Web design for all: Catering to a wide spectrum of audiences

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Good user experience is about more than just ease of use. It should reflect - and celebrate - the diversity of its users.

7 min read

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There’s a lot of focus on improving diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, in schools, and in our culture. But what about the web?

Have we failed to catch up?

If you look at a sampling of your favorite websites, it won’t take long to realize how non-inclusive many of them feel.

Designing for a wide spectrum of audiences, means creating an experience that makes everyone feel welcome, regardless of:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race

  • Geography

  • Culture

  • Education

  • Religion

  • Language

  • Lifestyle

  • Technology

  • Impairment

If you take a closer look at the web as it stands now, you’ll find that a lot of work has been done to make websites more technically easier to access and use. But how about the user interface?

To create a website design that’s truly universally friendly, you have to create something that feels welcoming and natural to everyone, regardless of their perspective and circumstances.

Here are 5 UI design tips you can use to fix this issue:

1. Is your content easy to get through?

Scannability of content is very important for visitors of all types. Why? Sadly, it’s because people don’t read most of the words on a page.

According to research from the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG):

“On average, users will have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically, users will read about 20% of the text on the average page.”

A lot of our reading habits boil down to efficiency. People read as much as they need to in order to get the basic gist of a topic, which results in a lot of scanning.

Although there are different patterns of scanning a page, many eye-tracking studies over the years demonstrate the same thing:

Eye-tracking study on website

Many people just want the TL;DR of a page, which usually means:

  • Reading the introduction.

  • Scanning through the headers.

  • Stopping at interesting photos and callouts.

What this information tells us, essentially, is that web pages should be designed with a good balance between written and visual elements. By using more images, illustrations, and designs to tell your story visually, more of your readers can get through and understand the content as a whole.

This is also useful for visitors who aren’t native speakers of the language of the site. Like they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This is the homepage for Conqr., a marketing agency in Mexico:

Screenshot of Conqr. marketing agency's website

This site uses mostly white space, captivating visuals, and very short snippets of text to get its point across. It’s a memorable and succinct experience, which is exactly what visitors are looking for.