How To Create Content That Appeals To Diverse Audiences

Diversity is a value that is fairly easy to profess, but more difficult to practice. 

Chief among those difficulties is working out what variables of diversity you can genuinely address. Because there are more than can be reasonably handled in any scenario. A given population can be diverse in terms of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, creed, beliefs, food habits, educational background, political persuasion, marital status, socio-economic background, and so on.  

Trying to tailor any complex endeavour to this wide basket of diversities is easier said than done. And yet, those of us who appreciate the virtue of treating all people with dignity and respect cannot but keep trying. 

In this article, we take a look at the characteristics that make content appealing to diverse audiences. We’ll also explore the ways and means of creating content that works for audiences across the entire spectrum of diversities. 

Importance of Diversity and inclusion in web design and web site content include things like keyboard navigation, audible alt text, scalable text, semantic HTML, and more

The Importance Of Inclusive Content

Creating inclusive content is not just a matter of doing the right thing. It is also a crucial business imperative! 

Brand values often ride on an organization’s ability to create content that is welcoming to everyone while being offensive to none. A 2019 Google-partnered study found 64% of respondents are more likely to consider a brand or make a purchase after seeing an ad they considered diverse and inclusive

Here are some more compelling reasons that show the importance of inclusive content: 

  • User experience: Content that is objectively inclusive uplifts user experiences on social media and the web. This positively impacts engagement with a brand or business. 
  • Brand loyalty: Content that resonates with users makes them feel valued. It makes the brand more relatable and approachable, besides fostering a sense of spontaneous belonging and loyalty.
  • Market reputation: Content can be an organic way to grow a business’s reputation as an inclusive and equitable operator. This often helps brands capitalize on their existing reputation by expanding into diverse markets.

Understanding Diversity And Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are about putting people first, more than anything else. The two concepts are related but certainly not interchangeable. 

  • Diversity acknowledges the various ways each of us is unique, and not just in terms of outward expressions like race and gender. We can also be diverse in terms of fundamental beliefs, culture, value systems, upbringing, and so much more. Diversity is the value that makes us equal despite such overt or covert differences. 
  • Inclusion is an approach that seeks to level the playing field by providing equal voice and representation to diverse people. It puts special emphasis on overlooked and marginalized communities and backgrounds. Inclusionary practices attempt to provide people with equitable access to opportunities and resources.

Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In Web Design

For many, the internet used to be an option for personal and professional engagement before the pandemic lockdowns. Now, it is the primary channel of work, communication, and entertainment for most. 

Diversity and inclusion in web design are, therefore, critical to making the internet accessible to the widest possible range of users. Think of people with vision or auditory disabilities, communities without access to high-speed internet, or people who log on exclusively on their mobile devices. 

Here are some factors that make web design more diverse and inclusive from the perspective of such users:

  • Keyboard navigation: for people with limited motor abilities that make it hard to use a mouse or touchpad.
  • Audible alt text: so people with auditory impairment can hear photo captions and image descriptors.
  • Scalable text: this enables people with impaired eyesight to increase the text size without affecting page layouts. 
  • Semantic HTML: it helps page readers and braille devices read out or decipher elements like headlines, buttons, and other web page elements. 

Barriers To Inclusive Web Design

It takes the active collaboration of content writers, designers, web administrators, and business managers to make web design truly inclusive. It also takes a keen understanding of the barriers that can creep into web design despite our best intentions against it. Those barriers include: 

  • Bias and stereotypes: Bias involves personal preferences, likes, and dislikes that may show up in the way we approach an idea or execute a solution. Stereotypes are assumptions about people or groups that have little or no rational basis. 
  • Lack of understanding: The most common barrier to inclusive web design is often a lack of understanding of the diversity of opinions, preferences, and various points of view that users can have. The result can be web design and content that is appealing to some but repellant to others. 
  • Unintentional exclusion: Think of an online feature that can be optimally accessed only from a desktop computer or a webpage that is not fully functional for slow internet connections. These are examples of unintentional exclusion that can hamper access and usability.  

Best Practices For Inclusive Web Design

Inclusive web design means it is easily accessible and usable to the user.  Here are a few ways you can ensure that:

  • Audit for inclusivity: An inclusivity audit can quickly identify pain points, define areas of improvement, and come up with remedial measures. In case you’re ready for an audit, try out an accessibility testing tool instead. 
  • Make it a project parameter: It’s more efficient to build things up with inclusivity in mind than to correct issues in hindsight. Making inclusivity a core project parameter can help achieve it more efficiently. 
  • Simplify: Minimalism in web design can help your website and social media platforms stand out in competitive marketplaces. Minimalism can make things sophisticated yet more accessible, usable, and inclusive.

Use Of Inclusive Language

Inclusive language is welcoming to all. It fosters a sense of belonging that can help gain larger audiences and drive user engagement and long-term loyalty. There’s more to it than simply getting your pronouns right. 

Here are some ways you can craft inclusive content that is still impactful and outcome-driven:

  • Avoid figurative language and colloquialisms: Such usages can be hard to understand and occasionally off-putting for people who are not native to them. It’s the same with phrases, idioms, and common slang. 
  • Research linguistic preferences: Know how your target audience speaks in everyday life. There’s no point in writing formal content if your audience is teenagers and young adults who are high on slang and neologisms. 
  • Include multiple perspectives and opinions: Not everybody agrees unilaterally on everything. It would be wrong to assume that your audience, likewise, is all of the same opinion. 
  • Use accessible formatting: One of the diversities you should account for is concentration spans. Not everyone is interested in reading huge chunks of text. Format it so it is easy to digest for novices and connoisseurs alike. 

What More Can You Do To Improve Your Diversity Score

Well, folks, that’s not all! There’s a whole lot more you can do to make your web design and content more inclusive and diverse. Here are a few tips to that end: 

  • Inclusive visuals: Non-verbal communication has a lot to do with promoting diversity. Visuals that accommodate people from diverse communities, contexts, and capabilities speak for themselves.
  • Cultural considerations: Our cultural backgrounds affect how we perceive different objects and ideas. What is appealing for some may be deeply hurtful for others. Make sure to check for such inadvertent errors. 
  • User testing: Effective user testing for diversity and inclusion involves giving each test user enough time to evaluate and the freedom to bring their own testing equipment. 

Improve Your Company’s Diversity Quotient With Macaw Digital Marketing

Diversity and inclusion are strategies that empower both businesses and their audiences. They ensure your content is widely consumed, liked, and shared. In return, you stand to earn rich dividends in terms of engagement, loyalty, and the ability to break out into new markets. 

Macaw Digital Marketing is a results-focused digital marketing agency that can help your businesses stand out in the most saturated markets. Our award-winning content marketing, web design, and SEO services are geared to maximize returns for enterprise-level businesses. 

Request a consultation today so we can help you improve your digital game

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