Should I Use Inclusive Design In Ecommerce?

We all know that inclusivity is becoming more important for buyers when choosing brands to engage with. Especially Gen Z does not want to invest money in brands that do not meet their values. But inclusivity stretches beyond aligning values. It can also be the thought behind design: is it inclusive for different shoppers’ needs and abilities? Inclusive design gives a thought to groups of shoppers previously overlooked, who have just as much of a right and desire to purchase from your store.

What Is Inclusion?

The whole world is becoming more inclusive. Concessions made for those with physical disabilities are being introduced: subway stations have elevators fitted rather than just stairs, concerts have sign language interpreters and many companies understand the importance of mental health days for those with mental disabilities.

Exclusion, the opposite of inclusion, affects such groups as:

  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Dyslexia
  • Elderly
  • The queer community
  • Minority ethnic groups
  • Minority religious groups

Inclusive design means that no matter who the users of your website are, they can find a way to be included and not feel left out by your brand. Treating all shoppers equally creates a positive brand image, and improves the chances of lifetime customers. It also increases the chance of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers engaging with your brand, as well as any of the otherwise excluded groups you attempt to accomodate for.

How Do I Create An Inclusive Brand?

Offer Options

Rather than offering products and services on a ‘one size fits all’ model, consider offering options that might be helpful to different groups. For example, if you have a store that sells food items, consider making separate sections for the following groups:

  • Kosher foods
  • Halal foods
  • Vegan foods
  • Vegetarian foods
  • Gluten free foods

Having these options means that any of these groups that might sometimes not be looked after would feel included. 

On the website design itself, you can offer audio descriptions, written product descriptions and photos that show how products might relate to different groups.

Find Out About Your Customers

The better you know your shoppers, the better for your business. You could include inclusivity forms to try and understand what your shoppers requirements are, and what accessibility methods you can use to meet their needs. 

For example, when creating an account rather than just offering ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ options, it is important to also include ‘Non-Binary’. Having this option immediately includes a large percentage of gender non-conforming people. Including an option such as ‘other’ can also mean that anybody who doesn’t feel comfortable identifying in those categories can also be catered for. Small design elements like this increase inclusivity at no cost to your business.


Accessibility is a series of technical rules and criteria that make websites usable for those with physical or mental disability, as well as the elderly. Many of these standards are obligatory- and not complying can result in a financial penalty.

It’s necessary as it is enforced, but going the extra step can also make all the difference for your business. 15% of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people have some kind of disability. These people should not be overlooked within your eCommerce business. 

Some things to consider to ensure accessibility are:

  • Simplicity of language on website
  • Clarity and readability of text on website
  • Subtitles within videos
  • Usability across all devices
  • Alt text on photos
  • Tooltips and text boxes for usability purposes

If you have all these bases covered then you are well on your way to offering an optimized experience for shoppers.


Making sure that your website is accessible and inclusive is important for many reasons. Paying closer attention to the technical aspects of your store in order to include more groups will boost conversions, as well as customer satisfaction. Brands are understanding the increasing sensitivity of these kinds of issues, so getting on this trend sooner rather than later is a good idea.