Benefits of accessible design (with best-in-class examples)

“Accessible design benefits everyone。with clipboard with accessibility logo on first sheet plus "best in class" in lockup.

According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of disability, and that number is increasing dramatically. Accessible design allows people with disabilities to see, navigate, and interact in a world without obstacles. Best of all, designing with accessibility in mind benefits everyone including your business.

Improves usability for everyone

Designing with accessibility in mind can help anyone with a documented disability. But the benefits are far wider than that. Accessible design also improves usability for temporary disabilities, diverse abilities, learning styles, and even a range of technology. It considers the widest user from the outset, meaning that everyone benefits as they can engage with brands more easily.

Strengthens your brand with accessible design

Ensuring your design is accessible strengthens your brand by improving usability. Designs will be less cluttered, clear messaging, with supporting text where appropriate. It also helps build a reputation of being an inclusive business that is considerate of all customers. In fact, 81% of customers would support a company in their community that cares about the disabled. Showing that we are likely to buy from a brand that genuinely cares about people.

81% of customers would support companies that care about people with disabilities

Increase return on investment (ROI)

Accessible design helps you reach a broader audience, thereby increasing profits. You reach an additional 15–20% of the population and this portion of people have a large amount of disposable income. According to UsableNet, the global market for people with disabilities and their associates is estimated to have more than $13 trillion in annual disposable income.

Designing with accessibility in mind also improves your search engine ranking. When companies provide useful alternative text to images, audio, and videos, this makes a website easier to find. Therefore, increasing its ranking and potential ROI.

Reduces lawsuits and complaints

Most countries have laws protecting disabled people. This means it is very likely that your company needs to be compliant, especially if you are living in a developed country. Including accessibility in your design reduces your risk of legal complaints and even lawsuits. The number of ADA Title III website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court in 2021 has increased by 14% compared to 2020 and is accompanied by high litigation costs.

So you can see the benefits of the accessible design are enormous, although ethically we need to design with accessibility in mind regardless. At its core, accessibility means making your product as usable as possible to the greatest number of people. The increased appeal of wider considerations has a positive impact on everyone including businesses.

Below are some inspirational examples of accessible design projects we have loved throughout 2022. They each showcase standout designs with accessibility. We love that by making everyone’s voices heard, these designs are able to experience the world around them in a friendly and accessible way.

1. Modern accessible design that doesn’t compromise on style

Color and typography choices are particularly important in accessible design – but this does not need to compromise elegance or style. 🎨

Instituto Mano Down is a non-profit organization that promotes autonomy and inclusion for people with and without disabilities. They point out that even for people with learning difficulties, childish design should be avoided.

They recently launched a new design for accessible signage that is both functional and sustainable. Based on a grid, the signs are made of marine plywood modules that are held in place by pegs. Bright contrasting colors give the signage a stylish and modern look. A new font, FS Millbank, was created in accordance with the accessibility guidelines to provide clear and readable navigation information. ♿

We love the use of color and font to make this accessible signage stand out and think it benefits all. 💚

Read more:

Instituto Mano Down’s signage perfectly balances style and accessibility

2. Braille breaks down the barriers for everyday objects

For the visually impaired, Braille removes barriers without the use of technology. 🧑‍🦯

Designer Zhang Han, in collaboration with Alibaba Health Design, has created the Visual Impaired Diary Exhibition to share the possibilities that Braille can create every day.

The exhibition’s accessible typography revolves around building a trajectory around everyday objects. It speaks to the visually impaired through the touch of Braille, with exhibits designed to include music tickets, blessings, careers, and words of encouragement. Each exhibit aims to explore the possibilities of accessible design, portraying the feeling of inclusion that the use of Braille can bring to society. ⚖️

This design demonstrates that accessible design using Braille can break down the barriers for many everyday objects. 💚

Read more:

Visual Impaired Diary Exhibition shares daily thoughts on Braille barrier-free design

3. Degree brings the first marathon in the Metaverse

The Metaverse can provide people with disabilities with experiences that are difficult to access in the physical world. ♿

To generate interest in the 2022 Boston Marathon, Unilever’s antiperspirant brand Degree has partnered with Decentraland to create the world’s first marathon in the metaverse – the “Degree Metatron”. The virtual race created a series of more inclusive avatars for participants, and it was led by rapper Fat Joe and Paralympian Blake Leeper.

The Degree Metathon covered the largest area of Decentraland and incorporated accessible architecture, such as ramps for wheelchair users. Degree even invited participants to choose avatars with racing wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and running blades to raise awareness of accessibility and inclusivity, especially in the meta-universe. 🏃‍♀️

We love how this campaign promotes an inclusive sport culture, allowing a range of runners to experience the race in a new way. 💚

Read more:

Degree intends to improve accessibility for disabled users on virtual platforms

4. Beauty accessible design promotes independence for the visually impaired

Makeup and beauty is a form of self-expression, but accessibility hasn’t always been guaranteed in the beauty industry – but this is changing.

Cleanlogic’s founder, Isaac Shapiro, was inspired by his mother, who lost her eyesight as a child, and by the millions of people with visual impairments when he rebranded a portion of their range with accessible packaging, fulfilling his dream. In addition, a portion of all Cleanlogic sales will go to organizations for the visually impaired. 👩‍🦯

The refreshed packaging eliminates the use of plastic and shifts to all-paper packaging with Braille printed on each item. The brand partnered with the American Foundation for the Blind to ensure the accuracy of the Braille. The minimalist yet colorful packaging also adds energy to the brand. 🧼

We think the packaging is a celebration of brands that are making a difference for the disabled community – helping the visually impaired to live more independently.

Read more:

Cleanlogic aims to make a difference for the disabled community

5. Premium oil packaging is both sustainable and accessible

Accessibility is growing in importance when designing packaging that meets consumer needs.

Fragrant Olive Oil has captured both sustainability and accessibility in this thoughtful packaging. The completely organic and 100% natural qualities of the olive oil are highlighted throughout the design. 🫒

The packaging uses food-grade kraft paper and fully recyclable materials, even the bottle, lid, and cap are recyclable. Minimal color is used – instead, the brand name stands out through embossing.

Braille has been used for the visually impaired. We think this packaging is a perfect blend of sustainability and accessibility, whilst cleverly conveying the premium quality of the brand.

Read more:

Fragrant Olive Oil makes the perfect blend of sustainability and accessibility

Accessible design means better design for everyone. Benefits of designing with accessibility in mind include a broader application, a stronger brand, increased returns for businesses, and a reduction in the risk of lawsuits. If you need essential tips for creating your accessible design, click here to learn more and download an accessibility checklist.