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The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design

Inclusive Design is where innovation and imagination flourish. Meeting the needs of the widest variety of people does not inhibit creativity. It opens our minds and inspires excellence.

When Sandi was Managing Director of digital agency Copious, as a way to articulate Copious' approach to web design for internal use within the agency, Sandi drew from her love of architecture and created The Seven Principles of Inclusive Web Design, which she included as an appendix when she co-wrote UK Government's eAccessibility Action Plan in October 2010.

As Copious grew, the principles were expanded and then launched by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to coincide with Sandi's article in .net magazine that used the principles to illustrate how web designers and developers can make websites inclusive for all.

Source: Sandi's Blog

The principles

  1. Equitable
  2. Flexible
  3. Straightforward
  4. Perceptible
  5. Informative
  6. Preventative
  7. Tolerant
  8. Effortless
  9. Accommodating
  10. Consistent

  1. Equitable

    Be welcoming, don't discriminate and engage with people. Create different user experiences and make certain they have equally valuable outcomes. Aesthetics matter.

  2. Flexible

    Provide options. Think who, how, why, what, where & when people will be using your website. Make sure there is choice for diverse users and maintain device independence.

  3. Straightforward

    Be obvious and not ambiguous. Make sure your website's features add value, not complexity. Remember, good design is as little design as possible.

  4. Perceptible

    Don't assume anything. Make sure your website's purpose is clear, its content, structure and sequence are meaningful and convey information to all of the senses.

  5. Informative

    Make sure people know where they are on your website and provide different ways for them to find what they're looking for. Be timely, predictable, uncomplicated and precise.

  6. Preventative

    Provide easy to follow instructions and gently guide users in interacting with your website. Help them to minimise errors when submitting data, through well considered form design.

  7. Tolerant

    Handle errors respectfully and indicate precisely what the error is, where it is and how to fix it. Remember to let people know the outcome.

  8. Effortless

    Don't make demands or place restrictions on your users. People should not have to work or think hard to find what they want on your website. Ensure it can be used efficiently and effectively.

  9. Accommodating

    Be approachable, uncluttered and give people room to manoeuvre. Make sure that your website is unobtrusive and can be accessed by different devices of all shapes and sizes.

  10. Consistent

    Follow standards, guidelines, conventions and best practices. Provide a familiar environment with memorable functionality.