Inclusive design is a methodology that draws on the full range of human diversity, including and learning from people with a range of perspectives.
Although some may see inclusive design as something that just affects web design, these principles touch all aspects of marketing and design, especially in creative industries. Diversity and inclusion are for all. It doesn’t just benefit people with different abilities; it benefits all users and affects people from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.
What is Inclusive Design In Marketing?
Inclusive design in marketing aims to create a positive and accessible user experience for as many individuals as possible. Rather than simply targeting a single group of users in a target market, inclusive design principles aspire to engage with a diverse range of users by understanding the various ways in which people engage with different platforms.
Whether the means of marketing is through web design, blog posts, social media, email marketing, or advertisements, understanding and learning about a range of perspectives allows marketers to create an experience beneficial to all. Accessibility is a large part of inclusive design, ensuring that all market materials are able to be used by a large variety of users.
Inclusive Web Design
In web design, inclusive design is a cornerstone of designing and developing websites accessible to all users of the internet. The WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, provides usability tips that ALL users will benefit from. For example, larger font is easier for EVERYONE to read, not just people with visual impairments.
When designing the typography of a website, multiple factors should be considered to ensure the design experience caters to everyone. This includes the simplicity of the copy on the page, the typographic design, and the consistency. Improved typography, proper alignment, text size, underlining, and spacing should all be considered when designing inclusively.
In terms of copywriting, using simple language, defining abbreviations, providing descriptions of links, and developing logical headings is a great way to improve readability for all those who are viewing the website.
Another significant factor to consider when designing for the web is color. Color contrast measures how easily two-color design elements can be distinguished from each other. By keeping contrast in mind when designing, the outcome can benefit users who are visually impaired or colorblind while also greatly benefiting those who are not.
For normal text, WCAG suggests a contrast ratio of at least 4:5:1, and for large text a ratio of 3:1. For graphic elements and user interface components, a ratio of 3:1 is suggested as well. These can be checked and analyzed on WebAIM
When the web design moves forward with development, make sure to collaborate with developers to make additional accessibility enhancements. Websites should be optimized for those who use screen readers which is all done behind the scenes. The most notable enhancements in web development would be to add alt-text to images and use semantic HTML elements such as <nav> and <header>.
Web design and development is such a multifaceted process that the aforementioned guidelines are just a starting point. Resources such as WCAG and WebAIM are great resources to start with. Before shipping a final website, check out this checklist to ensure full WCAG and ADA compliance for web design and development!
Inclusive Blog Posts
Creating blog posts follows similar inclusive design principles to general web design. When creating a blog post, ensuring the general web content principles outlined above is the best place to start, such as keeping proper contrast, outlined headers, and alt-text for imagery.
Additionally, when writing blog posts, ensuring to use inclusive language is a great way to encourage readers to stick around. Blog readers come from all different backgrounds and perspectives, so considering differences in gender, age, ability, language, and other factors is important to consider. There is no such thing as “normal”, every reader is different.
Inclusive Social Media
Social media platforms have taken great strides in the last several years to implement inclusive practices and accessibility structures into their products and services. Automatic captioning is available on platforms such as Facebook Live and Instagram TV, while Twitter is planning to roll out automated captions this year.
Alt-image description fields are available across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Inclusive social media marketing means recognizing exclusion, learning from followers, and presenting your social media profile in the clearest way possible.
Inclusive social media practices benefit all users. Closed captions were created to benefit people with hearing impairments, yet they benefit all users such as people who use the platform with volume off.
Tik Tok, for example, has begun to foster an entire generation of users who use closed captions as the norm which is a benefit to everyone on the platform. By taking advantage of these built-in accessibility structures, social media marketing can reach a large and inclusive audience directly.
Inclusive Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great space to incorporate inclusive practices because it is a direct line of communication to users. Considering that marketing emails often implement graphic design, it is important to make sure that they are accessible following proper contrast ratios while also using diverse imagery and inclusive language. On the back end of things, it is important to implement alt-text for the emails and images for those using screen readers so that anyone can interpret the email.
Pro-Tip: Make sure to allow for your email recipients to reply, in case they have feedback on how you can improve your inclusivity.
Lastly, inclusive advertising is a great way to reach new audiences. Although not necessarily marketing, advertising is often utilized by clients as a way to reach new audiences. Since advertisements include graphic design art, it is important for these designs to be inclusive as well as accessible to all users by using proper contrast, simple language, and implementing alt-text for those using screen readers.
According to a Google survey, 64% of people took an action after watching an ad that they considered inclusive. Inclusive advertising is beneficial for marketers and audiences alike.
This is by no means an all-encompassing list of every inclusive design principle for marketing, but this serves as a starting point. We hope this encourages you to think more about what you can do to encourage diversity and inclusion in marketing, and how you can incorporate it into yours.
A large range of people work in creative industries, so there are many different perspectives that you can learn from when following these design principles. There are plenty more resources and articles available online, so a little bit of research can go a long way.
Here at electrIQ marketing, we aspire to create inclusive marketing experiences and continue to learn and grow more as we work with new clients and new users of varying perspectives.