Principles for Digital Development

Design for inclusion 

Consider the full range of human diversity to maximize impact and mitigate harm.

When leveraged intentionally and to its fullest potential, technology can overcome, rather than exacerbate, existing inequality. To design for inclusion is to seize the opportunity for digital initiatives to drive social progress by dismantling systemic barriers related to gender, disability, income, geography, and other factors.

Regardless of the size of their intended audience, technology initiatives should be designed to be accessible and usable for a diverse range of people, including those with disabilities, low digital literacy, those who speak different languages, who face obstacles to device access/affordability/connectivity, and those from different cultural backgrounds.

This can be achieved by adopting iterative methodologies (such as agile) and by leveraging redressal systems to quickly identify – and address – challenges that negatively impact certain groups of people.

Designing for inclusion can include considering how the benefits of an initiative accrue even to those who are not online.

Designing for inclusion requires considering the opportunity to strengthen capacity for those who do not have the skills or tools necessary to benefit from a given initiative, as well as the affordability of devices and services (in the short and long-term).

Without following inclusive practices in the design of digital initiatives, we risk amplifying existing inequalities, creating unforeseen harms, and excluding segments of the population from participation and opportunity.