What’s Inclusive Design?

Inclusive Design aims to make the product accessible and useful to as many people as possible, by using a design, words and ideas that are easy to understand and not biased. Inclusive Design does not try to create a one-size-fits-all solution but rather considers the barriers and challenges that different users may face. Today, I want to share with you how inclusive design can be applied to copywriting.

Consider this: anyone who is involved in making communication decisions is also a designer. There can be a Graphic Designer, a Writing Designer, or even a Developer Designer. By working together, they can create a design experience that reaches a wider and more diverse audience. They can make the difference between appealing to a large group of people and respecting the individuality of each person.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive Design is not the same as accessibility.

Accessibility is the design of products, or services, that can be used by people with disabilities. Inclusive Design, on the other hand, is the design of products or services that can benefit not only people with disabilities, but also as many people as possible, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, or other factors. For example, printing some instructions with the braille writing system will help blind people, while printing them with clear and specific illustrations will help illiterate people.

Everyone has different identities or characteristics that shape them as individuals. Depending on the context, a person may emphasize one aspect of their identity over another. For instance, a white gay man in a wheelchair may introduce himself as a man, as gay, or as someone with a disability. Similarly, a tall black woman may identify herself as a black woman or as a tall person, depending on the situation.

Diversity and Exclusion

People have different identities that are shaped by various factors, such as age, sex, gender, religion, and abilities, among many others. These factors can create diversity, but also discrimination.

Intersectionality is a concept that was developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the late 1980s. It means that these factors can interact and influence each other. Crenshaw wanted to show that when we think about equality, we need to consider more than one factor that can make someone face discrimination or hostility. For example, a tall black woman may experience racism and heightism at the same time.

When we define ourselves, we often use our perspective as a standard, ignoring the factors that we may share with many other people. Some factors may be more vulnerable to social discrimination than others. When we are not inclusive, we are creating exclusion. For instance, a form that asks for gender and only offers “male” and “female” options excludes other gender identities. When someone writes in Valencian and Microsoft Word marks dialectal differences as errors, it excludes a dialect. These are examples of exclusion.

Inclusive Design in Copywriting

As I said, anyone who participates in the design process is a designer by default. In this case, a Copywriter is responsible for writing a message that puts people at the centre and avoids any kind of personal biases. Here are three examples of Inclusive Writing Design:

  • Planning a clear structure helps some people with cognitive disabilities to read.
  • Using gender-neutral language is inclusive of all gender identities.
  • Writing with clear and simple language makes the text accessible to people with low literacy levels.

One of the clear advantages of using Inclusive Writing Design is that we can reach a larger and more diverse audience, whether the text is specifically designed for them or not:

  • A clear structure is easier to remember.
  • Gender-neutral language makes everyone feel included and respected.
  • Clear and simple language facilitates skimming and scanning when we want to get the information quickly.

Often, Inclusive Design benefits other people, even if it was not originally intended for them. A design innovation for a minority group can be an improvement for other groups and even for the majority. Writing in a way that is usable for diversity and disability is writing in a way that is usable for many.

If you have any questions about this topic, leave your comment below. If you want to use part of the content of this article you can do it as long as you reference and link to it. And if you want to contact me for any private matter, you can fill out the contact form. Thank you very much for reading me.

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