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Inclusive design

How to ensure products & services are embraced by your market.

Inclusive design answers important market engagement questions

  Are there unintended ways we may be limiting access to our content, products, or services?  

  How can we avoid making our users feel excluded by our products or services?  

  Can we make our products or services easier to use for everyone?  

  Can we grow our market share by delivering more inclusive products and services?  

We’re here to help you answer these and other questions that improve engagement with your market.

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Today’s most successful products and services leverage inclusive approaches

Traditionally, products and services have been designed for a more generalized market, or an average person. It was thought that, by designing to general standards, you could serve about 80% of people in a market but this approach has a number of risks associated with it because there is no average person.

There is no average person, so we must design for the needs of the individuals who make up the diverse markets we serve.

The users of your products and services are individuals with ever changing needs, behaviour, and contexts of engagement. The most effective products and services are designed through a process of understanding how personal and intersectional attributes shape markets.

Our inclusive design toolkit

Market and organizational research

Exploratory research includes interviews with users (to better understand their needs and goals when using your product or service), and interviews with stakeholders.

Throughout this phase of a project, we ensure a diverse range of voices are heard. Part of this process is being intentional about engaging with the variety of community members who make up your market. Our existing relationships and community outreach efforts consider members of LGBTQ+, indigenous, and groups of people with different physical and cognitive abilities, alongside our practices of ensuring representation by gender, race, cultural, religious, and economic factors.

Strategic planning

Based on research insights, we develop a roadmap for design, development, and production.

As part of an inclusive design process, we develop this strategy by mapping out user needs, contexts of use, and behaviours, rather than focusing on demographics or traditional marketing personas.

When we consider the internal team, we look at individual work, digital maturity, team dynamics, and team makeup to understand where there may be process, resource, and capability gaps in order to develop a plan to overcome barriers of delivering rewarding inclusive experiences.

Designing inclusively, from concept to delivery

Throughout the design process, we work through a series of inclusive design best practices to define experiences and outcomes that embrace users with a wide range of intersectional traits and behaviours, including considerations around identity, culture, and worldview.

As a part of this approach, our inclusive design process includes co-designing and reviewing in-progress work and prototypes with diverse users. This way, your product or service can excel at delighting all your potential users by ensuring these perspectives and needs are baked into the service model and user experience.

Better still, the inclusive design process reduces the total design, development, production, and support costs and risks when compared to a traditional product development process.

Inclusive product or service validation and continuous improvement

Throughout the planning and development process, we use ongoing user testing processes to improve the strategy, design, and experience, to ensure your products and services are serving the market in the most effective way.

In the context of inclusive design, this means being intentional about who we are engaging with from the market. By continuing this process of speaking to and testing with diverse users, we can continue to validate choices that impact the full spectrum of the market.

The series of user testing methodologies at our disposal allows us to effectively uncover the most practical insights at each stage of the development cycle. Whether we are facilitating workshops, conducting interviews, running a usability test, surveying, or analyzing data, our ability to sort and synthesize findings, alongside our decades of technology and human-centered design experience, de-risks and accelerates any product or service design effort. With an inclusive lens added to this mix, you’ll have access to the most extensive validation processes available for vetting your products and services.

Accessibility for all as standard practice

As part of our inclusive design objectives, we work to design and develop your products and services with accessibility guidelines in mind. Not only does this approach open up new market opportunities by ensuring your products and services are functionally accessible for users with disabilities or other accommodation needs, but this approach helps improve access for all.

Let’s explore how this toolkit can help your organization multiply your product and service successes.

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Related services and resources

User research

We use a variety of methodologies for user research. These methods can range from qualitative interviews and workshops, using quantitative surveying and analytics, observation, and usability testing. All to understand what’s working and where we can improve organizational processes and people, and better serve the market with more aligned products and services.

Learn more about user research

System strategy

System strategy helps accelerate internal decision-making with an approach that uncovers key opportunities to drive customer engagement and retention while optimizing operations. We achieve this by mapping internal capabilities and consumer objectives in order to define an effective roadmap that meets organizational and market needs.

Learn more about our system strategy process

Inclusive website design

Deliver a responsive, accessible, and delightful website that welcomes your entire market to engage with your content, products, and services.

Learn more about inclusive website design

Achieving digital excellence

From communications to product to organizational efficiency, operating online involves significant depth of expertise. With digital channels and consumer touchpoints extending beyond online to in-person and at home, success in the connected age requires a breadth of expertise that defines your organization’s digital maturity and capabilities.

Learn more about achieving digital excellence

Select inclusive design clients

  • Ontario
  • Toronto Public Library
  • WSIB Ontario
  • World Wide Web Foundation
  • Tourism Toronto
  • Kanetix
  • Nymi
  • Service Ontario

Let’s explore how delivering more inclusive products and services can help you win diverse markets.

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