Inclusivity is not something you should aspire to – or that you should massage into your content after the fact. Ideally, inclusivity is part of who you are as an online business – and your content reflects this fact. There is always room for improvement, however, and if you’re behind the curve on this, now is a good time to get cracking.
We’re all in this together, and when you let all those online visitors out there know that you see – and hear – them, it helps. On your journey toward building inclusivity into your brand, The Web Guys can help you better understand the basics.
Inclusivity is all about not only recognizing diversity, but embracing it. Adopting a come one, come all philosophy helps to let the world of online searchers know that your business champions everyone – and not just in a lip-service kind of way. Inclusivity is also referred to as design for all and universal design, and it means doing what you can to help ensure that everyone is included (to the degree possible within the product line or services you offer). Inclusivity extends to a wide range of factors, including:
- Accessibility for those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities
- Accessibility for those with issues related to internet connectivity or computer literacy
- Accessibility concerns related to level of education, culture, age group, language, economic circumstances, or geographic location
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to explore the terms that reflect inclusivity, and usability is one of them. The World Wide Web Consortium – a standard-setting organization for web technologies – reports that usability is all about designing goods that are not only efficient and effective at doing what they are meant to do but that are also satisfying to use (Apple products are a stellar example – their mile-high satisfaction quotient has made up for some glaring missteps in other arenas over the years).
Usability factors calculate how functional the product or design in question is and then digs deeper by dovetailing with ease of use. One way to better understand a product or service’s usability is by taking all the following into careful consideration:
- How easy (or difficult) it is for consumers to learn the necessary basics
- How long it takes consumers to get up to speed on the product or service in question
- How well consumers master the above (allowing them to successfully use the product or service time and time again)
Apple, again, tends to score high for overall usability. When users run into barriers to smooth operations, it can be exceptionally frustrating and doesn’t bode well for the product or service’s overall usability.
Give the People What They Want
There was a time when a whole lot of people wanted to have their own unique web portals – instead of Google’s search page design. In response, Google kicked back a search box that allows all users to do their own thing within the Google platform. Sometimes, simple fixes are the best – if utilitarian – fixes (and, often, simple translates to more inclusive). That design remains the home page for billions of users, and billions of users can’t be wrong.
Accessibility refers to designing products and services with more people in mind (regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Web accessibility helps to ensure that those with disabilities are able to navigate, interact with, and understand websites and online tools on a level playing field with other users. Examples of enhanced accessibility include:
- Content that employs high-contrast colors accommodates those with color blindness or partial blindness and also improves visibility for anyone who is using their electronic device in bright sunlight.
- Incorporating streamlined, intuitive designs and simple language helps to accommodate those with cognitive disabilities, language learners, users who are busy or distracted, and even users with inferior internet access (streamlined sites tend to load more quickly).
Bolstering Your Inclusivity
Inclusivity is all about reaching out and embracing the underrepresented among us – those who haven’t always had the opportunity to fully participate – economically or socially – in every aspect of life.
Addressing Inclusivity Head-On
Inclusivity is a broad, important, and challenging concept, but there are several primary points that can help you get a better handle on the issue – and help you make everyone feel included in the process. Consider the following:
- Ferret out biases in your content (do you always use he, for example).
- Use thoughtful language that is straightforward, easy to understand, and doesn’t exclude people on the basis of disability, gender, race, or ethnicity.
- Make sure your design is responsive to your users’ unique needs, such as by allowing screen orientation changes and zoom capabilities.
- Skip the sea of words and structure your content with well-considered headers that guide your readers.
- Don’t rely solely on text. By providing text alternatives, such as photos and graphics (along with descriptive text), you help to ensure that all users have access to the same information.
- Run your content through a free accessibility checker, such as Audioeye’s, to determine where you can do better.
- Don’t forget about social media. Inclusivity does not end with your website.
Your Ongoing Inclusivity Efforts
Inclusivity isn’t something you do and then move on. Inclusivity is an ongoing effort that you should consider every time you add content or visuals, update your site, or edit existing content. When it comes to inclusivity, we can all do better, and by training our focus on the issue, we will.
Open Your Eyes to Inclusivity with a Digital Marketing Pro
Inclusivity is an ongoing effort that is rewarding in and of itself, and wherever you are on the spectrum, there’s almost certainly room for improvement (even if this means keeping up with technology as it continues to evolve). The digital marketing professionals at The Web Guys are on it, and we can help you better express your own brand of inclusivity. Tune in for more by contacting us at (317) 805-4933 today.