The phrase “inclusive design” may sound like something from a futuristic movie, but it’s actually an approach that businesses are already adopting in their day-to-day operations.
Inclusive design is a methodology for creating a design that can be used by a diverse group of people. Inclusive design and accessible design both focus on the idea that disabilities happen at the intersection where people and their environments interact.
However, inclusive design methodology recognizes that solutions that work for people with a disability are likely to also work well for people without a certain disability but are temporarily excluded from using particular technologies in certain situations.
It benefits everyone who has ever had difficulty using something because of physical size or disability (like me with tiny buttons on my phone), cognitive ability (like kids learning how to read), or situational needs (like military personnel, or a temporary ear problem). As an example, think about how much more effective door handles are when they’re flat-shaped instead of round: They’re easier for anyone to grasp and turn without struggling, even if your hands are slippery!
In a digital context is about making a website or product as universally accessible to all users as possible in any situation. It doesn’t mean every person will be able to use it equally well, but it does mean that everyone can use it at least somewhat easily—regardless of their physical, mental, or developmental limitations.
A great example that can be related to inclusive design because of a particular situation, and show the intersection with accessibility and how the same tools can be practical, is the use of text-to-speech tools by people that don’t have low vision or visual disability, like when you want to read a book or article while riding a bike.
Needless to say, there are many more examples out there, and that one was on a physical context. However, today we are going to understand the benefits of inclusive design for your business in a digital context. Let’s discuss some ways this approach can help you grow your business…
1 – Improves customer experience
Inclusive design is a crucial aspect of delivering a better user experience for a website or product. It can help make your website more usable, and it can also make your website more attractive. When people are able to use your website or product with ease, they will likely have a better experience with it.
This leads to increased customer retention and satisfaction, higher revenue, and greater indications of success for your business.
A recent study by Forrester Research revealed that companies who are successful at improving the customer experience generate a higher revenue than their peers. In fact, the study found that companies with high-performing customer experiences achieve an average of 20% higher revenue growth over three years compared to their competitors who perform poorly in this area. This shows that customer experience should be a priority for all businesses.
2 – Enhances the company
Inclusive design is about creating a positive impact for people of all abilities. It’s about creating a positive experience for everyone. It’s not just a business opportunity, it’s a competitive advantage, an imperative, and an opportunity to create value that extends beyond your brand identity.
In other words: inclusive design will increase brand value and customer loyalty among those with permanent or temporary disabilities while reducing barriers to entry for your mainstream audience who may be put off by sites that aren’t fully accessible or usable.
3- Increases conversions and revenue
Better accessibility and an inclusive design mean a broader audience for businesses, reaching more users that may engage more readily with the content of your website or app. The result is an increase in sales or conversions.
You will increase conversions and revenue by making it easier for customers to achieve their goals. If a customer is frustrated with your website, they are more likely to abandon the journey than if they had a positive experience.
Your product or service will be used longer, increasing customer retention and lifetime value. People who feel like they have an equal stake in the company are more likely to stay loyal to that brand.
Your customers’ satisfaction ratings will go up, which leads to increased referrals and higher sales volume overall.
4 – Better SEO
That’s a benefit that comes from accessibility. Inclusive design is also good for SEO, it makes websites easier for search engines to crawl and index, which increases traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.
Google, for example, favors sites with high accessibility scores when ranking them in search results, increasing the chance of appearing in the first positions.
5 – Avoids lawsuits from accessibility violations
Accessibility violations make an interface not inclusive, and in some cases can cause financial damage for many businesses.
In the USA The Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) guidelines have become mandatory in 2018 and must be followed by retail and any other ventures that are accessible to the general public and that has 15 or more people in full-time employment and qualifies as a “public accommodation”.
In 2021 alone, more than 2000 lawsuits were filed in the country, showing that the law is not taking it lightly.
Other countries and regions also have guidelines, like the European Accessibility Standard EN 301 549. Although it will only be mandatory in 2025, it’s good to be prepared and avoid any financial risk.
Inclusive design is about understanding, accepting, and fostering diversity.
When you design for people with disabilities, you create value, trust, and desire. Accessibility and inclusive design are the keys to success in business today.
It’s not just about being aware of differences that exist within the target public, it’s also about recognizing how these differences can affect the way that people interact with your business in different situations, empathizing with your users, and delivering value and satisfaction.
In order to succeed in today’s globalized world economy — where competition has never been stronger — inclusive design is a must.
We know that inclusive design is a complicated topic, but we also know that it’s a worthwhile one. The benefits are clear: your customers will be happier and more satisfied, you’ll have a better reputation and your products and services will sell better. If you want to make sure your company stays on top of these trends, it’s time for an upgrade! Contact us today.
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