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pro tips for inclusive and accessible design, digital, content and media

How to Make Design, Digital Content and Media Inclusive and Accessible

Aug 15, 2022 Katharine Grant

When we think about inclusion, our minds often jump to people – how we can make sure that no individuals or groups of people are excluded from conversations or happenings. But inclusion efforts also need to translate across our channels, technology, language, functional and visual design, etc. to really make an impact. 

In addition to our PR teams, Inkhouse also has designers, content creators, marketers, digital strategists and media relations specialists to help bring our clients’ stories (and our own stories) to life through different mediums. For this blog, we’ve turned to them to learn how they approach their work through a lens of inclusivity and to crowdsource some best practices.

The tips below aren’t all-encompassing, so make sure to check out the resources listed under each section for more info!

🎨 DESIGN: Jackson Parker Stewart, our senior visual designer and creative lead for DEI initiatives, emphasizes that there’s no such thing as a successful user experience without a heavy focus on accessibility. Here’s what you can do: 

  • User testing, including testing on different devices, helps designers gather feedback from a wider audience and build a more seamless experience for all users.
  • Consistency of elements like headers, footers, navigation, menus and more is key when designing user interfaces.
  • Contrast via color, size, imagery and other graphics is important in inclusive design.
  • Various pathways for folks to move around and out of the digital interface can remove navigational barriers.
  • Balance goes a long way when it comes to the overall design structure and ratio of graphics, text, colors, etc. 
  • Interactive elements can be a creative way to uplevel designs, but remember that too much movement can be distracting or dizzying to some users.  

Medium: Accessibility guidelines for UX Designers

W3C: Designing for Web Accessibility

📱 DIGITAL: Jayde Umemba, our senior digital specialist, reminds us that with 4.7 billion people using social media, it’s a must to make our feeds as inclusive and accessible as possible. Doing so ensures the best user experience for the diverse audiences coming across your profiles. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Closed captions (CCs) in video content give audiences the option to read captions instead of listening to the audio if they need or prefer.  
    Inclusive language is essential for social copy to make sure no individuals or groups are excluded and that everyone is accurately represented in posts.
  • The alt-text feature provides a caption that describes the images you share on social media, which is important for some audiences to visualize the graphics.

Hootsuite: Inclusive Design for Social Media

HubSpot: Inclusive Language

📝 CONTENT: Mateja Lane, our content manager, believes that today’s increasingly digital world is the perfect backdrop for more accessible and inclusive content. Here’s what you can do:

  • Diverse perspectives improve all pieces of communication. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers, who all have different outlooks and ideas, and consider how the content may be received or interpreted. 
  • Structural elements like white space, headers, bullets, pull quotes, etc., increase readability and comprehension for all readers. After all, accessible content is more than the language you use and the story you tell (although these are both super important). 
  • A clear and simple message, communicated with an open and genuine voice, makes your content easier for readers to digest.

AP Stylebook: Inclusive Storytelling Chapter

Harvard: Accessible Content Guidelines 

🎙️ MEDIA: Smitha Rao, our director of media strategy, emphasizes that inclusion comes in all shapes and sizes. No person or group should ever be left behind, and that’s even more important when it comes to representation in the media. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Spokespeople are a great way for companies to showcase their diverse voices and put forward experts from different backgrounds and age groups, and who have unique POVs. 
  • Effective pitches and campaigns highlight an incredible or moving human story using the spokesperson’s unique knowledge and experience. 
  • Differentiators in your spokespeople, campaigns or clients should be embraced. After all, our differences are what make us special, so lean into them for an inclusive media strategy.
  • Inclusive language throughout the entire media relations cycle, including pitches, messaging, commentary and interviews, should be a top priority.

Learn Hub: 8 Expert Tips on Diversity and Inclusion in Public Relations

PR Council: Diversity Talks: Diversity & Inclusion Resource Guide

These tips from our specialists should serve as a useful jumping-off point for your inclusive design, digital content and media efforts in 2022 and beyond. Cheers to continuous learning and applying these tips across all your communications!

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