19 May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness about digital access and inclusion. Nearly 15% of the global population are people with disabilities. Yet, digital design has traditionally focused on serving the majority, and today only 1% of the top one million commercial websites are digitally accessible.
Ingka Group recently launched a new Digital Inclusive Design, Equity & Accessibility strategy to take on these challenges and increase its focus on making the digital experiences for co-workers and customers more inclusive.
Ingka Group is investing in the area and actively recruiting to bring more people onto the strategy team. In addition, the team is working to make the recruitment system more digitally accessible. The company’s Chosen Names project where people can use their chosen names in digital systems instead of their legal names has started in the US and Canada and is being rolled out to more markets. Furthermore, Ingka Group has enabled a possibility for co-workers to submit suggestions for accessibility and inclusive design developments and improvements.
“We want to design a digital world where everyone can feel at home, a digital world for more of the many people,” says Tie Wang Jones, Head of Inclusive Design. “This is the right thing to do, and we recognize that we’re at the beginning of this journey.”
In fact, the EU Web Accessibility Directive and the European Accessibility Act says that by summer 2025, all digital products and services that are sold or used within the EU must comply with a common set of accessibility standards outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
This means, at the very least, any externally facing digital tool must be accessible. “Our growing team of accessibility experts is conducting audits, taking corrective action on a risk remediation plan, and building a framework to move us forward from being reactive to proactive,” Tie says.
Going beyond to inclusive design
Once the foundation of digital accessibility is built, Ingka Group will go beyond towards inclusive design. Inclusive design is a strategic approach to creating experiences that meet the needs of people of all diverse backgrounds and stages in life.
“There are infinite ways to leverage the diversity among people to benefit our co-workers, customers and communities in digital spaces,” Tie says. “Through inclusive design, we look at many more of the infinite diversities such as gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, language, thinking styles, and personality types.”
As a driver of human-centric technology, the Digital Inclusive Design, Equity, & Accessibility strategy enables Ingka Group to put people first, use data and digital assets as a force for good, and create fair and sustainable solutions.
“We want to spearhead a social movement across the world,” says Tie. “By radically disrupting the field of design and leading by example, we can help make the digital world feel more like home for everyone.”