Inclusive Digital Product Design: The Ultimate Guide for 2023

Digital products have become an essential part of our daily lives. Digital products are influencing our behavior. The digital products in our environment have a significant impact on how we work, interact, and communicate. Digital products, ranging from apps and websites to software and services, are altering the lives of their users.

But Their impact is not consistent. Many people with varying abilities and needs may have difficulty using a particular product. It will limit their ability to take part in the digital landscape. Inclusive digital product design aims to address these inequalities. Creating products that are accessible and usable by people of all abilities and disabilities will make digital products inclusive and personal.

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Our ultimate guide on how to design an inclusive digital product in 2023 will assist designers in determining its purpose and usability.

Understanding Inclusive Digital Product Design

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disabilities. This represents 16% of the world’s population or 1 in 6 of us.

Developing digital products with inclusive features to facilitate this portion of the population can boost the customer ratio. It can also be helpful in terms of business investments. 

That’s why Inclusive digital product design is also known as universal design. It is about creating products for all demographics. Understanding people’s different backgrounds and their requirements creates a sense of belonging. It’s a holistic approach to creating products that can be useful for a wide range of people.

The philosophy goes beyond accessibility standards. It aims to provide an optimal user experience for all individuals, even those with disabilities. As humans, diversity is an inherent part of ourselves. Therefore, design should reflect this reality. As a digital designer, crafting an app for a black man will be different for a white man. You will lose incisivity in your design.

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The Importance of Inclusivity in Digital Products

Developing inclusive digital products is not only a matter of social responsibility, but it is also good business. Consider the following reasons for emphasizing inclusivity in your digital product design process:

1. Expanded Market Reach

Inclusive designs cater to a larger audience. It has the potential to boost user engagement and adoption. Developing digital products using concise market research can increase customer trust and loyalty.

2. Legal and Ethical Responsibilities 

Many countries have laws mandating digital accessibility for people with disabilities. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in legal ramifications.

3. Innovation Through Diversity 

Diversity in ideas can lead to innovation in design. Designers should focus on diversifying their design approach to become more innovative. It can be helpful for crafting inclusive digital product design not only for people with disabilities but for all.

4. Positive Brand Image 

Companies that care about social and cultural values can use their products to promote a positive image. Incorporating specific features to assist people with disabilities into their designs will create a positive brand identity.

Key Principles of Inclusive Digital Product Design

Several key principles guide inclusive digital product design, which informs product creation. These are usable by a broad spectrum of users:

  1. Fair Use: The design should be usable and marketable to people of varying abilities. Everyone should be able to use it in the same way.
  2. Flexibility in Use: Products should accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities without sacrificing usability.
  3. Simple and Intuitive use: The design should be easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language, or current concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information: The design should present information effectively to users, regardless of their sensory abilities, by using various modes of communication.
  5. Tolerance for Error: The design should minimize hazards and errors, allowing users to recover easily from mistakes.
  6. Low Physical Effort: The design should be efficient and comfortable to use with minimal physical effort.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use: The design should provide adequate space and size for interaction, regardless of the user’s physical abilities.

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Strategies for Inclusive Digital Product Design

1. User-Centered Design 

Involve users of various abilities throughout the design process. Conduct usability testing with a diverse group of people. Identify user needs and desires related to a specific product. Be attentive towards minor gestures users have during question-answer segments. Live sessions with real customers can be helpful in identifying pain points and areas for improvement.

2. Accessible Interface Design

Prioritize clear typography. Add appropriate color contrast like soft color palettes and intuitive navigation. Use semantic HTML to ensure proper screen reader compatibility.

3. Keyboard Navigation

Ensure all interactive elements can be navigated using a keyboard alone. Many users rely on keyboard navigation due to motor disabilities.

4. Alternative Text for Images

Provide descriptive alternative text for images. Make visual content accessible to screen reader users.

5. Captioning and Transcripts

Include captions for videos. Provide transcripts for audio content. Make sure that users with hearing impairments can access the information.

6. Responsive Design

Create products that work well across various devices and screen sizes. cater to users who may rely on different types of devices.

7. Testing with Assistive Technologies

Test your product using screen readers. Magnification software, voice recognition tools, and other assistive technologies to identify and address potential issues.

8. Consistent Layout and Design

Maintain a consistent layout and design throughout the product. It will help users navigate and understand the interface more easily.

9. Progressive Enhancement

Build your product with a core functionality that works without JavaScript or advanced features. Ensure compatibility with a broader range of devices and user abilities.

Best Practices for Inclusive Digital Product Design

1. Educate Your Team

Ensure that your design and development teams are well-versed in inclusive design principles and accessibility standards. Build strong mutual understanding and communication between design team members. It will help achieve the end goal with success.

2. Document Accessibility Guidelines

Create an accessibility style guide or checklist to standardize the design and development process. Record each step of your design process and watch each one of them.

3. Collaborate with Diverse Users

Engage your users with disabilities as well as experts in the field of accessibility to gain insights and feedback during the design process. This is a great way of improving your design quality.

4. Continuous Evaluation and Improvement

Regularly assess your product’s accessibility and usability, and implement changes based on feedback and evolving accessibility standards.

5. Stay Updated

Keep updated on the latest accessibility guidelines, standards, and technologies to ensure your product remains inclusive.

Inclusive Design Tools and Resources

  • Screen Readers: NVDA, JAWS, VoiceOver
  • Color Contrast Checkers: WebAIM’s Contrast Checker, Color Contrast Analyzer
  • Accessibility Validators: WAVE, Axe Accessibility
  • User Testing Platforms: UserTesting, UserZoom, Maze
  • Training and Courses: Coursera’s “Web Accessibility” by University of London, Udacity’s “Web Accessibility” course

Real-World Examples of Inclusive Digital Product Design

Apple’s VoiceOver: Apple’s VoiceOver is an innovative real-world example of inclusive digital product design. It is a screen reader that comes built-in with their devices. It’s designed to provide spoken descriptions of on-screen elements. Allowing users with visual impairments to navigate and interact with their devices.

Google’s Live Caption: Live Caption automatically generates real-time captions for videos and audio on Android devices. This feature can make content accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller: The Microsoft Xbox is a gaming controller that features a customizable design with large buttons and ports. It can enable gamers with limited mobility to play a wide range of video games.

Airbnb’s Accessibility Filters: Airbnb allows users to filter search results based on accessibility features, helping travelers with disabilities find accommodations that suit their specific needs.

Bank of America’s Accessibility Center: Bank of America’s website features an Accessibility Center that provides resources, tutorials, and information about accessible banking services for users with disabilities.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Audio Guide App: MoMA’s app offers audio descriptions and transcripts of artworks, ensuring that visitors with visual or hearing impairments can fully engage with the museum’s exhibits.

Nike’s FlyEase Sneakers: Nike’s FlyEase sneakers use a zipper mechanism to make putting on and taking off shoes easier, catering to individuals with limited dexterity.


Inclusive digital product design is more than a passing trend. It represents an important shift toward creating products that reflect users’ diverse needs and abilities. Designers can create more user-centric digital products with diverse creativity by following our guide. Best practices, strategies, and guidelines will make the end product inclusive and personal. 

Remember that the ultimate goal of inclusive design is to create a world in which technology is an enabler rather than a barrier. It should allow all individuals to participate in the digital age.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is inclusive digital product design?

Inclusive digital product design is a method of developing digital products that are accessible and usable by a wide range of users, including those with disabilities. It goes beyond simply meeting accessibility standards to provide a positive user experience for everyone.

2. Why is inclusive design important?

Inclusive design is important because it ensures that digital products are accessible to all users, regardless of ability. It expands the market reach of your product. Assists you in meeting legal obligations. Promotes innovation, and contributes to a positive brand image. 

3. What are some key principles of inclusive design?

Fair use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, error tolerance, low physical effort, and adequate size and space for approach and use are key principles of inclusive design.

4. How can I ensure my digital product is inclusive?

Include users of varying abilities in your design process, prioritize accessible interface design, provide keyboard navigation, provide alternative text for images, include captions and transcripts, and test with assistive technologies to ensure your digital product is inclusive.

5. Are there any real-world examples of inclusive digital products?

Yes, several businesses have created inclusive digital products. Products that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity include Apple’s VoiceOver, Google’s Live Caption, and Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller.

6. What tools can I use to test my product’s accessibility?

To test your product’s accessibility, you can use tools such as screen readers (NVDA, JAWS, VoiceOver), color contrast checkers (WebAIM’s Contrast Checker, Color Contrast Analyzer), accessibility validators (WAVE, Axe Accessibility), and user testing platforms (UserTesting, UserZoom).

7. How can I educate my team about inclusive design?

Provide training sessions, workshops, and courses on inclusive design principles and accessibility standards to your team. Online courses such as Coursera’s “Web Accessibility” and Udacity’s “Web Accessibility” can be extremely useful.

8. What are some best practices for inclusive design?

Best practices for inclusive design include educating your team, collaborating with diverse users, documenting accessibility guidelines, continuously evaluating and improving your product’s accessibility, and staying up to date on the latest accessibility standards.

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