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Apple’s design guide for inclusive technology is essential reading


Perhaps the biggest unsung highlight at WWDC 2021 was Apple’s decision to publish a detailed guide to encourage developers to build inclusive applications.

We must be inclusive by design

The company has always led the industry when it comes to accessibility, but its move to push developers toward building inclusive apps is truly significant, particularly given the global shift to support such values. The need to develop inclusive experiences underlines the important place apps now have as windows through which we explore our worlds.

Apple argues that inclusive apps put people first by “prioritizing respectful communication and presenting content and functionality in ways that everyone can access and understand.” The company explains that inclusivity covers many bases: class, culture, ethnicity, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, disabilities, height, shape and so many more considerations that need to be thought about when designing digital experiences.

For developers and anyone else looking to place inclusivity at the heart of their business, Apple’s guide has many useful insights. It’s essential reading for anyone developing any form of person-focused content.

Take the time to get it right

Apple explains that designing an inclusive app is an iterative process that takes time to get right. Getting it right will require developers (and everyone else involved in creating apps) to consider their own assumptions about how other people think and feel, while remaining open to developing a wider understanding.

“Inclusion is a journey,” the company says — one that requires planning, persistence, and patience.

Aim high

Inclusion doesn’t mean you must reject innovative ideas, nor does it mean you must deliver a lowest-common-denominator experience. It’s a creative challenge that requires deep learning and a willingness to change.

For example, at WWDC Apple discussed tools it has developed that make use of machine vision intelligence to create augmented experiences, and how object recognition tools have evolved to the extent that a partially sighted or blind person can now point their phone at a sign to hear the text.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.