In recent years, inclusive design has been a standard practice for industry leaders like Microsoft and IBM. If you have any experience of working in the design industry, chances are that you might have heard the term at least a few times.
But what is inclusive design and why is it gathering so much attention in the corporate sphere? Let’s find out!
What do we mean by inclusive designs?
At its heart, inclusive design refers to the recognition that everyone has different ways of relating to or interpreting a product design or creative images. Design inclusivity means ensuring that your designs invoke similar feelings and add similar value to people’s lives irrespective of their backgrounds and constraints.
You can find many inclusive design examples around you. Escalators are an excellent product design that eliminates barriers around physical disabilities. Similarly, easily interpretable icons and inclusive graphic design can help do away with the need for lengthy instructions.
Why should your designs be inclusive?
The basis for inclusive design is empathy for a diverse audience. Inclusive designs help end-users feel they can relate to the designs, rather than feel excluded.
Inclusive designs can be a game-changer for your marketing strategy and help your brand position as a market leader.
According to a report published by Adobe.com, two-thirds of world customers prefer to support businesses that are mindfully inclusive. Not only will your designs cater to a wider audience, but your target customers would also value and respect your brand.
Inclusive designs can also be a great way to garner SEO advantage for your brand website. Recent Google search reports show that inclusive designs get better organic traffic than non-inclusive designs. Thus, design inclusivity can ensure your website is ranking higher than your competitors.
What is the difference between inclusive design and accessible design?
Before we move on to ways to make your design process inclusive, it is important to address a few concepts which often get mixed up with inclusive design. The most common term that is used erroneously to denote inclusive design is accessible design.
In reality, accessible design and inclusive design are two very different things. Accessible design involves the reduction of different barriers that prevent users from experiencing the value of a specific design. In contrast, design inclusivity works to incorporate different perspectives which make the design relatable to a larger group of people.
What are the principles of an inclusive design process?
An inclusive design process is a cultured mindset and not something that you can turn on or off automatically. Here are the primary inclusive design principles you should incorporate in your creation process.
- Recognise the fact that there is exclusion
- Solve design problems for one, extend them to many
- Incorporate diverse perspectives in your creation process
What are the features of inclusive designs?
Inclusive designs can boost the user experience of thousands of people, irrespective of their individual constraints or backgrounds. Here are some important characteristics that set inclusive designs apart from others.
- They offer a comparable experience to everybody
- People receive value from the designs irrespective of their circumstances
- The designs can be consistently applied across all scenarios
- Users are able to access and interact with the designs in their preferred ways
- The designs allow users to complete complex tasks in a simple way
- The designs improve the user experience for all kinds of customers
How can you make your designs more inclusive?
The process of making your designs inclusive might not be very straightforward. It would depend on your current creative perspectives, your biases and your audience. However, you can use the following tips to make your designs more inclusive.
- Check who might be excluded by your designs
- Ensure your designs are physically inclusive
- Make inclusion the focal point of your designs instead of an afterthought
- Question your assumptions and biases
- Prop your designs as the solution for exclusion
Inclusive designs can ensure that you are able to reach a larger audience with your work and are able to add value to their lives. Being an inclusive designer can also help you create from a place of empathy which can help you relate with your audience.
With an increasing emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across different creative domains, a fair knowledge of design inclusivity can only boost your career. Additionally, being an inclusive graphic designer in London can add to your ethical reputation and make you an attractive candidate for potential employers.
The London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) offers a great BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree that can help you become an inclusive designer. The course has a relevant module on Social and Cultural Contexts which can help you produce work for people irrespective of their backgrounds.
The graphic design degree can also help you learn about other aspects of inclusive designing such as visual theory, editorial process and industry research. You will be involved in a major project in your final year which will help you implement your learnings and find your unique artist voice.
Click here to find out other features of this design programme at LCCA.
Frequently asked questions
Question 1: What can be a good example of inclusive design?
Any product or graphic design concept can be considered inclusive as long as it caters to all kinds of end-users irrespective of their disabilities or constraints. A great example would be stock images of racially diverse subjects for a blog on financial independence. Using characters from different racial backgrounds would help people relate to the content irrespective of their own backgrounds.
Question 2: Will making my designs inclusive be worthwhile for my career in graphic design in London?
Yes! The rising importance of DEI principles has also caused a surge in the popularity of inclusive products and graphic designs. Focusing on inclusivity in your designs can help you to connect with MNCs who lay great emphasis on socially inclusive designs.
Question 3: Will I be able to learn inclusive graphic design at LCCA?
Yes. The BA Graphic Design programme at LCCA teaches you how to consider different cultural and social factors in your designs. This can help you cater to a wide range of end-users irrespective of their social or physical background.