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The Business Case for Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is a topic that should be on everyone's radar, whether you're a startup, developer, leader of a large organization, or simply an engaged citizen interested in the topic. While the importance of creating products and services that are accessible and inclusive to all is clear, it's often easier said than done. Many organizations may find themselves overwhelmed with the task of addressing inclusive design or may not even know where to start. However, the benefits of inclusive design are clear and far-reaching, and cannot be ignored.

Here are the top 5 reasons why your organization, regardless of size or industry, needs to prioritize inclusive design.


Inclusive design describes methodologies to create products that understand and enable people of all backgrounds and abilities. It may address accessibility, age, economic situation, geographic location, language, race, and more. - Nielson Norman Group

Arrow painted on concrete

1. Inclusive design can improve your bottom line

A study by Accenture found that companies that prioritize inclusive design outperformed their peers by 70% in terms of financial performance. This is because inclusive design leads to better products and services that appeal to a wider customer base. By improving usability and accessibility for all, you can increase customer satisfaction, reduce complaints, and ultimately increase revenue.

  • According to a report by the Return on Disability Group, the global market potential of customers with disabilities is worth $8 trillion.

  • In a survey by Click-Away Pound, 69% of customers with access needs will click away from a website they find difficult to use, potentially resulting in lost revenue.

An office workspace that can be used by people in office chairs and wheelchairs

2. Inclusive design can increase employee productivity

Inclusive design doesn't just benefit your customers, it also benefits your employees. A report by the Job Accommodation Network found that 58% of accommodations made for employees with disabilities cost nothing, while the remaining accommodations cost an average of just $500. These accommodations, such as ergonomic workstations or assistive technology, can improve employee productivity and reduce absenteeism.

  • A study by Deloitte found that companies with inclusive cultures are 6 times more likely to be innovative and 2 times more likely to meet or exceed financial targets.

  • According to a report by the World Health Organization, creating an inclusive workplace can reduce absenteeism by up to 20%.

People talking and smiling

3. Inclusive design is the right thing to do

As an organization, you have a responsibility to be inclusive and accessible to all members of society. In Canada, 22% of the population has a disability, and failure to design for their needs means you're not serving a significant portion of your potential customer base. By prioritizing inclusive design, you demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility and diversity and inclusion.

  • In a survey by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, 90% of Canadians agreed that persons with disabilities should have the same opportunities as others to access goods and services.

  • The Canadian government has committed to achieving a barrier-free Canada by 2040, as outlined in the Accessible Canada Act.

  • According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, accessible design improves the overall usability of a product or service for all users, not just those with disabilities.

4. Inclusive design can help you avoid legal issues

The awareness regarding the importance of accessibility is on the rise, and more people are resorting to legal means to bring about the required changes for genuine accessibility.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have strict requirements for accessibility that organizations must comply with. While not in Alberta, these examples demonstrate that accessibility failures can result in costly legal battles, negative publicity, and damage to your brand reputation. By prioritizing inclusive design from the beginning, you can avoid these issues altogether.

  • In 2017, a Toronto-based company was fined $100,000 for violating the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), demonstrating the financial risks of non-compliance.

  • The UK government is planning to introduce a new law that will require public sector websites and apps to meet accessibility standards, further highlighting the legal implications of poor design.

  • Failure to provide accessible products or services can result in legal action. In 2021, the United States saw a record-breaking year with 2,352 federal lawsuits filed against businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Different brush strokes on paper

5. Inclusive design can improve your innovation and creativity

Designing for a diverse range of needs and abilities requires innovation and creativity. By prioritizing inclusive design, you encourage your team to think creatively and outside of the box, leading to more innovative solutions and a competitive edge in your industry.

  • According to a report by McKinsey, gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers.

  • In a survey by the Design Management Institute, design-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 219% over a 10-year period, demonstrating the business benefits of prioritizing design.

Inclusive design is not just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have for any organization looking to improve its bottom line, increase employee productivity, demonstrate social responsibility, avoid legal issues, and foster innovation and creativity. IncluCity's services can help you achieve these goals and take your organization to the next level.


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