9 Methods to Design Inclusive Content material

The creator’s views are totally his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not at all times replicate the views of Moz.

Inclusivity is a crucial consideration for each enterprise proprietor and content material creator, and needs to be on the coronary heart of your ongoing design efforts — not one thing you have a look at after a web site or piece of content material goes dwell.

Earlier than we get to particular tips about creating this inclusive content material, let’s go over key definitions and ideas.

What’s inclusivity?

Inclusivity is about recognizing range. It ensures everybody can take part to the best attainable extent. Different names for inclusivity embody common design and design for all.

Inclusivity addresses a variety of points, together with:

  • Accessibility for individuals with disabilities

  • Entry to and high quality of web connectivity, pc {hardware}, and pc software program

  • Laptop literacy and expertise

  • Financial circumstances

  • Training

  • Geographic location

  • Tradition

  • Age (older and youthful individuals)

  • Language

Understanding Usability, Accessibility, and Inclusivity

Purple icons on pink background: left, pointer finger clicking on something for usability; middle, wheelchair symbol for accessibility; right, globe symbol for inclusivity


Based on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a global requirements group that publishes tips and proposals for net applied sciences, “Usability is about designing merchandise to be efficient, environment friendly, and satisfying.”

Usability components measure the performance of a product or design and the design interface’s ease of use. They assess how simple it’s for customers to be taught the essential duties of the interface, how rapidly customers can carry out duties on the interface, and whether or not customers can keep in mind learn how to carry out these duties after time away from the interface. Usability components additionally contemplate whether or not the design satisfies customers, and if there are errors within the interface, how extreme these errors are, and the convenience of recovering from these errors.

Take into consideration Google’s search web page design. When it first launched, it obtained appreciable backlash. This was an period when web customers wished their very own “dwelling pages” or “net portals,” every presenting their favourite information and hyperlinks when the browser launched. However what did these portals all have in frequent? A search field. The truth that this easy (some nonetheless say ugly) design ultimately turned the homepage for billions of web customers speaks to the worth of simplicity and the way it allows inclusivity.


Designing with accessibility in mind means extra individuals will have the ability to use a product, no matter their talents.

According to W3C, “Accessibility addresses discriminatory facets associated to equal person expertise for individuals with disabilities. Net accessibility implies that individuals with disabilities can equally understand, perceive, navigate, and work together with web sites and instruments.”

In different phrases, all customers, no matter potential or circumstance, ought to have the ability to:

  • Understand all interface or doc components.

  • Function the controls simply and intuitively.

  • Perceive the content material.

  • Use completely different assistive applied sciences, gadgets, browsers, and working techniques to work together with the content material.

For instance, utilizing high-contrast colours in an app doesn’t simply assist individuals who have low imaginative and prescient or colour blindness, it additionally helps individuals who use their gadgets in brilliant daylight. Equally, whereas enhancements to usability, like utilizing easy language and intuitive design, might permit individuals with cognitive disabilities to make use of a services or products extra productively, they’re additionally useful for individuals who could also be busy or distracted, who’re studying the language, and even individuals with slower web entry, as a result of easy and intuitive websites could also be sooner to load.

Further useful resource: Accessibility Principles, W3C


Inclusivity means representing individuals who have, till now, been underrepresented. Inclusivity points have an effect on individuals from particular populations inside a neighborhood, in addition to communities which were denied the chance to take part totally in financial, social, or civic life.

Inclusive content material ought to at all times acknowledge range within the useful wants and talents of people. To make your content material inclusive, consider peoples’ numerous talents, making certain your content material could be accessed in a variety of ways.

Inclusive content material must also embody range in private wants and experiences. We should always all problem ourselves to do higher at together with completely different communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, talents, cultures, and beliefs. We should take steps to keep away from “othering” individuals. By making certain that everybody feels welcome in our digital areas, we will extra precisely symbolize the world we dwell in.

Further useful resource: What is Inclusivity?, Range for Social Impression

Why inclusivity is necessary

Historical past has taught us concerning the struggles for fairness and inclusion globally. Wars have been fought over human rights and the rights of enslaved peoples. Girls have protested for suffrage. Folks of colour have lengthy fought for civil rights, and lately the Black Lives Matter motion has highlighted systemic inequalities and the necessity for social justice. The Homosexual Revolution has sought to attain equal rights for homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Indigenous individuals have struggled to achieve equality and obtain significant reconciliation for the abuse and mistreatment suffered by the hands of governments. And the Incapacity Rights Motion has labored to vary attitudes, promote integration, and be certain that all individuals, no matter potential, have equal entry to transportation, housing, schooling, and employment alternatives.

Whereas academic techniques do educate us about these points, they typically current them as discrete occasions which have little actual connection to the “dominant” society. In consequence, most individuals aren’t comfy talking or writing about them. We merely wouldn’t have the vocabulary.

By making empathy a necessary a part of inclusion, enterprise homeowners and content material creators can enhance their viewers communications, construct belief, and develop networks. Assembly the useful wants of all customers creates a greater fame and improved word-of-mouth in additional communities.

9 methods to design inclusive content material

Purple icons in white boxes on pink background representing the following nine tips.

Inclusive design ought to at all times meet the wants of as many customers as attainable. Use the next inclusive digital content material suggestions when creating web sites, cell apps, e-mail, and paperwork.

1. Assess factors of bias in your content material and design practices.

Does your content material default to the pronoun “he,” or does it make equal use of “she” and “they”? Evaluate your textual content content material, inventory images, and illustrations. Have a look at each digital and printed supplies aimed toward inside and exterior audiences. Do they function principally white, male, straight, non-disabled individuals? If that’s the case, it’s time to change up the terminology and create a brand new aesthetic – one with extra range.

Further sources:

Resources for Eliminating Bias in Design, UX Sales space

The Bias Blind Spot and Unconscious Bias in Design, Interplay Design Basis

2. Use clear, easy, and considerate language.

Evaluate phrases by means of the lens of inclusivity. Determine and take away all situations of othering and ableism. This boils all the way down to respect. Keep away from collective phrases and labels, similar to “females” or “the blind,” that group people right into a class that promotes objectification. At all times keep in mind a person’s incapacity, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, or heritage is only a single aspect of their distinctive and sophisticated identification.


A incapacity is one thing that an individual has. It’s not who they are. Use “particular person with [a disability]” or “one that has [a disability].” Put the particular person on the forefront. For instance, say “an individual who’s blind,” not “a blind particular person.”

Many individuals with disabilities choose people-first language. Nevertheless, there are additionally individuals with disabilities preferring identity-first language, and it is very important respect this choice and provides each particular person the self-determination to decide on. By no means right somebody who refers to themselves utilizing identity-first language. For instance, don’t right or change the reference when somebody calls themselves a “blind particular person” versus “an individual who’s blind.”

Keep away from any language that implies pity or hopelessness, or that disempowers individuals with disabilities, similar to “suffers” or “sufferer.” Keep away from phrases like “courageous” or “brave,” as these phrases can belittle or trivialize individuals with disabilities.


The male-dominated cultures of North America and Europe have created a biased vocabulary that needs to be adjusted for inclusion. It is not uncommon, for instance, to confer with teams of individuals as “guys,” even when the group consists of each women and men. Grownup ladies are sometimes “women,” however grownup males are hardly ever “boys.” Then there are the outdated phrases and phrases which have turn out to be problematic, similar to “manpower,” “man-hours,” “man the controls,” or “man up.” Substitute these phrases with “workforce,” “hours,” “take the controls,” or “step up.”

What must you do in the event you’re unsure learn how to tackle somebody? Use the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their when assembly somebody for the primary time. Right here’s an inclusive option to introduce your self, “I confer with myself as (she/her), what pronouns do you favor?” or “My pronouns are (they/them), what pronouns do you utilize?”

Race and ethnicity

Similar to the vocabulary of gender, phrases related to race, ethnicity, nationality, and heritage have been debated over vigorously lately. A central a part of inclusion is adopting phrases which are sincere and respectful and being illiberal of phrases which are disrespectful. Historic bias has permeated our tradition, and in consequence, problematic terminology as soon as used to explain people who find themselves not white has been utilized to many various areas of life, together with expertise (whitelist/blacklist, grasp/slave gadgets). At all times tackle individuals’s ethnicity, nationality, or heritage respectfully and with out irony, racism, or satire.

Further sources:

Diverse Abilities and Barriers, W3C

Inclusive Language Guidelines, APA

Gender Equality and Inclusivity, CSHA

3. Use responsive design that permits zoom and orientation adjustments.

Responsive design permits net content material layouts to show nicely on many type components, utilizing “breakpoints” to outline completely different widths. Typically app makers lock orientation or flip off the zoom potential. These are fundamental instruments that all of us want sometimes. As an alternative of disabling them, design apps to accommodate them.

Listed here are a couple of responsive design and accessibility tips:

  • Use hyperlink textual content that describes the hyperlink vacation spot.

  • Write significant and descriptive alt textual content.

  • Use semantic HTML – tags that clearly describe the aim of web page components, similar to <header>, <article>, <apart>, or <footer>.

  • As an alternative of mounted or absolute font sizes, use relative items for font sizes, similar to proportion items, viewport width, or viewport top.

  • Label all buttons and fields.

Utilizing responsive design and accessibility tips makes it simpler for search engines like google and yahoo to crawl and interpret web sites. For instance, websites with clear, descriptive headings – the identical sorts of headings that additionally make navigation and comprehension simpler for individuals for disabilities – are higher optimized for search engines like google and yahoo to do their work.

Due to this, Google rewards accessibility when rating web sites. Actually, their Webmaster Guidelines – which lay out one of the best practices that assist Google to search out, index, and rank your web site – learn very very like accessibility tips, and sometimes correlate immediately with the W3C’s Net Content material Accessibility Pointers (WCAG).

By utilizing accessible design, you might be concurrently bettering the on-page expertise, making your content material extra accessible to customers with disabilities, and facilitating the work of search engine bots who’re busy crawling, indexing your web site, and assessing hyperlink fairness between pages – all of which assist increase your search engine optimization rating.

Further sources:

Responsive Design, Mozilla

How to Design a Large Scale Responsive Site, UX Sales space

An Introduction to Accessibility and SEO, Moz

4. Benefit from free sources.

Use freely out there Microsoft, Apple, and Android accessibility attributes and accessibility check apps when growing paperwork, net content material, or apps.

Testing is an integral a part of growing accessible and inclusive digital content material. Fortuitously, tech firms have created a spread of instruments and sources to assist guarantee your paperwork, web sites, and apps could be accessed simply by all customers. For instance, Microsoft Workplace purposes – Phrase, PowerPoint, or Excel – have the Examine Accessibility function, which resides within the Evaluate menu. From there, you may select the ‘Examine Accessibility’ button and comply with the directions to take away accessibility issues, rechecking as you go till all points have been addressed.

An example of the check accessibility function in PowerPoint.

Further sources:

Design for Inclusivity, Microsoft Design

Accessibility for Developers, Apple

Developing for Accessibility, Google

9 Best WordPress Accessibility Plugins for 2022, HubSpot

5. Construction paperwork utilizing headings.

Use easy, hierarchical headings to arrange paperwork, net pages, or emails. This enables all customers and their expertise to interpret the primary concepts of the content material and discover the knowledge they’re on the lookout for. Graphics needs to be secondary and may by no means include vital data. Present equal options for any picture that incorporates textual content.

Additionally remember to embody a hyperlink to the online model of any HTML message proper on prime, in case of e-mail consumer points with structure or graphics. In case you’re utilizing HTML messages, then comply with fundamental, semantic HTML greatest practices. E-mail is the one expertise the place tables for structure remains to be acceptable, however even there, CSS is now most well-liked.

Consider your content material with out graphics or with the graphics turned off. This can guarantee your content material could be accessed on low-fi gadgets, over unhealthy connections, or by means of a display reader.

Further sources:

Web Accessibility – Headings, Yale College

Page Structure – Content Structure, W3C

6. Present textual content options for non-text components, similar to pictures and kinds.

Purple mountain icon in white box on pink background next to an example alt text tag for the same image.

Use easy, descriptive language as alt textual content for pictures. If the picture serves a particular perform, the alt textual content ought to clarify what that perform is and describe the contents of the picture. The objective is to make sure that everybody has entry to the identical details about the picture.

If the picture incorporates a chart or graph, the alt textual content ought to embody the info. In case you’re utilizing a inventive photograph or a photograph as an illustration, the alt textual content ought to describe the weather of the picture intimately.

If the doc or content material consists of pictures that aren’t necessary, are used for structure, or don’t serve a particular perform, use null alt textual content (alt=“”). This can preserve them hidden from assistive applied sciences.

Labels for type fields and choices are additionally areas the place inclusion and accessibility needs to be addressed. Each subject and button ought to have a label, written in plain language. If button labels have icons or pictures, the alt textual content ought to describe the perform of the button, somewhat than its look.

When creating contact kinds, label all fields visibly. Embody formatting hints to cut back errors. In case you use a placeholder, be certain that it stays seen.

Further sources:

The Ins and Outs of Image Accessibility Standards, AudioEye

Alternative Text, Accessible Social

7. Benefit from freely out there accessibility checkers.

A screenshot of the AudioEye accessibility dashboard.

Examine your content material often to maintain it inclusive and accessible. Each time you make adjustments to your web site, you run a danger of creating content material inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. That is why ongoing monitoring is necessary. 

AudioEye, a digital accessibility platform, presents Lively Monitoring to assist web site homeowners preserve their content material accessible and inclusive. It checks for accessibility points each time a web site customer masses a brand new web page, and additionally checks for brand new accessibility points, gathering data throughout all customers and pages, after which robotically fixes the vast majority of frequent errors. The platform shows all accessibility points discovered and stuck in an Problem Reporting dashboard (pictured above), together with particulars on how these points have an effect on customers with disabilities and learn how to repair unresolved points that require handbook intervention. You can begin by making an attempt AudioEye’s Accessibility Checker.

Further sources:

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List, W3C

Testing and Checking Content, Accessible Social

8. Examine your colour scheme.

The eyedropper color selection icon in purple and white on a pink background.

Assess the colour scheme for distinction and distinction. White textual content on a black background is excessive distinction, whereas white textual content on a pale blue background is low distinction. Many individuals with visible disabilities depend on excessive colour distinction to view digital content material. And since visible acuity and the power to tell apart colours additionally fade with age, excessive colour distinction ensures older customers can entry your content material.

Widespread colour decisions, similar to buttons coloured purple and inexperienced, could make content material inaccessible to individuals with colour blindness, which affects 13 million Americans and 350 million people worldwide.

Further sources:

What is Color Contrast and Why Does it Matter For Website Accessibility?, AudioEye

Deuteranopia – Red-Green Color Blindness, Colblindor

Color Contrast Checker, AudioEye

9. Make social media posts accessible.

Social media is used to convey messages or concepts rapidly, often in only a line or two of textual content, utilizing a single picture or a brief video. To satisfy accessibility necessities for social media, be certain that all pictures and video clips are described intimately. Embody voiceovers, narration, and tune lyrics within the description. Don’t overlook to incorporate the emotion the topic could also be making an attempt to evoke. This additionally helps low-bandwidth customers take part in social media. Please see an instance beneath.

Screenshot of a Knowbility instagram post on how to make the internet more accessible.

Assess the forged of your movies. Do they function principally white males? Search for methods to function a broad cross-section of society, together with completely different genders, individuals of various ethnicities, and other people with disabilities.

Emojis make social media posts enjoyable, however they’ll additionally pose issues for individuals who can’t see them. As a result of display readers use phrases to explain the emoji, a collection of smiley faces and hearts added in the course of an Instagram caption turns into “grinning face, smiling face with smiling eyes, smiling face with heart-eyes, purple coronary heart, purple coronary heart, purple coronary heart.” Restrict your emojis to 2 or three, and put them on the finish of your textual content, so that they don’t get in the way in which of the knowledge within the publish.

Hashtags are a necessary a part of social media posts: highlighting key phrases and phrases with # makes it simple for customers to search out posts. Making hashtags accessible is straightforward: capitalize the primary letter of every phrase within the hashtag (also referred to as CamelCase). That helps display readers separate the phrases appropriately (#SuperBowl, not #SuperbOwl) and to say them as phrases, somewhat than as separate letters.

Further sources:

How to Make Your Social Media Content More Accessible, Western Oregon College

6 Ways to Make Your Social Media Posts More Accessible, Flagship Social

Hashtags, Accessible Social

List of Emojis, Emojipedia

Designing inclusive content material is an ongoing effort.

As you begin making use of these greatest practices, keep in mind that constructing accessible, inclusive, and usable content material takes dedication and steady enchancment. Ask your web site guests and prospects for suggestions regularly. Choose the appropriate instruments to make your efforts extra sustainable and efficient.

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