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Inclusive design

Accessibility matters in all aspects of business. Inclusive design is a general approach to help ensure that products and services address the needs of the widest possible audiences and are accessible to all.

Lady in an office in front of a whiteboard

What is meant by Inclusive Design?

Whilst it can be easy and tempting to build solutions based upon our own needs and experiences, if you are designing solutions which will impact other people (specific customers, colleagues or the general public), it is imperative to consider the needs of different users so that you do not unintentionally exclude anyone.

Inclusive design begins with curiosity; thinking proactively about how others may experience or use a product or service based on their ability or way of working.

Some example high level considerations:

  • How will blind people use my website?
  • Do Deaf customers have an accessible alternative to contacting us by phone?
  • Will wheelchair users have easy access around this space?
  • Will this be easy to read and understand for someone with Dyslexia?
  • Is this button easy to push if you have a dexterity impairment?

Inclusive design affects the way we approach project design, how we develop the design process and the tangible end result.

Inclusive design is key to accessible design but in reality a business will benefit from designing products and services to be inclusive for all customers, and there are lots of great examples of how inclusive design can benefit everyone:

  • Ramps, which benefit those with prams and suitcases - not just wheelchair users
  • Mobile web chat systems which benefit those on-the-go - as well as those who can’t use the telephone
  • Subtitles on videos which benefit people watching filmed content in a noisy space – as well as people with a hearing impairment.
  • Barclays is committed to the principal of inclusive design, which helps us to get it right first time. Retrospectively adapting for accessibility is time consuming and costly
  • We have created a video to help people who build digital technology to think about the need for inclusive design. Watch the short film Let’s Talk Accessibility to understand more (opens in a new window).
  • We have leveraged Inclusive Design Principles from best practice created by The Paciello Group^ (opens in a new window) and created our very own Inclusive Design Principles infographics. We’ve created both a single page version as well as individual posters.

One Page A3 Inclusive Design Principles PDF† (543KB) (Opens in a new window)

Individual Posters A4 Inclusive Design Principles PDF† (2MB) (Opens in a new window)

We've created ways to help our colleagues understand and deliver inclusive design, from initial project design, throughout implementation and into customer service. This ensures we are embedding our vision into the heart of our operations.

Arsenal FC - Case Study
“Arsenal formed a disabled supporters working group to help shape and inform their decisions and improve facilities for those with disabilities”

Alun Francis, Disability Liaison Officer,
Arsenal Football Club

What Inclusive Design is What Inclusive Design is not
Considering and including all users at the start of a project Making assumptions i.e. that everyone wants to be treated the same 
Making conscious, informed decisions Just about physical impairments that we can see or hear; impairments are often invisible (e.g. learning difficulties)
Using subject matter experts and consultants to help shape the project design at the outset About disability; it is about discrimination. All customers have the right to access services in a fair and equal way
User test ‘the product’ with different people in a safe environment.  Plan this research into projects and ensure feedback is acted upon A numbers game. Complaints are not a true view of how our customers feel; some ‘walk away’ without telling us how they feel
Robustly documenting all design decisions made throughout the project, including any external access consultant recommendations Too expensive. Often inclusive design costs little to implement yet brings real value
Having the confidence to advertise products and services as inclusive Time intensive. This shouldn’t be a defence – the right input at the start and throughout will save time in retro-fitting solutions or solving complaints
Attitudinal as well as physical – the way we deliver our services needs to be as inclusive and accessible as the way we design our products  

Diverse Personas

A group of six animated diverse persona characters

We use our Diverse Personas guides to help people designing products and services understand the needs of customers with disabilities. They have been designed to provide an insight into how people with disabilities might interact differently with products and services and are created in consultation with accessibility experts and people with disabilities. We find these personas help us to think about the impact on wider audiences, and how to create better products and services for everyone.

These personas are a starting point; each representative persona – as with our customers – could have additional preferences not described in their story here; we try never to forget that every set of human circumstances is unique, so that we move on from ‘one size fits all’ solutions.

Read the Diverse Personas Issue 1 PDF† (3.4MB) (opens in a new window)
Read the Diverse Personas Issue 2 PDF† (3.8MB) (opens in a new window)

Watch the suite of videos on accessibility perspectives and assistive technologies in action^ (opens in a new window). The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative state that accessibility is essential for some people and useful for everyone.

Guiding Principles of Accessibility

As part of our commitment to being inclusive we have developed guidelines that we strive to follow internally but also now ask our third party suppliers to comply with to ensure accessibility in the services we offer. Any accessible system must be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR).

Implementing the POUR principles places our customers, colleagues, and clients, at the centre of what we create. Accessibility is much more than the application of technical requirements; it is all about the people.

Read the Guiding Principles PDF† (137KB) (opens in a new window)

Read our Principles of Accessibility infographic PDF† (189KB) (opens in a new window)

Sharing expectations and ambitions with our suppliers

Whether we build new products and services through projects or buy them through suppliers, it’s important that we share an inclusive design mind-set and formally consider accessibility requirements. We do this by making publicly available our accessibility standards on our supplier site (opens in a new window) along with useful resources such as our principles and diverse personas. We explicitly ask and evaluate accessibility within new supplier selection decisions. This helps to embed accessibility into everything we change and build as well as informing and encouraging suppliers on its importance.

External Information Sources

We have benefited from expert external support in building our knowledge and experience we want to share these resources so that other businesses may benefit from the work we’ve done to embed accessibility and inclusive design at Barclays:

  • AbilityNet^ (opens in a new window) – AbilityNet provide a range of high quality paid for services that help disabled people success at work, at home and in education
  • Creating a Fairer Britain^ (opens in a new window) - Guidance for service providers about their duties under the Equality Act 2010
  • Inclusive Design Toolkit^ (opens in a new window) - Developed by the University of Cambridge, Engineering Design Centre this link provides guidance and resources reflecting twelve years of Inclusive Design research.
  • Inclusive Environments Hub^ (opens in a new window) – Led by the Design Council, the Inclusive Environments initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of designing places that meet the needs of the diversity of people who want to use them. It contains practical resources and best practice guidance applicable to building and outdoor spaces in all phases of development.
  • WebAIM^ (opens in a new window) - WebAIM are a not for profit organisation offering complete web accessibility services. Regardless of the type or size of your website, using WebAIM will help to ensure that your site is accessible and usable to those with disabilities.
  • A study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Forrester Consulting PDF†^ (1.5MB) (opens in a new window) in June 2016 measured the value of accessibility programmes in organisations in terms of enabling and empowering a diverse workforce, driving customer experience and financial performance for the organisation. The study helps to better understand drivers, benefits and challenges of leveraging accessible technologies as a result of surveying and interviewing European private and public sector organisations.
  • Business Disability Forum’s (BDF) Technology Taskforce^ (opens in a new window)is an initiative that brings together some of the World’s largest procurers and suppliers of ICT in order to address technological barriers faced by disabled or older customers and colleagues. It provides a collaborative space for like-minded accessibility experts and the business world to share best practice, information and inspiration with one another.

Learn more about making your business accessible

Inclusive workplaces
Attracting, supporting and developing a diverse workforce.

Inclusive customer service
We have created various support tools to help understand the needs of customers with different disabilities.

Collaboration and knowledge-sharing
Great things can happen when you work together with like-minded individuals and organisations.

How can we help?

To discuss switching to Corporate Banking at Barclays, call us on: 0800 015 4242 *