Key principles of inclusive UX design
The main essence of business is to sell more to a larger number of people. A very small percentage of the companies work "for their own pleasure" without thinking about profits. Therefore, when a new product is created, developers try to make it convenient for as many users as possible. Many features are generalized for some average statistical user. And to some extent, it is certainly correct, just like in a statistical joke: You have zero apples, and I have four. So on average, we have two apples each.
The world's population is projected to exceed 8 billion in 2023. And all these people are different, with their own characteristics, preferences, and views on life. Even if they are divided into segments of target audiences and can certainly be grouped based on certain indicators, they will still remain individuals.
For great happiness, inclusive design has begun to be created in the modern world. And we would like to talk about the factors that need to be considered when creating software and IoT devices.
Key principles of inclusive UX design:
- Actively identify areas of exclusion.
- Recognize and address situational challenges.
- Acknowledge and mitigate personal biases.
- Offer diverse avenues for participation.
- Ensure equivalent experiences for all individuals.
- Extend the solution to encompass everyone's needs.
When creating UI/UX for inclusive needs, several factors should be taken into account:
Accessibility. Ensure that the user interface is accessible to people with various abilities. This includes providing options for alternative input methods (such as keyboard navigation or voice commands), ensuring that content is perceivable by people with visual or hearing impairments, and using clear and easily readable typography.
Diverse perspectives. This involves considering the different experiences and needs of users throughout the entire design process. The challenge lies in the fact that these perspectives may differ from the developers’ viewpoint. Therefore, it is crucial to involve focus groups to gain insights from different angles.
User research. Conduct thorough user research and usability testing involving people from diverse backgrounds, including individuals with disabilities. This helps identify potential obstacles and issues that may be encountered when interacting with the interface.
Clear and simple language. Use understandable language and avoid jargon or complex terminology that may create barriers for users with cognitive or language impairments. Clear and concise language helps improve overall usability and understanding of the interface. It is also important to note that slang expressions may be perceived differently in different cultures, so it is advisable to avoid ambiguous phrases that may be interpreted differently than intended.
Contrast in colors. Pay attention to color contrast to ensure that content is readable for users with visual impairments or color blindness. The font should be highly legible and clear. Buttons should be positioned at a distance that allows easy clicking without difficulties. One hack is to squint at the design to assess its readability.
Customization and flexibility. One of the best ways to make a design more suitable for user needs is to allow customization. Providing options for users to adjust text size, background color, and other parameters allows them to feel less restricted and tailor the design to their preferences.
Keyboard accessibility. Ensure that all interactive elements and controls can be accessed solely using the keyboard. This is important for people who cannot use a mouse or other pointing devices.
Inclusive imagery and content. Use diverse images and content that represent a wide range of people. Avoid stereotypes and biases in visual elements and ensure that the content is inclusive and respectful of different cultures, genders, and abilities.
Continuous improvement. Regularly seek feedback from users, especially those with disabilities, to identify areas that need improvement. Actively incorporate user feedback into future iterations of UI/UX design to enhance inclusivity and accessibility. No one knows users’ needs better than the users themselves.
Since our company Embrox focuses on creating IoT devices, it is worth noting what should be considered when designing IoT (Internet of Things) devices for the needs of people with inclusivity.
Approachability: This is a fundamental point. Devices should be accessible to people with different abilities. The use of voice commands or gesture-based interactions can help individuals with limited mobility or dexterity. Since IoT devices are primarily created for daily use, they should be as convenient as possible.
Compatibility: Ensure that IoT devices can easily integrate and communicate with assistive technologies and accessibility features commonly used by people with disabilities. This may include compatibility with screen readers, Braille displays, or switch control devices.
User Interface Design: The i nterface should be simple, intuitive, and free of unnecessary elements. It is advisable to use clear labels, icons, and instructions to facilitate usage for people with different cognitive abilities or speech impairments.
Use of Artificial Intelligence: AI can simplify the execution of specific commands, provide instructions, learn according to user needs, and adapt accordingly.
Customization and Personalization: Customization is also significant in IoT. Provide parameters for adjusting and personalizing IoT devices according to individual preferences and user needs. In this case, an additional advantage would be the ability to customize the device itself, such as height, size, volume, speed, and brightness.
Testing and User Feedback: Testing also plays a crucial role in IoT devices. Involve people with disabilities in the development and testing process of IoT devices. Incorporate their feedback and ideas to identify potential obstacles or improvements that can enhance inclusivity and usability of the devices.
Compliance with Standards and Collaboration with Experts: There are organizations and specialists working in the field of inclusivity. It is advisable to consult them or establish collaborations to ensure that IoT devices meet recognized accessibility standards and recommendations.
Updates and Enhancements: One recommendation is to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first and then improve it based on consumer feedback. It is also crucial for the product to evolve, with regular updates and enhancements.
Inclusive design in is current ly being actively developed, especially in the healthcare sector. Our company, Embrox, also has case studies with inclusive design, such as the AI fitness app
- The design of the main buttons has high contrast to the background, ensuring good visibility.
- The dark background improves visibility in poor lighting conditions or bright sunlight (useful for outdoor workouts).
- AI is used to tailor individual workout programs based on the user's abilities and needs.
- The font size can be adjusted.
- Statistics and user health data are collected, which can be utilized by doctors for health monitoring when necessary.
We would really like not to have to highlight "inclusive design" as a separate term, but the entire design to consider the needs of diverse individuals and not reduce everything to the average user.