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The Importance of Inclusive Design: 8 Insights from Business Leaders

Women's hands on a laptop keyboard that is looking at an online home rental vacation website

The Importance of Inclusive Design: 8 Insights from Business Leaders

To provide a comprehensive understanding of inclusive design principles, we have gathered eight insightful responses from professionals in the field, including a UI UX Web Developer and a CEO. Their experiences and recommendations range from taking a comprehensive accessibility approach to the importance of using alt text for screen readers. Dive in to learn how to make your online content more accessible and inclusive.

  • Take a Comprehensive Accessibility Approach

  • Utilize the “Design for All” Strategy

  • Adhere to WCAG Guidelines

  • Provide Subtitles for Video Content

  • Facilitate Skim-Reading with “Sticky” Content

  • Integrate an Accessibility Plugin

  • Play with Color Contrast

  • Use Alt Text for Screen Readers

Take a Comprehensive Accessibility Approach

At Small Giants, accessibility is taken seriously for all clients and multiple options are provided to ensure inclusive design. These range from the always-included basic accessibility of content, which optimizes color contrast of the websites, text sizing, general readability, and intentional actions taken so that screen readers can access descriptions of images and video content, to the complete ADA compliance solution.

To achieve this comprehensive approach, partnerships are valued that enable the provision of an extremely powerful accessibility tool that allows the users on the site to immediately modify the site to a state that is the most accessible to them. This includes modifications to colors to better suit color-blind individuals, content scaling options, ADHD focus tools, and so much more—all without altering the main design that clients lean on. These important steps are taken to ensure an inclusive web environment for all potential users of the clients' websites.

Patrick Kuhl, UI UX Web Developer, Small Giants

Utilize the “Design for All” Strategy

Incorporating inclusive design principles is paramount at EchoGlobal. From our early days, we recognized the imperative of ensuring our digital platforms are universally accessible. To this end, we've adopted a “Design for All” approach, rooted in empathetic user experience research and continuous feedback loops.

One transformative experience was when a visually impaired candidate praised our platform for its seamless screen-reader integration. This feedback solidified my belief that accessibility isn't just an ethical choice; it's a business imperative. Leveraging tools like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) ensures that our content resonates with a broad audience.

Our commitment to inclusivity has not only expanded our talent pool but has also cemented EchoGlobal as a forward-thinking industry leader.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Adhere to WCAG Guidelines

Ensuring our online content is accessible to all is a top priority. We adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to create content that everyone can use and understand. This goes beyond just using alt text for images and involves designing with inclusivity in mind from the start.

An impactful example of this is when we received feedback from a visually-impaired user who praised our efforts to make the website more accessible, highlighting how easy it was for them to navigate and access information. We recommend that, from the beginning of any project, you try to embrace accessibility as an essential part of your content creation process.

James Owen, Co-Founder and Director, Click Intelligence

Provide Subtitles for Video Content

One thing we always do is provide subtitles with any videos that we post online. This is one of the easiest, yet most important, accessibility steps to take with online content. For our customers with hearing impairments, it ensures that they are still able to view and understand our videos with the same level of comprehension as our customers without hearing impairments.

I think it's also helpful for us to write our own subtitles rather than relying solely on AI technology to generate captions, as that kind of technology isn't perfect and can incorrectly caption videos.

Facilitate Skim-Reading with “Sticky” Content

For content that's 2,000 words or more, we try to use a “sticky” table of contents. This means that as you scroll through the content, the table of contents stays with you (usually in the left or right sidebar). It's much better for readers: nobody is reading every single word of your 3,000-word guide, no matter how well it's written. So, you need to design your content for skim-reading and section-hopping.

If you're using WordPress, you can get a plug-in to do this for you in a few clicks without needing to get your developers involved. By looking at Microsoft Clarity data, we can see people engaging with our table of contents throughout the entire page, and getting value out of it. This, in turn, boosts our engagement metrics in the eyes of Google—they notice the clicks and time on page!

Sam Hodgson, Digital Content Manager, Clifton Private Finance

Integrate an Accessibility Plugin

I've integrated inclusive design principles throughout my journey. It's a fundamental understanding that elements like proper spacing and color contrasting are pivotal for overall accessibility, ensuring that content is perceptible and navigable for all users. These principles are not just about accommodating needs; they enhance the overall user experience, contributing to a broader and more diverse user base.

For WordPress users, integrating a reliable accessibility plugin is a piece of advice I often share. This is about ensuring the inclusivity of content and considering the diverse range of needs of our audience. Recognizing and valuing individuals with accessibility needs as integral consumers is not just ethical; it's smart business, as it broadens your reach and impacts the brand positively.

Kevin Hall, Marketing Operations, Webserv

Play with Color Contrast

While the color palette is of utmost importance in creating designs, keeping the colors in mind is another important factor. You shouldn't use bold colors all over, as it might make it hard for users to read the text.

Obviously, using only black and white isn't the only option. With so many neutral and pastel colors available, you just need the perfect designer who can play with your logo colors. This color-contrast principle will ensure your design is inclusive and accessible to all.

When choosing our design, we surveyed the color contrast to see if everything seemed clear. This helped with taking feedback and coming up with an easy-to-read, yet engaging, design.

Use Alt Text for Screen Readers

Too many SEOs use image alt text as a keyword-stuffing opportunity. Alt text is for people using screen readers first, and Google second. It's meant to add context to written blog posts, case studies, etc. When adding it, try replacing the image with the text and read the content from top to bottom.

If it sounds dumb to you, it will sound dumb to someone using a screen reader. Describe what's depicted in plain language. Use your keyword if it makes sense, but don't force it. Accessibility helps everyone.


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