Understanding the Key Difference Between Inclusive Design and Accessible Design

Updated on :October 18, 2023
By :Hardik Shah

When it is about the different design approaches, inclusive design and accessible design are the most commonly used ones. While both inclusive designs and accessible designs belong to the same family, they are different. As the two terms are closely related, people find it difficult to understand the key differences. So, if you are still wondering about the difference, here is everything that you need to know.

What Is Inclusive Design?

Inclusive design refers to the methods of designing your website in such a way that it appeals to the people of diverse cultures and engages them with the products and services of your brand. Inclusive design helps in evaluating your products and services during the design process and makes them genuinely inclusive. It mainly focuses on diversity and makes it possible for everyone to get involved to the maximum extent.

Inclusion design forms the foundation of providing the users of different abilities, backgrounds, and experiences with similar user experience. It takes into consideration the social, cultural, and other important factors of the average users. Incorporating inclusive design to your products and services will enable your organization to serve your target market segment better, creates new market opportunities, and reduces the potential risks in the current market.

What Is Accessible Design?

On the other hand, accessible design refers to a website’s design that makes it accessible to people with varying abilities. Accessibility makes sure that there does not exist any barrier for businesses to serve all their target customers. Accessibility design tests the usability of different products and services among different user groups and ensures that it is useful for all users. While most people have a perception that accessible design is mainly for disabled people, it is meant to ensure accessibility for all users.

The accessible design includes much more than just serving people with different abilities. Having an accessible design helps organizations in attracting more audiences or customers for their products and services. Moreover, the incorporation of accessible design at the beginning of a project can ensure better cost savings.

Inclusive Design vs. Accessible Design: Key Differences

  1. Inclusive design deals with the methodology or approach of designing, accessible design is a result or outcome of a design project. Inclusive design relates to developing a specific design to ensure that it is fit to be used by people of diverse groups.
  2. Inclusive design aims to offer products and services to a wide spectrum of people with different needs, behaviors, as well as perspectives. It considers the diverse perspectives, identities, and culture during the design process and focuses on the holistic processes and solutions. However, this is not the case with accessible design. Accessible design does not consider the different perspectives, identities, and culture during the design process. Rather, it adapts the content in different modes to ensure better engagement and the interaction of the users.
  3. Inclusive design is more subjective and emotional and less objective and logical. Accessible design is more concerned about containers and structures holding your message, how the information is presented, and the channels carrying the message. On the other hand, the inclusive design focuses on the message itself and concerns how well your target audience will understand.
  4. While inclusive design focuses on the process-based methodology, the main focus of the accessible design is the outcome-based attributes. Inclusive design aims at making products as well as services user-friendly for all the users; accessible design creates products and services mainly for people with different abilities. The inclusive design takes into consideration the different cases of exclusion and finds ways to address them. Accessible design is concerned with the various established standards and laws for getting the right guidance for designing.
  5. While accessible design focuses on understanding the most common types of disabilities, inclusive design aims at understanding that anyone can be affected by exclusion based on different concepts. The inclusive design prioritizes exclusion for any connections and reasons among the people, but inclusive design concentrates on the particular cognitive and physical disabilities.
  6. The accessible design aims at building an equivalent experience for people with disabilities in the digital or physical space by offering accommodations such as curb cuts, keyboards navigation, and other relevant methods. On the other hand, the inclusive design focuses on identifying exclusion and learning from human diversity. It aims at solving specific issues and extending it to others universally. 

Similarities Between Inclusive and Accessible Design 

While there are several differences between accessible design and inclusive design, there exist certain similarities too. The aim of both the design approaches is to ensure that all the digital products, as well as services, are capable of being used by the maximum audience irrespective of the situations and circumstances.

Inclusive design as well as accessible design both works in a collaborative manner to reduce the potential barriers and ensure that the products and services are ideal for use by all types of people. Both the design approaches can gain ideas and understand the ways adopted by people towards technology based on their abilities.  Both inclusive design and accessible design take into consideration that disability occurs between people and their respective environments. 

Winding Up!

The importance of inclusive design and accessible design in reaching out to more customers cannot be overlooked. To make your product and services accessible for all the users, it is important to incorporate both the design approaches. Having a clear understanding of the difference between inclusive design and accessible design will make it easier for you to delight your users the best. The design approaches not only help in enabling all the users to avail of your products and services but also enhance their overall user experiences.

With innovative designs, enhancing the productivity of your organization, and improving your corporate image becomes easy. Adopting and incorporating the inclusive and accessible designs to your products and services is the key to make them more inclusive, accessible, as well as usable. Moreover, with the easy availability of different resources, adopting these designs is no longer a tough task.

Hardik Shah
Hardik Shah

Hardik Shah, Co-founder and CEO at Mobio Solutions – A Business Technology Solutions Company. He is working closely with startups and SMEs, understanding their business idea and mentoring as the technology partner. He worked with clients of fortune 50 FMCG companies.

Read Similar Blogs

How to Hire UI/UX Designers? A Goodfirms Guide

How to Hire UI/UX Designers? A Goodfirms Guide

It is crucial to hire UI/UX designers for your digital product; otherwise, you will lose millions of dollars, and if the worst comes to worst, you may even have ... Read more

The UX Design Trends Then and Now

The UX Design Trends Then and Now

User experience (UX) Design is a process of delivering enhanced and meaningful digital experiences to customers. The term “User Experience,” first c ... Read more

Top Ways To Find The Best Web Design Companies

Top Ways To Find The Best Web Design Companies

Do you want to build your website but don’t know how to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.  From the Big 4 to Startups, in today ... Read more