Do you really know who you’re talking to? Why inclusivity matters

By Lucy Beldon, planning and inclusivity lead at CDS.

Communications and information clarity – or lack of – have been firmly under the microscope in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. News in all its forms – from updates by the WHO, to local lockdowns and restrictions – have been drafted, shared, and evaluated more than ever before.

As a result, inclusion, purpose, accessibility, and diversity have all been sharply brought into focus during the pandemic – and there has never been a more significant time to embrace inclusivity.

However, business owners and experienced professionals sometimes have a nonchalant attitude towards their communications, believing that they know their customers inside-out.

This can often be a dangerous approach. Unless you embed inclusive and user-centric practices into every stage of your process – from campaign planning, to communications design and user testing – there is no way to truly understand your audience.

Taking the time to explore who your users are, what they think and what they need to identify how a message should be delivered, is central to achieving clarity in communication.

Understanding personas, user patterns, habits, and behaviours through user testing and behavioural research will ultimately ensure everything you produce matches the wider user experience (UX) strategy.

As Judith Doherty, business development director at SimpleUsability said recently: “To plan and deliver truly inclusive communications, you need to be aware of the needs of a broad cross-section of people. However, it’s not always straightforward. How can you ensure the most vulnerable people in society are represented? And, in an increasingly digital world, how can we guarantee that those with less digital confidence and capability aren’t left behind?

“Testing campaigns and sites with your end audience – and making sure you include users with literacy, accessibility, assisted digital and other specific needs as part of that – will help keep you on the right track. We’ll be discussing how you can involve your audiences in research and how to practically reach them at a time when so much of what we do is remote.”

That’s why CDS has partnered with the University of Cambridge and SimpleUsability to offer a digital inclusivity workshop for comms professionals, in line with this month’s deadline (23rd) for all public sector organisations to make their websites accessible.

Forming part of this year’s Leeds Digital Festival, the free-to-attend session will examine the role inclusivity should play in every stage of the comms process, with interactive elements delivered remotely by the University of Cambridge.

The event takes place from 09:00-11:15 on Thursday 24 September and registrations are now open via Eventbrite.

Photo by Meagan Carsience on Unsplash

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