Three Keys to Making Products and Marketing For All

There are three key themes in making products and marketing accessible and inclusive. By embracing these themes, technology companies can ensure that their products and their marketing addresses the entire population of customers. Universal design, inclusive design and inclusive marketing are key says Mohanbir Sawhney, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management.

Universal Design

The first step in making products accessible to all is designing to appeal to the largest population of consumers without needing adaptation. This is “universal design,” which challenges designers to think more carefully about how to create a product that can be used by the largest number of people.

Inclusive Design

Consider Apple’s efforts in promoting universal design. Users who are visually impaired can enable features that allow them to hear what is being displayed on the screen and to navigate by voice. Similarly, its Facetime video-chat feature has such high-quality resolution, it can be used by those who use sign language.

Increasing accessibility is a personal passion for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who has a child with cerebral palsy and has championed inclusion for persons with disabilities in the workplace and in product design. Microsoft is launching its Xbox Adaptive Controller designed for persons with disabilities. Instead of using traditional buttons, the controller features nineteen jacks and programmable buttons. This is about more than entertainment, games can serve as a way to connect and engage with the world.

Inclusive Marketing

Inclusion in marketing is the opposite of “diversity marketing” that calls out differences. Inclusive marketing seeks to reach as many people as possible to get them involved. Inclusive marketing reaches out to segments of customers who face harmful stereotypes and need to be empowered.

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