Let’s imagine you’re in a restaurant with your family, and the waiter hands you the menu, waiting to take your order. Now, you may be a vegetarian, but the menu is all about meat and a few non-meat items are either not exciting or very high-quality.
Surely you’d have a much better experience if the restaurant was inclusive in their approach to consider customers with different tastes, diets, and conditions like allergies. It’s the same in product design. Inclusivity in technology means identifying your user base, realizing what they need, and creating a user-centered design to make sure everybody can use the product.
An inclusive product design is vital to providing a great user experience to everyone with different abilities and disabilities. But, the question is, how to create inclusive products for users with disabilities and different needs? To answer that, we’re going to cover some key areas:
Accessibility is not just following certain regulations in product design. It’s making sure people can use your product anywhere, anytime, regardless of their disabilities. Now, you may think that a small fraction of users struggles with disability, but in fact, we all can be disabled at times.
Have you ever seen a left-handed person struggle with measuring jugs? What about when people wore masks and glasses in the winter? They were all unable to do certain tasks because there was a mismatch between their physical conditions and the product’s features. In other words, accessibility was not considered in making the measuring jug or the glasses.
You need to consider accessibility at the beginning of product design because you want to stretch the user base as much as possible and avoid costly redos and adjustments in the future. For instance, when designing an app, you need to consider users who are blind.
In today’s digital-first world, accessibility is a quick shortcut to mass adoption because you can create an effortless user experience on every aspect of your product. A positive user experience will create a nice image of your brand in people’s minds, encouraging them to introduce your product to friends and family. A negative user experience will do the exact opposite.
Users are the people spending their money and time buying your product for the benefits it promises. Therefore, a product is nothing if it’s not adopted by users. So, it’s paramount to consider the different abilities, disabilities, and needs of your user base when designing the product.
That’s what you call a user-centered design, and it’s much better than blindly creating the product, getting a lot of negative feedback, and then spending more money and time on fixing the product.
Besides that, a user-centered product design can:
But, where do you start? First, you need to identify the users and how they use the product. You can use several tools here, such as:
You can use a participatory design approach where users can participate in making the prototypes and offer feedback on the entire process. It works best alongside other design approaches.
Diversity is a key concept for inclusivity in technology and any other industry. Your user base will consist of people with different backgrounds, cultures, races, genders, and abilities. So, you need to incorporate diversity in your product design. There are several ways to do that:
The most obvious example is adding subtitles or captioning when creating video content for a user base that includes people facing hearing difficulties or language barriers. Another would be to use icons or text instead of color for instructions because a part of your users may be color-blind.
You can discover such things by considering diversity and inclusion in your design.
Now, it’s time to test your product. So far, you’ve used a diverse user group in product design and development. Now, you should use them in product testing. This is called usability testing where users with different disabilities and backgrounds test the product in real scenarios and offer feedback.
There are several tips to make a successful testing session:
Determine what features and functions you want users to test. Also, identify the environment for testing (virtual or in-person) and the measurement method. For example, when testing a travel app, there are different sections to consider: ticket ordering, hotel reservation, and destination reviews.
If it’s in person, make sure there are no distractions or interruptions and people are comfortable focusing on the test. If it’s virtual, use a screen recording tool.
Make sure to document the findings and results on paper or a spreadsheet. You must use a video/audio recorder at all times because you can’t capture everything. Plus, recording allows you to be relaxed and focus on observing the subjects.
We tried to explain the importance of inclusive design in technology and any other sector. The above tips can also help you create an inclusive product that feels right for everybody, regardless of their conditions.
Of course, it’d be much better to have an expert by your side with a long track record in creating inclusive products. It saves you so much time, money, and effort because you don’t have to deal with any trial and error.
Luckily, we at LANARS are experts at building such solutions, and we’re also a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.
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