9 Methods to Design Inclusive Content material

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

Inclusivity is a vital consideration for each enterprise proprietor and content material creator, and must 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 recommendations on creating this inclusive content material, let’s go over key definitions and ideas.

What’s inclusivity?

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

Inclusivity addresses a variety of points, together with:

  • Accessibility for folks with disabilities

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

  • Pc literacy and expertise

  • Financial circumstances

  • Schooling

  • Geographic location

  • Tradition

  • Age (older and youthful folks)

  • 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 world requirements group that publishes tips and suggestions for internet applied sciences, “Usability is about designing merchandise to be efficient, environment friendly, and satisfying.”

Usability elements 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 shortly customers can carry out duties on the interface, and whether or not customers can bear in mind methods to carry out these duties after time away from the interface. Usability elements 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 acquired appreciable backlash. This was an period when web customers needed their very own “house pages” or “internet portals,” every presenting their favourite information and hyperlinks when the browser launched. However what did these portals all have in widespread? A search field. The truth that this easy (some nonetheless say ugly) design ultimately grew to become 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 folks will be capable to use a product, no matter their skills.

According to W3C, “Accessibility addresses discriminatory elements associated to equal person expertise for folks with disabilities. Internet accessibility signifies that folks with disabilities can equally understand, perceive, navigate, and work together with web sites and instruments.”

In different phrases, all customers, no matter capability or circumstance, ought to be capable to:

  • Understand all interface or doc parts.

  • Function the controls simply and intuitively.

  • Perceive the content material.

  • Use totally different assistive applied sciences, units, 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 units in vibrant daylight. Equally, whereas enhancements to usability, like utilizing easy language and intuitive design, might permit folks with cognitive disabilities to make use of a services or products extra productively, they’re additionally helpful for individuals who could also be busy or distracted, who’re studying the language, and even folks with slower web entry, as a result of easy and intuitive websites could also be sooner to load.

Extra useful resource: Accessibility Principles, W3C


Inclusivity means representing individuals who have, till now, been underrepresented. Inclusivity points have an effect on folks from particular populations inside a group, 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 variety within the useful wants and talents of people. To make your content material inclusive, consider peoples’ numerous skills, guaranteeing your content material will be accessed in a variety of ways.

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

Extra useful resource: What is Inclusivity?, Variety for Social Affect

Why inclusivity is essential

Historical past has taught us in regards to 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 realize equal rights for homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks. Indigenous folks 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 make sure that all folks, no matter capability, have equal entry to transportation, housing, training, and employment alternatives.

Whereas instructional techniques do educate us about these points, they typically current them as discrete occasions which have little actual connection to the “dominant” society. Consequently, most individuals are usually not snug talking or writing about them. We merely should not have the vocabulary.

By making empathy an important 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 potential. Use the next inclusive digital content material ideas 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”? Assessment your textual content content material, inventory images, and illustrations. Take a look at each digital and printed supplies aimed toward inside and exterior audiences. Do they function principally white, male, straight, non-disabled folks? If that’s the case, it’s time to change up the terminology and create a brand new aesthetic – one with extra variety.

Extra 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.

Assessment phrases via the lens of inclusivity. Determine and take away all cases of othering and ableism. This boils all the way down to respect. Keep away from collective phrases and labels, resembling “females” or “the blind,” that group people right into a class that promotes objectification. All the time bear in mind a person’s incapacity, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, or heritage is only a single side of their distinctive and sophisticated id.


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

Many individuals with disabilities favor people-first language. Nevertheless, there are additionally folks with disabilities preferring identity-first language, and it is very important respect this desire and provides each individual 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 individual” versus “an individual who’s blind.”

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


The male-dominated cultures of North America and Europe have created a biased vocabulary that must be adjusted for inclusion. It is not uncommon, for instance, to confer with teams of individuals as “guys,” even when the group contains each women and men. Grownup ladies are sometimes “ladies,” however grownup males are hardly ever “boys.” Then there are the outdated phrases and phrases which have grow to be problematic, resembling “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 if you happen to’re undecided methods to deal with somebody? Use the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their when assembly somebody for the primary time. Right here’s an inclusive method to introduce your self, “I confer with myself as (she/her), what pronouns do you like?” 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 can be trustworthy and respectful and being illiberal of phrases which can be 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 alternative areas of life, together with know-how (whitelist/blacklist, grasp/slave units). All the time deal with folks’s ethnicity, nationality, or heritage respectfully and with out irony, racism, or satire.

Extra 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 internet content material layouts to show nicely on many type elements, utilizing “breakpoints” to outline totally different widths. Typically app makers lock orientation or flip off the zoom capability. These are fundamental instruments that all of us want sometimes. As a substitute of disabling them, design apps to accommodate them.

Listed below are just a few 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 parts, resembling <header>, <article>, <apart>, or <footer>.

  • As a substitute of mounted or absolute font sizes, use relative items for font sizes, resembling share items, viewport width, or viewport top.

  • Label all buttons and fields.

Utilizing responsive design and accessibility tips makes it simpler for engines like google 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 folks for disabilities – are higher optimized for engines like google to do their work.

Due to this, Google rewards accessibility when rating web sites. In reality, their Webmaster Guidelines – which lay out the very best practices that assist Google to seek out, index, and rank your website – learn very very similar to accessibility tips, and infrequently correlate straight with the W3C’s Internet Content material Accessibility Pointers (WCAG).

Through the use of accessible design, you might be concurrently enhancing 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 website, and assessing hyperlink fairness between pages – all of which assist increase your search engine optimisation rating.

Extra sources:

Responsive Design, Mozilla

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

An Introduction to Accessibility and SEO, Moz

4. Make the most of free sources.

Use freely obtainable Microsoft, Apple, and Android accessibility attributes and accessibility take a look at apps when growing paperwork, internet content material, or apps.

Testing is an integral a part of growing accessible and inclusive digital content material. Luckily, tech corporations have created a spread of instruments and sources to assist guarantee your paperwork, web sites, and apps will be accessed simply by all customers. For instance, Microsoft Workplace purposes – Phrase, PowerPoint, or Excel – have the Test Accessibility function, which resides within the Assessment menu. From there, you’ll be able to select the ‘Test Accessibility’ button and observe 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.

Extra 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 prepare paperwork, internet pages, or emails. This enables all customers and their know-how to interpret the primary concepts of the content material and discover the knowledge they’re searching for. Graphics must be secondary and may by no means include important data. Present equal options for any picture that comprises textual content.

Additionally make sure you embody a hyperlink to the online model of any HTML message proper on high, in case of e-mail consumer points with format or graphics. Should you’re utilizing HTML messages, then observe fundamental, semantic HTML greatest practices. E-mail is the one know-how the place tables for format remains to be acceptable, however even there, CSS is now most popular.

Consider your content material with out graphics or with the graphics turned off. This can guarantee your content material will be accessed on low-fi units, over unhealthy connections, or via a display screen reader.

Extra sources:

Web Accessibility – Headings, Yale College

Page Structure – Content Structure, W3C

6. Present textual content options for non-text parts, resembling photographs and varieties.

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 photographs. If the picture serves a particular operate, the alt textual content ought to clarify what that operate is and describe the contents of the picture. The purpose is to make sure that everybody has entry to the identical details about the picture.

If the picture comprises a chart or graph, the alt textual content ought to embody the info. Should you’re utilizing a inventive picture 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 contains photographs that aren’t essential, are used for format, or don’t serve a particular operate, 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 must be addressed. Each discipline and button ought to have a label, written in plain language. If button labels have icons or photographs, the alt textual content ought to describe the operate of the button, somewhat than its look.

When creating contact varieties, label all fields visibly. Embody formatting hints to scale back errors. Should you use a placeholder, make sure that it stays seen.

Extra sources:

The Ins and Outs of Image Accessibility Standards, AudioEye

Alternative Text, Accessible Social

7. Make the most of freely obtainable accessibility checkers.

A screenshot of the AudioEye accessibility dashboard.

Test your content material recurrently to maintain it inclusive and accessible. Each time you make adjustments to your web site, you run a danger of constructing content material inaccessible to folks with disabilities. That is why ongoing monitoring is essential. 

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

Extra sources:

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List, W3C

Testing and Checking Content, Accessible Social

8. Test 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.

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

Extra 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 shortly, normally in only a line or two of textual content, utilizing a single picture or a brief video. To fulfill accessibility necessities for social media, make sure that all photographs and video clips are described intimately. Embody voiceovers, narration, and tune lyrics within the description. Don’t neglect 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 under.

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 totally different genders, folks of various ethnicities, and other people with disabilities.

Emojis make social media posts enjoyable, however they will additionally pose issues for individuals who can’t see them. As a result of display screen readers use phrases to explain the emoji, a sequence 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 best way of the knowledge within the submit.

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

Extra 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 website guests and clients for suggestions regularly. Choose the proper instruments to make your efforts extra sustainable and efficient.

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