Design For Inclusivity: Inclusive Design VS Accessibility

 13 Oct, 2023

inclusive-design-vs-accessibility

Designing products, spaces, and experiences has always been complex and evolving. Two terms that have gained significant traction in this context are accessibility and inclusive design. While both aim to improve things for everyone, the approach it different. This blog will reveal the secrets of accessible and inclusive design, their differences, and examples.

The choice between these designs for inclusivity will still depend on the context and objectives that a professional web design services company can work around and draw the best solution for your business. Before we decide which of these two approaches is best, let's know the differences between inclusive design vs accessibility.

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What Does Accessible And Inclusive Design Mean?

What is inclusive design? Let us now probe the accessibility vs inclusivity question for better clarity. Accessibility, by its dictionary definition, signifies something easy to reach, obtain, approach, or understand. In the web design context, accessibility primarily means that the design is perceivable, operable, and understandable to the broadest audience possible.

What Does Accessible And Inclusive Design Mean

However, designing for accessibility extends beyond disability considerations; it involves diverse situations and contexts. True accessibility implies that a website should be usable by anyone, regardless of their limitations, whether temporary or permanent. It recognizes that users' circumstances can vary greatly, and a design that caters to this spectrum enhances the user experience for everyone.

Understanding Inclusive Web Design

Inclusive web design guides the creation of products, making them accessible to individuals from diverse backgrounds and with varying abilities. It breaks the boundaries of accessibility alone and uses various factors, including age, culture, economic circumstances, education, gender, geographic location, language, and race. The central goal is not merely to accommodate as many users as possible but to meet as many user needs as possible in which a professional web design service agency specializes.

Understanding Inclusive Web Design

A classic example of an inclusive web design is the MTA website that underwent a significant navigation overhaul to make it more user-friendly. Clear and consistent headings, menus, and links were implemented, making it easier for all users to find the information they need, including people using screen readers or keyboard navigation.

High Contrast and Color Choices: The website design includes a high-contrast color scheme, making it easier for users with low vision or color blindness to read and interact with the content. The color choices are carefully selected to ensure readability and legibility.

Want to get more details on accessible design vs. inclusive design? Check the next section. 

Examples Of Inclusive Design

Few important considerations involve inclusive design vs accessible design. Inclusive web design incorporates alt text for images. This text description not only assists users with visual impairments in understanding images but also benefits everyone when images don't load or in low-bandwidth situations. There are more such examples of this type of design. Let's explore them here:

1. Responsive Design

Responsive Design

Websites with responsive design adapt to various screen sizes and devices. This inclusive approach ensures that users, whether on desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

2. Readable Fonts

Readable Fonts

You can use readable fonts and font sizes. This consideration aids users with visual impairments but also enhances the overall readability for all users, reducing eye strain.

3. Keyboard Navigation

When considering accessible design vs inclusive design, websites that prioritize keyboard navigation alongside mouse control are more inclusive. This benefits users with mobility challenges and those who prefer navigating without a mouse.

4. Captions and Transcripts

Captions and Transcripts

Providing captions for videos and transcripts for audio content is inclusive. It assists users with hearing impairments, but it's also valuable in noisy environments or when users want to scan content.

5. Forms With Error Messages

Forms with Error Messages

Between inclusive and accessible design, websites with inclusive forms provide clear error messages. This helps users with cognitive challenges or who must correct a mistake while filling out the form.

Difference Between Accessibility And Inclusive Design

Difference Between Accessibility and Inclusive Design

How Much Of A Difference Inclusive Design Makes To Your Online Presence?

Within the context of accessible design vs inclusive design, inclusive web design isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. It prioritizes research and collaborative design processes, enabling a deeper understanding of your audience's needs. This understanding leads to more personalized solutions that can start by addressing the needs of a single individual but subsequently benefit many. Take a look at the numbers below  

How Much Of A Difference Inclusive Design Makes To Your Online Presence_

Users who perceive that your presence fulfills their specific requirements are likelier to engage with your content or products.

Successful brands that incorporate inclusive design often uncover new avenues for innovation. By considering the perspectives of marginalized groups, they create fresh styles, features, and options that cater to these users and attract a broader customer base. In doing so, they pioneer novel directions within their industries, setting trends that others follow.

Tips For Using Inclusive Design

Tips For Using Inclusive Design

Many designers tend to fall into this trap of accessible design vs inclusive design, designing products based on their own preferences and behaviors. While you may be familiar with your creation, you must also recognize that your users will have different needs. So, which among the Inclusivity vs accessibility should you choose? Here are tips for inclusive design and why its above accessibility design. 

1. Ask Questions In The Early Stage

Begin asking questions during the initial stages of the design process:

  • Can your users navigate the product and comprehend its content?
  • Is your design still usable and informative for them?
  • Does your content work with these tools?
  • How does your design accommodate large fingers, limited eyesight, or other conditions?
  • How would the user experience change if those assumptions were incorrect?

2. Addressing Assumptions

Often, designers unintentionally overlook alternative use cases because they rely on personal experiences and perspectives. 

  • Who Are Your Assumed Users?

Identify the personas or user profiles you've envisioned when creating your design. 

  • What characteristics or behaviors have you attributed to them?

Alternative User Scenarios: Now, broaden your perspective and contemplate who else might use your product and under what circumstances. Think beyond the assumed user personas.

For instance, let's take the example of developing a mobile game. While audio content can impact the gaming experience, you must also provide alternative methods for accessing essential information that don't rely solely on listening. So, take scenarios where someone may have their volume down to avoid disturbing others or be in a noisy environment where audio cues are impractical.

3. Regular Testing

Regular testing is an essential component of inclusive design as it helps identify and resolve your issues. The objective here is not to obtain a specific certification but to proactively address and rectify any obstacles within your product before they become ingrained.

Conducting WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) audits can also be useful in identifying barriers that may impact individuals with disabilities. Automated tests are another cost-effective option of identifying issues.

4. Content With Or Without Color

Color should not be the sole means of conveying information or instructions. For instance, instructing users to "click the green button" can confuse those with color vision deficiencies, low vision, or under bright lighting conditions. Instead, use clear and descriptive labels alongside colors.

Content With Or Without Color

Pay close attention to color contrast ratios, as recommended by WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) Level AA. A minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for standard text and 3:1 for larger text (18 or 14 pt bold font) makes your content more readable against its background. Maintaining these ratios improves legibility for everyone.

Before incorporating colors into your design, you must conduct tests to evaluate their accessibility. Tools like the a11y® Color Contrast Accessibility Validator provide instant color contrast analysis.

How A Web Design Partner Can Help?

A web designing services company like Janbask can be valuable in creating and maintaining your website, offering several practical ways to enhance your online presence.

How A Web Design Partner Can Help_

1. Expertise and Experience

A website designing services agency brings expertise and experience. They understand the nuances of effective web design, including layout, navigation, and user experience. Their insights can help you avoid common web design mistakes and make informed design decisions.

2. Customization

Web design partners work closely with you to understand your unique needs and goals. They can tailor the design to align with your brand identity and target audience, ensuring your website stands out and effectively communicates your message.

3. Accessibility And Inclusivity

A reputable partner recognizes the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in web design. They can integrate best practices for making your website user-friendly for all, regardless of disabilities or limitations, helping you reach a broader audience.

4. Responsive Design

With the increasing diversity of devices and screen sizes, responsive design is crucial. A professional web design service can make your website adapt to various devices for a user-friendly experience for all visitors.

5. Efficiency And Timeliness

Collaborating with a web design partner can expedite the design process. Their expertise allows for efficient project management, meeting deadlines, and reducing the time it takes to get your website up and running.

FAQs

1. Why is accessible design different from inclusive design?

While both aim to enhance usability, accessible design accommodates specific disabilities, such as visual impairments or mobility limitations. In contrast, inclusive design takes a broader approach to create a more universally usable product.

2. How does inclusive design benefit from a holistic perspective?

Inclusive design thrives on a holistic perspective because it considers not only disabilities but also various identities, cultures, and perspectives. By embracing this holistic view, it fosters empathy and a deeper understanding of diverse user needs.

3. What's the key difference between accessibility and inclusivity regarding user engagement?

Accessible design primarily ensures that individuals with disabilities can engage with a product. Inclusive design, on the other hand, extends its reach to a broader audience.

4. Can accessible design be culturally specific or universally applicable?

Accessible design principles are intended to be universally applicable, focusing on accommodating disabilities rather than cultural differences. However, in practice, there can be instances where cultural context plays a role in accessibility considerations, such as language preferences or unique cultural usability needs.

5. Can inclusive design influence social change beyond digital interfaces?

Inclusive design can extend its influence beyond digital interfaces and contribute to broader social change. Promoting inclusivity and diversity in design can help challenge stereotypes.

Conclusion

The choice between inclusive design and accessibility, is not about selecting the "best" approach but recognizing the nature of these methodologies. JanBask's Website Design Services understands that both accessible and inclusive design serve essential purposes in improving your user experiences.

Rather than an either-or decision, Web Design Services at JanBask encourages a holistic approach that combines elements of both accessible and inclusive design. You also create a digital environment that adheres to accessibility standards.

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Jax Williams

It is one of the most informative blog clearing out the doubts and concepts.
Quite an interesting one.

A

Amari Jones

Found this blog to be very useful.