Inclusive Product Design-NOT A “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL”

What it is ?

  • In Simple words: Knowing how to design the product for different audience
  • Every design decision has the potential to either include or exclude the customers
  • Design should listen-learn and adapt
  • Inclusive design talks more about understanding user diversity makes to informing these decisions, and thus to including as many people as possible.
  • User diversity covers variation in capabilities, needs and aspirations.

Six Principles on Inclusive Design

Users will be browsing the product in a variety of different contexts, and the interface should accommodate that range of circumstances.

E.g.1: a first-time user could be looking for an introductory break-down of your services. An established user, however, might know exactly what they’ve come in to do, quickly performing the task while multitasking on another errand simultaneously.

E.g.2: Dark mode, meant for a better viewing experience in low-light environments.

2. Maintain Consistency and Design Conventions

Users need to know “WHAT TO EXPECT” when browsing the product.Aim to give them a sense of what each of their actions will result in on screen. This can be achieved by utilising the familiar patterns to reinforce the message and create a smooth user experience.

E.g. 1: Colours green and red that mean “yes” and “no” (respectively)

E.g. 2: Navigation convention of a logo leading back to the homepage.

3. Create a Simple and Intuitive design

Being simple is the most difficult thing”. The design of the interface should guide users to perform the task not to overshadow the content for the sake of aesthetics. Inclusive design help good design to refine it (than contradicting it).

E.g. 1: CTA (Call -To-Action) definitions using hover effects/ visual indicators

Being simple is the most difficult thing”. The design of the interface should guide users to perform the task not to overshadow the content for the sake of aesthetics. Inclusive design help good design to refine it (than contradicting it).

E.g. 1: CTA (Call -To-Action) definitions using hover effects/ visual indicators

4. Collaborate to get validated

Collaborate with well-intentioned and work closely with the individuals who differ in domain/background, as well as in physical, cognitive and learning abilities. This sort of collabration leads to unique insights about product and its pain points

In Practise: Ensure that a wide spectrum of people participate in this process from initial user research-design-testing

5. User tolerance buffer to be maintained

It’s beneficial to remember that “All users makes mistakes” . Maintaining tolerance buffer: Offering the chance to users to change their minds and correct the mistakes. On top of being inclusive, this approach also ties in to the concept of “CALM TECHNOLOGY”

In Practise: Option on undo and redo, warning messages that shows up before performing any permanent action. A friendly “404 Page” should ease the tension in error moments

6. Test and measure

Being simple is the most difficult thing”. Like any other part of design process, the inclusivity of the product has to be tested and measured. Normalising the inclusion at the process level, in all stages of product development(Prototyping-user interviews-usability testing)

In Practise: Make sure to check your interface from a accessibility compliance standpoint.Most importantly, test the product with the help of people whose needs and abilities are different from your own to get the feedback

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Kalyan Ramanuja

Product Manager @Arcadis-IBIGroup|Ex-FullContact, PayTm| Data enthusiast | Story teller | Hodophile