Several years ago, design was about surprising the customer with unusual forms, bright colors or complicated visual effects. Design in its modern meaning is no longer about the ‘wow’ factor. It implies personalization, simplicity, convenience, minimalism, and accessibility. One of the massive coming year trends is about inclusive design and design accessibility.
In this post, openGeeksLab will answer three core questions concerning the topic: ‘The what?’, ‘The why?’ and ‘The how?’
What Is Inclusive Design?
People with permanent, temporary, or situational disabilities, as well as senior citizens, interact with your app design in different ways. Therefore, some functional solutions become inaccessible for diverse audience, causing troubles concerning both parties.
Inclusive design is a way out. It represents design accessibility solutions aimed at developing the product equally efficient and providing comfortable experiences for all audience segments, despite their impairments.
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Gesture recognition technologies, voice input, fully responsive layout, consistent navigation, accessible audio/video elements, transcripts, captions in audio/video content, high-contrast color combinations. It is all about mobile accessibility first approach.
Why Inclusive Design Thinking Matters?
According to research, about 15% of humans worldwide experience or have experienced certain kind of disability. It inspires business to integrate mobile accessibility standards. Inclusive design mindset helps not only develop more affordable options for mobile users, but also expand the target audience, increasing user loyalty to your brand.
Adopting an inclusive design thinking into your UI/UX strategies will help you create more convenient products for wider audience. With high accessibility standards, business gains customer’s love, because clients feel that you care about them. Moreover, it represents an efficient tool of expanding the market and increasing revenue.
Inclusive design process contribute to creative mindset development. It usually becomes challenging to unite accessibility principles and ideas itself, though such struggles elevate designer’s skill level after all. Inclusive design products also serve as a safe ground for businesses against law pursuits or complaints concerning low information accessibility. Besides, caring about people with special needs is a nice thing from social point of view, and companies, giving positive attitude examples, inspire general moral growth.
How to Meet Mobile Accessibility Standards?
To create an inclusive UX design mobile developers should consider key inclusive design principles, determining the mobile accessibility idea itself.
We have singled out five basic principles of inclusive design and bonus advice disclosing further opportunities to make your inclusive mobile application even more successful.
1. Lacunae Identification
The first principle concerns not the inclusive architecture itself but the very idea of it. To make product ‘inclusive’ one should understand the target audience segment. Understanding the ways people fail while interacting with your product is initial step towards successful inclusive UX implementation and high-level accessibility.
Actually, there are two different types of lacunae in design project: regular ones and situational ones.
Regular lacunae include those customers who are excluded out of the user category due to some permanent reason. This group comprises disabled people or people with special needs. For example, mobile messenger app potentially excludes customers having problems with feeling sensations or fine motor skills. To cover such representatives companies should implement peculiar features ensuring usage accessibility, e.g. accompany messenger with voice input/management support.
Situational exclusions deal with conjunctures — they are determined by temporary circumstances, so this audience segment can be referred as ‘partially excluded’. Here belong traumas, injuries, or simply unfavorable surrounding. Considering messenger app, ‘partially excluded’ audience examples can embrace people experiencing anything, from broken arm trauma to rough road journey, that caused keyboard input failure.
2. Equal Chances
Accessibility and inclusive design should stand for equality. Providing equal opportunities usually implies personal user experience as well as identical functional scope. Successful inclusive design products offer equivalent accessibility solutions to different audience groups, ensuring same level of comfort while using mobile application.
Inclusive UX design avoids audience segregation making interface intuitive and appealing for diverse customer groups. All customers should feel equally treated and protected if application concerns privacy/security issues.
As an example, video streaming services providing informational sound accompaniment potentially exclude deaf customers or those who have heavy hearing problems. To perform its informational function materials should be supported by transcript, subtitles, or sign language translation, which comprise various ‘excluded’ groups. Speed and caption settings are also welcomed to guarantee different language level users coverage.
3. Intuitive Interface & Easy Information Perception
Minimalistic design is a key to accessibility and efficiency. Inclusive UX require interface being equally convenient and easy-to-use despite customer’s previous experiences, general knowledge, language level, attention concentration, etc. Intuitive inclusive design regards excessive elements reduction, information arrangement (based on relevance, novelty, personal preferences, etc.), detailed language settings, relevant prompts, feedback accessibility on different app interaction stages.
Information accessibility is among core mobile application efficiency criteria. The info have to be perceivable regardless of client’s physical abilities. Easy information perception is reached by implying diverse accessibility modes (visual, verbal, tactile) while delivering the message.
A great part in app accessibility on mobile devices play sizing/scaling features. It is mainly important for size adjustment to satisfy user’s need concerning comfort product usage. It also comprises peculiarities of design manipulations being independent on person’s physiognomy or mobility. Inclusive usage approach (adequate usage space, personal settings) and elements reaching (clear interface arrangement, categorizing, inner organization) are determined by this principle as well.
Size adjusting feature is of great importance for poor-eyed people, as far as they should be able to scale the interface design up to their requirements, e.g. making text bigger/smaller ensuring comfort reading in e-book analogue app.
4. Error Tolerance
Accessibility guidelines for mobile apps imply profound error tolerance. This principle has firm moral grounds, driving developers towards substantial error prevention. Its main idea again lies in ensuring equivalent mobile user experience without segregation politics.
Error tolerance comprises both usage failures prevention and minimization of consequences caused by accidental actions. Avoiding hazardous situations developers aim at intuitive elements arrangement: most commonly used elements are easy accessible while dangerous (closing program without additional alert, leading to crashes, responsible for swift money operations, etc.) ones are isolated or placed inconveniently.
Error warnings or additional alerts are responsible for discouraging unconscious choices in cases that require attention concentration, e.g. additional error preventing voiced alerts, acoustic signals, vibration feedback in screen readers become helpful while poor-eyed customers interact with potentially hazardous elements or complex design.
5. Minimum Effort — Maximum Use!
One among key principles of inclusive design requires high efficiency level. As far as inclusive design products aim at audience possessing diverse abilities, it should comprise physical strength factor together with inclusive architecture or interface solutions. It has to avoid repetitive or excessive actions, reduce sustained procedures, allow neutral/relaxed body position, prevent fatigue or unpleasant physical experience, etc.
The examples comprise people with fine motor skills problems, who quickly become exhausted by multiple action repetition/confirmation; people who are blind or low vision, as they should repeat peculiar phrases several times, etc.
6. Extensive Perspectives
Besides obvious benefits regarding wider audience inclusion, smart business can take some additional advantage out of accessibility on mobile devices. Developing diverse inclusive mobile design solutions, companies make their product more attractive for ordinary users as well. Extended interaction ways contribute to higher comfort level and usage convenience.
Such features as voice input, transcripts/subtitles, profound settings, etc. can contribute either to personal experience improvement or to additional commercial success, e.g. informational video materials with subtitles can be used in crowded places (cafes, bars, airports) educating people vicariously or raising their interest towards certain facts.
Create Unique Product Today!
Being aware of current trends in inclusive mobile design and key accessibility strategies is crucial while creating a product with high mobile accessibility standards. This guarantees long-lasting application usage period and wider audience coverage. Therefore, take advantage out of ‘The what?’, ‘The why?’ and ‘The how?’ about inclusive design principles, or contact us to elevate your product’s accessibility together.
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How Inclusive Design Helps Business Win Customer’s Love? was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.