Plan digital transformation in a way that supports diversity, equity and inclusion.
Leading digital change while at the same time becoming more inclusive is important for your charity.
This resource will help you plan digital transformation in an inclusive way. It is for:
- Leaders making strategic decisions about digital transformation within a charity or non-profit.
- Digital leaders managing a digital strategy or transformation process.
- Building a project team
- Understanding your audiences or users
- Planning for inclusivity
- Creating an accessible strategy
1. Build a project team
Project teams of diverse people are more likely to create a strategy that is inclusive. This means including people with different races, genders, sexualities and religions in the team. But there are other types of diversity to think about too:
- different teams across the organisation who have different needs
- different digital skill levels
- lived experience of the issues the charity supports
Creating a broad project team will help you understand people better and reduce the likelihood of incorrect assumptions about their needs.
2. Understand your community
An inclusive digital strategy will have the charity’s community at its heart. It will understand their needs whether as users, staff, volunteers or other stakeholders.
The data from your digital channels won't explain everything. You also need to know about people’s needs, feelings and behaviours.
User research can provide that missing information.
Collect qualitative user data through in-depth interviews. Make sure that you talk to representatives from different groups:
- 14.6 million of the UK population is disabled. Include disabled people.
- Digital poverty is greater than most of us think. Include people who lack skills, data or devices of their own.
- 14% of the UK population belongs to a minority ethnic group. Include them too.
Involving users from start to finish in digital design always leads to better outcomes.
Create user personas
Use the results of your research to create a set of user personas. These are pen portraits of your typical users. They help you to keep your users in mind while writing a digital strategy.
Organisations like Microsoft have created ‘spectrum personas.’ Each spectrum of personas may have similar needs, but different characteristics, or both. For example, a spectrum of disabilities with different access needs.
You can keep referring to the personas as you deliver your strategy.
3. Plan for inclusivity
An inclusive digital strategy demands a positive approach. Create specific plans that set out how the strategy will include marginalised groups.
This could involve:
- specific user research and testing with marginalised groups
- developing a checklist of user needs for marginalised groups, based on research.
Set some guidelines to help the project team create an inclusive strategy.
Your guidelines might include:
- Identifying under-represented, marginalised or hard to reach audience groups.
- Involving representatives of user groups of users in any strategy design workshop.
- Identifying and setting standards for accessibility within the project based on user needs.
4. Make your strategy accessible
Part of running an inclusive strategic development process means making strategy accessible.
However, there is no standard structure for a digital strategy. This can make it difficult to know what to include.
Including too much might make the strategy long and less accessible. Using complex language can make it difficult to read.
So an inclusive strategy document should be quick and easy to read.
Your digital strategy could contain:
- specific, measurable goals for digital transformation
- user personas
- guidelines on inclusive digital service and channel development
- outlines of specific projects identified to meet the strategic goals
Think about how to make the final document accessible. For example:
- Using images and infographics
- Creating an ‘easy read’ version for people with learning disabilities
- Creating an audio version for people with visual impairments
- Summarising the strategy on one page
Tools, standards and guides for creating an inclusive and accessible digital strategy:
- Microsoft’s Inclusive Design guide
- Gov.uk’s Service Manual on testing for accessibility
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines international standard
- Hemingway app accessible language checker
- Racially diverse stock images
- Stock images including people with disabilities