Inclusive Design

The season of advent is well underway over at 24 ways, with a daily article on an aspect of web development. One title that leaped out at me was What the heck is Inclusive Design? by Heydon Pickering, who is the accessibility editor for Smashing Magazine and works with The Paciello Group as an accessibility and UX consultant. He is the author of a book on Inclusive Design Patterns which should probably be on your wish list.


Inclusive design is a new name for the idea that web accessibility and good user experience benefits everyone, including (but not limited to) people with recognised and registered disabilities. Good readability and well organised content is good for dyslexic users, but also for busy people who don't have time to trawl through your unreadable and badly-organised website.
In short, inclusive design means designing things for people who aren’t you, in your situation. In my experience, mainstream UX isn’t very good at that. By bolting accessibility onto mainstream UX we labor under the misapprehension that most people have a ‘normal’ experience, a few people are exceptions, and that all of the exceptions pertain to disability directly.
Design patterns (like putting your organisation's logo at the top left of your website and making it a link to your homepage, or organising web forms into chunks of information that go together, or what to put in your website's footer) have developed for a reason, and designers ignore them at their peril.

Red baubles by Petr Kratochvil (public domain)

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