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To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on the 16th of May 2019, which focuses on digital accessibility and inclusive design for all, Hilary Stephenson, Managing Director at user experience agency Sigma, has shared her top tips for inclusive web design.

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Hilary Stephenson

Sigma focuses on inclusive design for people of ranging abilities across the UK. The team helps organisations to design with their intended audience, test their apps and websites with users, and train design and development teams in accessibility.


From ordering groceries via an app to booking a doctor’s appointment online, our modern lives are increasingly digital-by-default.

While this creates convenience for many, people with ranging abilities are often left out; unable to use these platforms (and access the services and information they need) due to poor digital design.

Clearly, therefore, improving the situation is a moral imperative. But it’s a commercial one, too. The “purple pound” is worth around £249 billion to the global economy and if organisations fail to engage with this demographic, they could be significantly sacrificing bottom lines. Indeed, it has previously been estimated that, in the UK alone, businesses lose around one in five customers by ignoring the needs of disabled people. Of course, this is not just a digital problem.

Initiatives such as Global Accessibility Awareness Day are helping to draw attention to the problem, but there is still so much more to do. With the above in mindhow can businesses ensure their digital platforms are fully inclusive?

Here are our top tips:

  • Consider the digital skills of those accessing the website or app, to remove any barriers to engagement. Ask them for feedback regularly.
  • Invite users with ranging abilities and needs to take part in usability sessions throughout the platform’s design process. This will help assess how effective certain features are and highlight areas that need to be improved.
  • Include features such as adjustable text size, optional visual effects, close-captioned or signed videos and links in which the clickable area is larger than the surrounding text.
  • Constrain choices and actions so that people aren’t overwhelmed by too many options
  • Make content easy to understand. Try to use the language that people use day-to-day
  • Make design choices in the typography and use of colour that make content more legible, easier to digest and scan quickly
  • In navigation, give people quick routes to the information they need, and minimise the number of steps needed to complete an action so that people can achieve their goals quickly and easily
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