When you create content, be mindful that users have diverse needs and abilities.
Why be inclusive?
As government services move onto digital platforms, we need to make sure they work for everyone. There are many diverse user groups in our population. Currently, many have limited access to digital services or are excluded from them.
Diverse groups include:
- people with low digital skills
- people with low literacy
- older people or seniors
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
- people with cognitive or physical disability
- people who are blind or have a vision impairment
- people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment
- people living in rural or remote locations
- people accessing the internet on mobile devices
Accessibility issues affect many users across a variety of demographics.
Accessibility issues may include:
- web content that is difficult to understand
- websites not tailored to screen readers
- websites that are difficult to navigate using smartphones
- content too big to download with a low data limit
By addressing accessibility and diversity, we can make our content simple and easy to understand.
You can find guidance about Accessibility and inclusivity in the Content Guide.
Include diverse users
Understanding and being inclusive of diverse user groups should be an ongoing consideration.
You need to:
- develop empathy for diverse users, and their needs and abilities
- challenge your personal biases and assumptions about diverse user groups
- make services accessible for diverse users regardless of their abilities and environments
- recruit and include diverse users when you conduct end-to-end usability testing
- consider user needs and abilities when conducting research
- allow any type of user to switch to non-digital channels if needed
Always ask what the user need is and how to meet this need. Be careful not to exclude user groups or make assumptions about what services they might need.
Encourage and enable users to choose and use digital services successfully. Specifically:
- use plain English
- deliver a simple and consistent pathway through government websites
- give access to translated content and supporting documentation
- use icons, pictures and visual cues that add to the text content
When you include diverse users in research activities, cater for any access needs or other considerations.
Engage with specialists
You don’t need to work alone. Diversity and inclusivity specialists can help with creating inclusive content.
When doing user research, you can engage with trusted intermediaries. For example, these may include multicultural service officers in your agency. They can help you:
- address inclusivity considerations
- ensure your research questions are appropriate
- engage CALD users and help with hosting research in a neutral space — this can be more effective than doing user research in a government offices
You can also:
- engage a subject expert to work with your team — this can ensure you understand and consider issues that affect diverse users
- engage with government or industry working groups, such as the Commonwealth Working Group on CALD Digital Design — email firstname.lastname@example.org
Encourage empathy for users
Some ways to encourage empathy for diverse users in your team and organisation are to:
- include team members in usability testing
- share your diversity and inclusivity findings with your team and organisation
- Involve the team in researchEveryone in the team should be involved in watching and analysing research with real users.
- How to make your research inclusiveInclude users with access needs and those who don’t currently use digital services.
- Consent forms for user researchEnsure your users are comfortable and feel safe sharing their experiences.
- Accessibility and inclusivityDesign content so everyone can use it.