keeps the interface focused on the task at hand and prevents users from getting overwhelmed by too much information at once.
For instance, if you're designing an app with advanced features, you could hide these features behind an optional advanced settings menu that users can choose to access when they're ready.
Every feature in an interface should serve a clear purpose and improve the overall experience for the user.
A great example of this is adding a "Show password" button to input fields. This feature not only ensures that users can verify they have correctly inputted text but also helps them avoid mistakes or frustration.
Another example is providing a "Save for later" option on e-commerce sites, which adds value by allowing users to save items for later consideration and streamlining the purchase process.
By following the principles of inclusive design, hopefully we can create digital products that are more accessible, user-friendly, and offer a great experience for all users. Let's design products that are inclusive and welcoming to all!