A curated guide to making your digital practices and services more inclusive.
This resource is for anyone who wants to make their organisation’s digital services and content more welcoming and inclusive.
It offers help with 7 situations that can lead to people being excluded. Solutions include:
- challenging your assumptions
- designing services more inclusively
- making your content anti-oppressive
- supporting digitally excluded people to access the internet.
For each situation we offer 1 or more expert-written resources from the Catalyst archive. Wherever your digital inclusion practice is at, there will be something here to move you forward.
1. When supporting people who are already digitally excluded
People can be excluded due to lack of digital:
- skills - they are short on skills or confidence to use devices, software or the internet
- hardware - they lack access to a digital device
- data - they have limited access to the internet.
People who are digitally excluded will often be experiencing poverty or be excluded from society in other ways.
You can also run projects that target digitally excluded people. Try learning about:
- Digital Unite’s digital champions model
- Five ways charities have reduced digital exclusion through their services (with examples).
2. When working with people who are different to you
How we think can lead to us accidentally excluding people via content and services we create. This is because it's almost impossible not to be unconsciously biased in some way. Even if we have lived experience of people’s challenges we will hold some implicit bias. Implicit bias is the social stereotypes we have about those who are different to us. Common ones include race, gender, cultural background, body shape, sexual orientation, class and disability. Unconscious bias is one of the biggest obstacles we face when creating digital content and services.
But you can overcome it. Use NCVO’s guide to dealing with unconscious bias.
3. When writing content
By content we mean the words, pictures and videos you use on your:
- website - including every page and any publications you hold there
- your services - including any forms, shared documents or marketing materials
- your social media - including any campaigns, marketing and calls to action.
It’s easy to end up creating content that excludes people, or worse: reinforces oppressive power structures. Then we become part of the problem.
But we are the solution too.
Are you willing to make all your content inclusive? Are you willing to go further and make it anti-oppressive? These resources from inclusive language consultant Ettie Bailey-King will help:
4. When designing a service
Uncovering your biases and making your content anti-oppressive will help you design a more inclusive service. But you also need to make it accessible for the people you help.
Designing for accessibility is a way to make your services inclusive. This doesn’t necessarily mean making them accessible for everyone (young people don't need to be able to access services for older people). But it does mean removing access barriers for everyone within the groups you want to reach.
These articles from autistic digital accessibility specialist Jamie Knight will help you.
- Inclusive digital design: accessibility, assumptions and barriers
- Accessibility: how to identify 3 common barriers on your charity’s website
5. When you’re running online video sessions
Video calling has become the most common way of delivering digital services. Video is flexible and gets used to deliver a range of services. For example: 1-1 support sessions, group learning workshops, community events.
Because of this there is a lot of emerging good practice around using video calling:
- As in real life, how you connect with people online changes how included they feel. To help the sector learn to create inclusive experiences Catalyst funded Deepr to create the Human Connection Toolkit.
- Are you working with people who are neurodivergent? Or perhaps you want to make your video calls more inclusive for everyone? Learn how charity Grapevine make video calls more accessible for neurodivergent people.
- When you’re running online workshops learn how to create and deliver inclusive online learning.
6. When your audience may have experienced trauma
Many of us have experienced trauma. If you’re working with people who face multiple obstacles and challenges then it's almost certain they will have. Their trauma will affect how they experience your services.
If you make your services trauma-informed then they will be more inclusive.
- Get started by reading Hera Hussain of Chayn’s introduction to trauma informed design.
- Learn how to apply principles to your work with Rosanna Thomasoo's tips for putting trauma informed design principles into practice.
Need more help?
Sometimes you need more insight and advice on the way forward. You can get 60 minutes of free advice from a digital expert through Digital Candle.
Image credit: The Centre for Aging Better's Resource Space. Ageing Better partnered with Independent Age to release new age-positive image library photos that better represent the diversity of people aged 50+ in England.