Inclusive Website Design – Improve User Experience
Inclusive design serves to assist physically challenged website visitors to better access and navigate your website. Explore six reasons why inclusive design features are a good idea for any new website.
Inclusive Website Design Objectives
Accessibility and inclusion are the primary goals of inclusive web design. Presently, most websites prioritize broad functionality over accessibility and inclusion. To begin with, if you do not make at least some effort toward inclusive design, you are alienating potential visitors who would love to visit your website but cannot do so due to functional limitations. This means your company could be losing business, and possibly even risk a potential ADA-related lawsuit.
Website ADA Compliance Lawsuits
Can your company be sued because your website is not ADA compliant? The short answer is, yes. How many ADA lawsuits have been filed? Per an article on the American Bar Association website, “Since 2018, website and mobile app accessibility lawsuits have made up roughly a fifth of all ADA Title III filings in federal courts, which now consistently exceed 10,000 lawsuits annually.” 1 The outcome of a lawsuit could range from legal fees and civil damages to a PR nightmare . . . and needing to totally overhaul your website.
If you want to reach as many people as possible, first, you must ensure that your website is accessible from any platform. After that, you must also ensure that all your visitors can understand, navigate, and interact with your online portal using a variety of input types. The delicate balance of user experience and the user interface is critical.
This article presents you six compelling reasons why brands should embrace inclusive web design and further explains in more detail what it entails.
What Is Inclusive Web Design?
Inclusive design is intended to assist visitors with impaired vision, hearing loss, or impaired motor functions in navigating and enjoying your website. The all-inclusive design includes everything, from simple things like alt text for images and title tags for links, to more complex implementations like voice navigation.
A recent article published on the elementor.com bolg describes inclusive design as, “Inclusive web design removes bias and assumptions from a website so that users won’t feel excluded due to an impairment, demographics, or other temporary or permanent circumstances. Both accessible web design and UX design are critical components of an inclusive website.”. 2
While it may be impossible to make your website accessible to everyone out there, but here are things you can do to improve usability:
- Simplify text content
- Make text size scalable
- Keyboard navigation
- Optimize color contrast
For more detailed information you can visit the W3C website which is an authority on web accessibility. A W3C article, last updated May 6, 2016, discusses the concepts of Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion While not exactly the same, theses aspects can be combined to maximize the effectiveness of UX planning. A summary statement in the article offers the following, “Accessibility, usability, and inclusion are closely related aspects in creating a web that works for everyone. Their goals, approaches, and guidelines overlap significantly. It is most effective to address them together when designing and developing websites and applications.”.3
We believe these three implementations are the bare minimum for any website. Your website’s user experience will suffer if they are not present. So, add them if you haven’t already. With that said, we will now cover the benefits of using inclusive web design.
1. Increase Your Reach
As we’ve already mentioned, in terms of simple numbers, you lose prospective clients if you don’t include as many of them as possible. This implies not only reaching out to individuals with disabilities but also using language, images, and other features to improve the inclusion of people of color, educational backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation, socioeconomic levels, and age groups. We think there is no such thing as a universally applicable method for building websites. With the right approach, however, you can reach a broader demographic and provide digital access to the vast majority of your audience.
There are numerous UX design tools you can use to create a website that everyone will be able to visit, browse through, and get the information they are looking for. Furthermore, an increased reach will help you with your digital marketing efforts. The more people visit your website, the higher the chance you’ll successfully convert them into paying customers. Visitors easily become clients when a well-designed website greets them.
2. Enhances SEO
It’s not difficult to understand the SEO benefits. Google favors websites that offer positive user experiences, inclusive initiatives, and easily accessible alternatives. When Google crawls your website, it looks for a variety of variables. This includes: whether you correctly answer frequently asked questions, how many keywords line up with the typical demographics’ search queries in your site content, and much more. Accessibility measures on a website are critical in getting Google to recognize and rank your website.
However, many websites disregard or minimize these measures. The issue with this is that it not only lowers your Google ranking but also increases your website’s bounce rate. This can be detrimental to your digital marketing strategy; therefore, make sure your website is inclusive if for no other reason than to aid your digital marketing strategy.
3. Increases Brand Awareness
No one likes feeling left out. This is particularly true for people with disabilities and members of underrepresented groups. If your website’s visitors feel like they belong because of the site’s intuitive design, the inclusion of visually meaningful elements, or the use of language that confirms their insight, you’ll have won their loyalty and gained an advantage over a competitor who is trying to appeal to the masses but failing. Web design that considers all users’ needs can go a long way toward establishing credibility with your diverse audience and winning their trust.
4. Enhances Sales and Revenue
Increased brand awareness can only help you increase your sales and profits. As previously stated, inclusive web design broadens your consumer base and increases brand awareness. This allows your website to rank higher on Google. With this comes increased exposure and authority. More authority will instil trust in your prospective customers, making the conversion from a visitor into a customer much more effortless.
5. Inclusive Design Inspires Creativity
You don’t need to think outside the box to find solutions when it comes to the obvious web design additions that enable inclusivity and accessibility (scalable text, keyboard navigation, color contrast). However, if you want to take inclusivity a step further, you must be creative. This can be beneficial because it can lead to unique design decisions that will help your website stand out. As long as your pages are not cluttered, your navigation is intuitive, and your pages load quickly, you will not have any issues with a website that is a bit different from the rest.
6. The Right Thing To Do
The last of the six reasons why brands should embrace inclusive web design is a question of consideration. The world is in a constant state of flux and expansion. In recent years, the inclusion of people of varying physical traits, orientations, colors, cognitive diversity, and ability levels has had a significant societal influence on how we conduct business. We must make an effort to look after those members of our society who are less fortunate. Many people can’t interact with the world the same way most of us can. As a result, it is simply a question of choice. Do you care enough to put forth the effort?
Inclusive design is a new halmark of a professionally designed website. Utilizing inclusive website design practices is a win-win for site owners and users alike.
FOOTNOTES & CREDITS
- 1 Minh Vu, Kristina Launey, John Egan, “The Law on Website and Mobile Accessibility Continues to Grow at a Glacial Pace Even as Lawsuit Numbers Reach All-Time Highs”, January 1, 2022, Available from American Bar Association
- 2 Bianca Belman-Adams, “What Is Inclusive Web Design?”, April 28, 2022, Available from Elementor.com blog
- 3 Education and Outreach Working Group, “Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion”, May 6,2016, Available from W3C Web Accessibility
- Photo by krzysztof-m, available at Pixabay.com
- Photo by Tim Marshall, available at Unsplash.com
- Photo by NisonCo PR and SEO, available at Unsplash.com
- Photo by Stephen Phillips, available at Unsplash.com
- Photo by Diego PH, available at Unsplash.com