In last week’s article, we looked at the practicalities of implementing the inclusive design method for the development of products and services. However, some firms may be reluctant to fully explore inclusive design due to the potential additional costs and development time that it can involve. These costs and time commitments may arise from areas such as learning and implementing new practices, or finding and working with experts and clients who will need to be fairly compensated.
Whilst these can be kept to a minimum, it is better to take the time necessary to fully explore possible solutions and instead focus on the many benefits of inclusive design that should outweigh the initial costs, if conducted effectively.
Better design for all users
By focussing on designing for those with additional or different needs, firms may find they actually end up with a product that better suits their target market as a whole. A good example of this is Monzo’s gambling block, which was designed to create ‘positive friction’ for users who wanted extra help managing their gambling addiction.
The block works by allowing users to switch on a feature on their app that declines any gambling transactions before they go through. Through interacting with clients, Monzo also identified that when caught up in the moment, users may be tempted to turn off the feature. To combat this, the block includes the additional barrier of requiring users to interact with a customer service representative, followed by a 48-hour cooling off period. Recognising the success of this feature, the team at Monzo is investigating its wider applications, such as for others facing compulsive spending or simply those who want extra control to help them stick to a budget.
By working with clients to assess how they interact with a product or service, firms can increase accessibility and ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
Implementing inclusive design will also help firms to ensure they are acting with their customer’s best interests at the core of everything they do and complying with FCA regulations, such as on the treatment of customers with characteristics of vulnerability and the new Consumer Duty.
Requesting and acting on feedback can show clients that you value their custom and improve your brand reputation. This should mean clients will be more loyal to your business, use your services for future purchases and even recommend your firm to others.
Products and services designed for those with additional or different needs will naturally appeal to a wider audience. Although the goal of inclusive design should be to reduce potential harm to customers, from a business perspective, it is hard to ignore that the combined spending power of people with disabilities in the UK alone is estimated at £249 Billion each year. This is without considering the number people with other protected characteristics or those with either long or short-term characteristics of vulnerability.
By considering a wider customer base from the offset, you can reduce the number of issues you might encounter further down the line. Additionally, if issues do occur in the future, you can more quickly make improvements as you already have the connections with experts and clients that can provide feedback to help you understand where or why issues may be arising.