Investing in inclusive design isn’t just a considerate way to bring your business to more people. Its measurable B2C benefits are well documented, from making good financial sense to making customers feel seen and heard. But the B2B benefits are a little less obvious. Let’s dig into what inclusive design is, why it matters to other businesses, and how your own brand can benefit when it comes to B2B.


What is inclusive design?
Inclusive design attempts to build a website, product, or experience that as many people as possible can access—not just the abled among us. It takes into consideration users with low vision, difficulty hearing, limited mobility, and other challenges that 40+ million Americans face daily.

Ultimately, it’s building empathy into the things we use every day. It’s making user-centric experiences, not profit-centric experiences.

What inclusive design looks like in action
Sometimes, inclusive design is already built into the products we use, making it appear practically seamless—like choosing your preferred language on a website, switching an app’s settings to view it in dark mode, and other ADA-compliant considerations. Other examples include:

  • Tactile sidewalk pavement at traffic intersections
  • Distinct, high-contrast colors
  • Makeup that comes in wide ranges of shades to match any skin tone
  • Easy-to-read fonts
  • Tear-away tags on t-shirts
  • Voice-to-text options
  • More than two gender options on surveys, legal forms, etc

Non-inclusive design can include things like tough-to-read text, illegible fonts, books published without an audio option, makeup only available in a few pale shades.

Though inclusive design can appear seamless, it’s never ever an accident. It’s an intentional choice made by people who work at companies where diversity, equity and inclusion are valued, freeing them to ask questions about the needs of the people who make up their target audience. We’d even say that inclusive design is a way DEI can be made tangible.

The importance of B2B inclusivity
It’s easy to see how inclusive design affects B2C marketing; after all, when more people can easily access a product, it’s good for everyone. But it’s vital to B2B ventures, too. Here’s why:

  • Your business will appeal to other businesses that value inclusive design. Inclusively designed products show your DEI commitment in action. ADA-compliant websites, thoughtful experiences and customizable content will go a long way toward showing other businesses your company has all types of people and abilities in mind. Brands with similar DEI initiatives will notice and respond—bringing more business to the table.
  • People run businesses. Ultimately, whether a business provides insurance on a national scale or sells artisan pastries to a local neighborhood, each venture is run by people. People handle communication, outreach, organization and marketing—and people come from all types of backgrounds with all types of ability. If they can’t easily access, understand, or use your product, there’s no sale, and there’s no chance for your businesses to work together.
  • Retain more employees. A commitment to DEI initiatives (demonstrated both in how the company conducts itself and how they create their inclusive products) has been proven to make employees feel more safe, happy and even more productive. And according to Forbes, highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial target goals by up to 120%. As we said above, inclusive design is DEI made tangible, and employees enjoy working at companies that live their inclusivity in their values and in the things they create.

The benefits of inclusive design are clear, but if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a few suggestions.

  • Get an audit. There are plenty of resources for evaluating brand guidelines, websites, products, experiences and more to make sure they’re accessible to the businesses you’re targeting.
  • Hire diverse staff. Different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, genders, and abilities all bring varied and valuable points of view to whatever your business creates.
  • Start at the development phase. From the very beginning of creating a new product or offering, consider the business in your target demographic. What do they need? What type of person works there, and who will ultimately be using your product? That diverse staff we mentioned above will be critical in the development phase. In an interview with McKinsey & Company, Annie Jean-Baptiste, head of Product Inclusion and Equity at Google, said that with diverse teams, “You’ve had so many differing opinions, you’ve thought about and worked through almost all the potential pitfalls and challenges. When you launch something after a less inclusive process, you often end up having to scramble and retroactively fix it.”
  • Do thorough product testing—and listen to the feedback. Are product testers or clients bringing up difficulties with using products or navigating a site? Odds are, they aren’t the only ones who might struggle. Engage in active listening, and if necessary, return to the drawing board.

Have more questions about inclusive design, whether in a business or consumer sense? That’s our bread and butter. Let’s chat!