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March 29, 2024

Vice President, Creative

Kelly Rosenberger


VP, Creative

Alloy is a top branding agency for imaginative tech companies that incorporates inclusive design principles in every project

Conversations around inclusive design often focus on best practices and box checking. While that will always be a top priority, a rinse-and-repeat approach to inclusivity often results in creative work that feels heartless, generic, and inauthentic. 

Instead of just going through the motions, centering empathy and authenticity in the inclusive design process is crucial to make a real impact and get real results.

Lead with listening

Empathy starts with understanding. Understanding starts with listening and being open to learning. That’s why including diverse perspectives and listening to their voices across your team is essential. This approach enables designers to craft truly inclusive solutions, ultimately leading to more meaningful experiences for all users.

Accessibility is always a priority

Beyond empathy, a rapidly growing cornerstone of inclusive design is accessibility. Accessibility isn’t just about making accommodations; it’s about fostering a digital ecosystem where every user can have the best possible experience. From color contrast to font choices, every detail counts in creating an inclusive digital space. Here are a few key accessibility considerations:

  • Prioritize readability by selecting clear and easy-to-read fonts that all users can comfortably use. Offer adjustable font sizes to accommodate diverse user preferences and those with visual impairments. 

  • Ensure sufficient contrast between text and background colors to improve readability for all users, especially those with color vision deficiencies or other visual challenges. 

  • Design intuitive navigation systems that enhance accessibility by allowing users to navigate the interface efficiently, regardless of their abilities or technological tools. 

  • Make navigation and clickable elements accessible via the keyboard to enhance usability for users who may have difficulty with traditional mouse-based interactions. 

  • Provide descriptive alt text for images to enable visually impaired users to access and comprehend the content effectively with screen readers. 

  • Design forms with clear labels and accessible input fields to ensure that all users can interact with the forms effectively, promoting inclusivity and usability throughout the user experience.

Honest representation matters

Inclusive design goes beyond accessibility—it’s about infusing every element with empathy and understanding. Representation makes a difference, and it’s more than just quickly selecting diverse stock imagery. 

Consider the user first; what do your different audiences need? How can you represent diverse audiences accurately and appropriately? How will they feel about their representation or lack thereof? What is an authentic representation of inclusivity for your brand outside of internal biases? 

Remember to include diverse voices internally where you can, and continue being honest and willing to learn so your audiences find your representation choices genuinely inclusive.  

Cultural sensitivity and authenticity 

To that end, cultural sensitivity and authenticity are also important to consider for accurate representation. Color palette choice, in particular, can play a significant role here. Colors have deep and diverse significance across cultures, and depending on your audience, your choices can either welcome all cultures or inadvertently exclude certain communities. Sometimes, that can take extra research or collaboration, but being nuanced and thoughtful about your approach to color can make a big difference in how inclusive your design feels. 

Embracing the power of inclusive design

Putting these strategies into practice starts with making empathy and honesty the lens through which you view everything you design, and then using that lens as you incorporate accessibility best practices. By embracing diversity and differences in our design choices with authenticity and integrity, we pave the way for a more inclusive future and better experiences for all.

Brands and marketers wield immense power to shape the digital landscape. Alloy can help you harness that power to go beyond the basic principles of inclusive design to create truly uplifting, empowering, and accessible experiences. Together, let’s design a future where every user feels welcomed, valued, and empowered together. Let’s start a conversation.