Embracing best practices for inclusivity extends beyond everyday life and business. You can also address inclusivity in web design to make sure information and the online experience is accessible to everyone, no matter their disability or special needs. But what is inclusivity in web design?
The inclusion aspect addresses not just disabilities but economic and literacy situations. For starters, it means people with disabilities can equally understand and navigate your website without barriers. Usability is also important, where your design is practical and satisfying to all.
Beyond making web design accessible, it should also represent the inclusivity and diverse world we live in. Including visuals of your target audience promotes a sense of belonging and extends the narrative of your business.
The question is, how do you take a website and cover inclusivity, diversity and still make it a satisfying experience? Here’s how to get started.
The Goal of Inclusivity in Web Design
Practicing inclusivity in web design is more than making it an accessible and rewarding experience for people with disabilities. It should also include visuals that represent the diverse world we live in. The goal isn’t to design for all people. After all, creating a target audience and niche is crucial to your success as a business owner. But you should consider that anyone who does interact with your site should have some sense of belonging or understanding.
Consider Users with Reading Disabilities
Learning disabilities like dyslexia is more common than you think. It’s estimated that 40 million American adults have dyslexia, but only two million know about it. Dyslexia is also not associated with IQ (did you know Albert Einstein had dyslexia?) Dyslexia is about how information is received and processed. Dyslexia can also be about audio processing and writing, not necessarily reading.
With reading disabilities in mind, you can help create a more inclusive web design experience using images and diagrams to support text, provide alternative materials like video and audio, and avoid large blocks of heavy texts.
Many people with dyslexia also have trouble retaining and recalling text. Part of the inclusive experience is also about keeping information transparent and accessible. Don’t expect your users to remember important facts and anecdotes from the beginning of your text.
Optimize Clicks and Navigation
Devices are now equipped with more ADA functionality than ever, but websites often fall short of providing inclusivity in web design. Using small icons and links that demand precise navigation and precision makes it difficult for anyone with mobility challenges.
Instead, make your actions prominent and clickable to improve the user experience and user interface (UX and UI). Implementing time-out windows or small areas to type also lead to a frustrating experience. Instead, design with mobile and touchscreen in mind whenever possible.
Provide Captions or Transcripts
Video may be trending as a content marketing tool, but it still needs to consider the hearing impaired. Over 30 million people in the US, ages 12-years and older, have hearing loss in both ears. Using captions on videos and a short description of videos can help navigate your content. It’s also good practice for anyone who consumes your content in a quiet space and prefers to read the captions rather than listen to what’s going on.
Design with Visual Impairments in Mind
Dark mode was trending in 2019 but evolved into an essential tool for the user experience. Although it looks slick and minimalist, its original purpose was to help improve readability and eye stream in darker surroundings. It can also help our health and overall sleep. Unlike dark mode, the blue light devices give off suppress melatonin production and make it difficult to turn off at the end of the day.
But there are practical uses for dark mode that specifically cater to those with visual impairments. The reduction of eye strain and minimalist style makes it easier to read and interpret your text and design.
In addition to dark mode, using more contrast and a readable font size helps exercise inclusivity in web design. Making sure all actionable items, like downloads, are highly visible is also helpful for those with visual disabilities.
Keep in mind that many blind or visually impaired people use Screen Readers to help them understand and engage with the web. Screen Readers help convert text into speech and require some consideration from your end. Make sure your copy makes sense, is easy to read, and includes alt text for images that describes what it is.
Offer Multiple Options for Contact
Offering a single form of contact isn’t conducive to inclusivity. You want to ensure your core audience or prospective clients can contact you in the best way possible for them. For example, the team at Digital Nomad Designs offers contact by booking a call, email, contact form, and social media. Beyond users with disabilities, offering multiple contact points is also a good way to make everyone comfortable with the process. Not everyone likes email or finds phone calls impractical.
Inclusivity in web design is really about putting yourself in the user’s shoes and considering their needs. Need a website audit or redesign to address the diversity of your clients and audience? Contact Digital Nomad Designs to learn more about our inclusivity in website design, SEO services, and other digital marketing solutions.