5 reasons to embrace Inclusive Design: TechShare Pro 2021

Inclusive Design refers to design that is accessible. In terms of digital accessibility, a website, product, or service works for everyone regardless of ability.

It’s a principle that runs throughout AbilityNet’s services and was a hot topic at TechShare Pro 2021, Europe’s largest accessibility and inclusion gathering.

The conference is hosted by us and sponsored by leading technology companies.

What is Inclusive Design?

Inclusive Design aims to create a product that as many people can use as possible. By expanding user diversity, designers need to include as many people as possible in terms of:

  • Age 
  • Cultural background 
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Impairment (situational, temporarily and permanent) 
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic background 

Inclusive design lessons from a post-pandemic world 

1. Inclusive Design is key to levelling up

During Covid-19, everyone became more dependent on digital services overnight. Being locked out of the digital world is as significant as being excluded from the physical one. 

On the first day of TechShare Pro 2021, Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, spoke about how relevant Inclusive Design is in the tech industry and how now is the time to be inclusive.   

Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work
“We have the opportunity now to build back better and fairer. There has never been a better time to be inclusive by design.”
Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

2. Being inclusive by design saves time and money

AbilityNet’s survey results (shared at TechShare Pro) reveal that many perceive accessibility as a cost. In reality, building inclusively from the outset saves time and money and creates a better user experience for everyone. 

Christina Ghetti, Head of Workforce 360, Nestle

"Accessibility needs to be built in from the very beginning rather than an afterthought.”
Christina Ghetti, Head of Workforce 360, Nestlé. 

Hear more from Christina and others about empowering digital inclusion

3. Inclusive Design creates a Business advantage 

By designing products and services inclusively, we create better solutions for all.

Above all, businesses investing in Inclusive Design can help deliver business advantage, as pointed out by Pilar Lopez, Vice President GSMO of Microsoft Western Europe.

Pilar Lopez, Vice President GSMO, Microsoft Western Europe
“Now is the time to think of the business advantage. It should be a priority for every company – making your products more accessible to people with disabilities and therefore everyone.”
Pilar Lopez,  Vice President GSMO, Microsoft Western Europe.


Read more about the Business case for Digital accessibility

4. Inclusive Design inspires creativity

Inclusive Design aids innovation; in designing for extreme needs, you create a better user experience. 

In a thought-provoking lunch and learn session at TechShare Pro, Kevin White, Head of Digital Accessibility in the Scottish Government, highlighted a great point on how Inclusive Design is the new and creative challenge for today’s designers. 

Kevin White
“It's a great challenge to designers' creative thinking – how can I make it accessible?" 
Kevin White, Head of Digital Accessibility in the Scottish Government.

Common accessibility issues that can only be fixed by inclusive design

5. Inclusive design can help you build a unicorn

The Kahoot logo

During the keynote, Johan shared a heartfelt story that signified the importance of the Inclusive Design project and the concrete evidence that Kahoot! was going to be successful in its early days.

“Early in the product and seeding it into the classroom, a mother emailed [the Kahoot! team] and said, 'my child who is autistic and has never won anything in her life (in a school setting) - she won Kahoot!'.

It was important because it was the first time the other students had recognised her that she’s an active part of the class and knows her stuff, which was way more valuable than that she was 'best'. And the rest of the class looked at her and thought, 'Wow! She knows this stuff!' Then this became an interaction where she was a part of the classroom.

And that was a significant victory for the class, and for us, it was magical. Because that’s what we set out with Kahoot!, to make sure everyone was a part of the learning experience.”

Watch the full keynote session on YouTube.

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