I think we’ve all encountered a poor website design before. Sometimes the directions on the site are unclear or the font is hard to read. And we have all experienced an interface that could have been better and more inclusive to different types of people. A simple choice like font can make a site harder to read for dyslexic people. Having captions for embedded videos is a must in today's age. When designing things for the user experience, inclusivity comes first.
Inclusive design is a fundamental concept in the world of user experience (UX) and web development. It revolves around the idea of creating digital experiences that cater to everyone, including individuals with permanent, temporary, situational, or changing disabilities. Inclusive design principles are not just for designers or developers; they are for all stakeholders involved in the creation of websites and applications.
In this blog post, we will explore the core principles of inclusive design and why they are essential for a better user experience.
Not being inclusive can cause several different communities to feel neglected and left out of the UX experience. Some of those communities include but are not limited to:
It’s important to remember if you use videos on your site to provide a transcript of live captions so that people who have a hearing impairment can still enjoy the content on your site.
When selecting a color plate be aware of the colors that are harder for blind people to see and try to avoid using them especially if those colors are used to display important information.
Striving a balance between an interactive sight and an easily accessible sight can be difficult considering how people with mobility issues might access your UX system.
Lastly, use easy-to-understand language to represent those who might not be native English speakers.
People use digital interfaces in various situations, and it's crucial to ensure that the experience is valuable to them, regardless of their circumstances. For instance, individuals may use your interface for the first time, at work, at home, while on the move, or under pressure. Different situations can impact the user experience, especially for those with disabilities. Therefore, it's essential to account for these variations.
Color Contrast: Implementing good color contrast can reduce the impact of bright sunlight when using an interface outdoors.
Context-Sensitive Help: Offer context-sensitive help for complex forms and interactions to assist users, especially those who are new to the interface.
Captions on the Go: When providing video content for mobile devices, enable captions by default for smaller viewports.
Use Familiar Conventions and Apply Them Consistently
Consistency is key in inclusive design. Familiar interfaces rely on well-established patterns, and these should be used consistently to reinforce their meaning and purpose. Consistency should extend to functionality, behavior, editorial, and presentation. Users should be able to do the same things in the same way, regardless of their abilities.
Consistent Design Patterns: Use established web and platform design patterns to build familiarity and understanding.
Consistent Editorial: Maintain plain language consistently across platforms, including text alternatives, headings, and labels for buttons.
Consistent Page Architecture: Ensure that page architecture is consistent across templates to help users navigate content effectively.
Ensure People Are in Control
Inclusive design emphasizes giving users control over their digital experience. This means not suppressing or disabling standard browser and platform settings, such as orientation, font size, zoom, and contrast. Avoid making content changes without user initiation, unless there's a way to control it.
Scrolling Control: Offer users the option to turn off infinite scrolling and replace it with a "load more" button, especially for keyboard users.
Make It Stop: Provide prominent playback controls for animations or parallax scrolling to allow users to easily stop them.
Allow Zoom: Ensure that pinch-to-zoom gestures are not suppressed, and that content remains visible when users utilize this feature.
Consider Providing Different Ways to Complete Tasks
Inclusive design recognizes that there is often more than one way to complete a task, and you cannot assume a user's preferred method. By providing alternatives for layout and task completion, you offer users choices that suit their needs and circumstances.
Multiple Ways to Complete an Action: Provide various methods for completing actions. For instance, allow users to swipe or use an edit button to delete items on mobile devices.
Layout Options: Offer grid or list layout options for long lists of content to accommodate users who prefer larger images or smaller rows.
Accessible Alternatives: Make alternative ways of presenting data, such as data tables for infographics, available to all users. This benefits a wide range of users and should not be hidden only for screen reader users.
Help Users Focus on Core Tasks and Features
Inclusive design involves prioritizing core tasks, features, and information within the content and layout. Users should be able to focus on the most important elements of an interface, making it easier to understand and use.
Keep Task Focused: Progressively reveal features and content when needed, rather than overwhelming users with everything at once.
Prioritizing Tasks: Prioritize essential features, such as the "compose" button in an email application, to ensure easy access for users.
Prioritizing Editorial: Put primary text first in links, headings, and buttons, using plain language consistently. This benefits both visual and screen reader users, as well as non-native speakers.
Consider the Value of Features
Features in a digital interface should add value to the user experience. Consider how features can improve the experience for different users, including those with disabilities, by providing efficient and diverse ways to find and interact with content.
Integration with Connected Devices: Use voice interfaces to control multimedia or enhance the experience for those who struggle with traditional interfaces.
Integration with Platform APIs: Use platform features like vibration and geolocation APIs to make content more accessible to users with disabilities.
Make Task Completion Easier: Add features like a 'Show Password' button or touch identification to improve user interactions.
Inclusive design is not just a buzzword; it's a fundamental aspect of creating digital experiences that cater to all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. These inclusive design principles provide a comprehensive approach to designing and developing websites and applications that prioritize user needs and preferences. By implementing these principles, you can create digital experiences that are more accessible, user-friendly, and enjoyable for everyone.