Building a go to market strategy that includes user experience
Are you an agile startup or an established company retooling their process? If so, you’ve probably either heard “inclusive design” a thousand times or not at all- neither of those scenarios are good. The first one implies that it’s already become a meaningless buzzword for you and has lost its impact- just say “inclusive” once in a while to show you’re aware of it, and do business as usual. The second implies that you’ve missed the growing awareness that inclusive design- also called universal design- should be an essential part of planning a user experience, probably because there (unfortunately) isn’t enough education on this essential topic out there.
Whichever situation defines you, we want to bring you up to speed- with some REAL answers about what inclusive design is, but also how it isn’t just something to think about when design begins- it’s something to think about in your GTM strategy before you even start prototyping.
First, let’s clear up a common bit of confusion AND give you a thought exercise to help you start thinking of inclusive design in a useful way: inclusive design and accessibility is not the same. There are similar considerations in both cases, but they’re different in their approach and philosophy.
So, compare these two very similar images of wheelchair solutions on NYC buses:
Both of these implementations serve the function of helping passengers using wheelchairs to board the bus, and both succeed. Now, imagine using each of these boarding designs as a person without a wheelchair, and as a person in a wheelchair. Which one offers the most similar experience to everyone, and which one adds a solution onto an existing or traditional design? The first design
Hopefully you’ve concluded the one on the left is the first answer, and the one on the right is the second. This is a simple example of inclusion vs. accessibility: inclusion seeks to create a user experience (boarding the bus) that allows as many participants as possible to enjoy as similar an experience as possible; accessibility seeks to retrofit an existing design to bring more participants (literally or figuratively) on board. Besides clearing up the semantic confusion, we want two other important takeaways from this exercise to be:
Inclusive design requires thinking ahead and incorporating diverse user conditions from the very beginning of the design process.
This is also a GTM consideration: inclusive design is more cost effective and less time consuming than accessibility add-ons or redesigns. If you make these principles your own, it will affect your budget and timelines in positive ways.
Inclusive design is its own reward in the marketplace- it always pays dividends.
Accessibility considerations, while often necessary, can frequently make a user experience “clunkier” or “more cumbersome”- think of EVERYONE’s experience of the slow-moving mini-elevator for wheelchair access in the picture on the right, above. Experiences designed inclusively are more likely to be described as “elegant” and “smooth”- big benefits to perceived quality. This also affects GTM considerations- you’re capturing market share likely to be excluded by competing experiences that aren’t inclusive, and you don’t have to segment your marketing for an experience that is made for everyone.
Since a big part of inclusive design is adapting the way we think, plan, and visualize our user experiences, we’ll be sharing a lot more ways to exercise your mind to think inclusively- but we hope you enjoyed these very important fundamentals!