Leveraging Technology to Overcome Barriers to Inclusion

technology accessibility

In Australia alone, at least 5 million consumers are vulnerable to exclusion due to technology accessibility challenges. A recent study by WebAIM estimates that only 1% of websites and applications are prepared to accommodate them with basic accessibility standards. That design exclusion leaves over $40 billion in untapped, disposable income in the hands of the elderly and those living with disabilities.

Companies increasingly talk about equity of access being a basic human right, and celebrate inclusion as an ethical best practice, yet most fall short when it comes to execution.

How can you help your organization deliver more inclusive products and services—and how might this shift be a game-changer for your business?

Fostering True Innovation Through Inclusion

True innovation is fostered through the inclusion of diverse perspectives and needs. When you put those needs at the center of your design process, not only do you make your products and services more accessible, but you also make them better. Inclusive design provides more opportunities for innovation, while improving the customer experience for all by designing for the widest group.

One example of this is closed captioning, a solution that was originally designed for viewers who are hard of hearing. Bars and restaurants now use it to show multiple sports events at the same time, without creating a cacophony of noise, while doctor’s offices use it to provide patients with a quiet distraction. Viewers at home use it to enjoy programs in different languages or with challenging accents, and their children use it at school as an educational tool for those with learning disabilities.

Making the shift to greater inclusivity and accessibility begins with inclusive design. Below we have highlighted some of the ways that you can empower that shift within your organization.

  • Break patterns of exclusion. Exclusion is largely unintentional, based on personal biases and experiences, but it contributes to denying individuals access to goods and services that others take for granted. Breaking those patterns begins with being more mindful of the choices you make in the language, visuals, and functions within your design process. It’s about considering how users other than yourself and your colleagues interact with your product or your brand.
  • Develop with people, not for them. Trying to imagine needs you may not share in a user experience you have not lived can lead to tunnel vision—and that narrow perception can create false assumptions about success. Collaborating with the people you are trying to accommodate not only provides real experiences to base design decisions on, but it also provides those communities with a voice, turning consumers into brand advocates.
  • Champion inclusive research. Inclusive research minimizes exclusion by challenging our assumptions about how others experience products and services. Championing inclusion from a design perspective starts with inviting marginalized users to be a part of the process, and then adapting how you communicate, design, develop, and test to enable and empower their participation throughout.
  • Prioritize accessibility. Ensuring your products and services are accessible is fundamental to inclusion, but accessibility is too often treated as an afterthought, with organizations looking to fix or enhance things post-launch. Technology accessibility should be integrated into your design team’s workflow from the very beginning, with identifying potential barriers, setting shared goals, and evaluating progress throughout the delivery process.

Expanding Reach and Reducing Costs Through Inclusivity

Are you currently designing and building technology that potentially (and unintentionally) excludes over 20% of users, leaving billions of dollars in revenue inaccessible? If so, you’re not alone, but as more companies begin making the shift to inclusive design, you certainly risk falling behind. Making the shift to inclusive design begins with prioritizing accessibility and designing with people, not just for them.

By designing your technology with accessibility in mind you can reach up to 4x the customers while reducing your own long-term costs—and improve your products and services for all customers.

Contact us to learn more about how Concentrix Catalyst can help you to build inclusivity into your digital engineering, strategy, and design.