When you create content, be mindful that users have diverse needs and abilities.
As government services move onto digital platforms, we need to make sure they work for everyone. There are many diverse user groups in our population. Many have limited access to digital services or are excluded from them.
Diverse groups include:
- people with low digital skills or literacy
- older people or seniors
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people with cognitive or physical disability
- people who are blind or have a vision impairment
- people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment
- people living in rural or remote locations
- people accessing the internet on mobile devices.
Accessibility issues impact users across a variety of demographics. Accessibility issues may include:
- web content that is difficult to understand
- websites not tailored to screen readers
- websites that are difficult to navigate using smartphones
- content too big to download with a low data limit.
Include diverse users
Understanding and being inclusive of diverse user groups should be an ongoing consideration. You need to:
- develop empathy for diverse users, and their needs and abilities
- challenge your personal biases and assumptions about diverse user groups
- make services accessible for diverse users regardless of their abilities and environments
- recruit and include diverse users when you conduct end-to-end usability testing
- consider user needs and abilities when conducting research
- allow the user to switch to non-digital channels if needed.
Ask about the user need
Always ask what the user need is and how to meet this need. Be careful not to exclude user groups or make assumptions about what services they might need.
To encourage and enable users to use digital services successfully, you need to:
- write in plain English
- deliver a simple and consistent pathway through government websites
- give access to translated content and supporting documentation
- use alternative forms of communication, such as icons, pictures and visual cues.
Engage with specialists
You don’t need to work alone. Diversity and inclusivity specialists can help you create inclusive content.
When doing user research, engage with trusted stakeholders. These may include multicultural service officers in your agency.
They can help you:
- address inclusivity considerations
- make sure your research questions are appropriate
- engage culturally and linguistically diverse user
- host research in a neutral space, this can be more effective than doing user research in a government offices.
Encourage empathy for users
Some ways to encourage empathy for diverse users in your team and organisation are to:
- include team members in usability testing
- share your diversity and inclusivity findings with your team and organisation.