Accessible Communication Tools

In an inclusive design process, team members share ideas throughout the design/development process and at different stages of completion in order to solicit feedback from peers and stakeholders on an ongoing basis. This approach contrasts with that of many organizations that follow a waterfall approach, where pre-defined steps in the design and development process are followed in a strict order, requiring the completion of one step before moving to the next. With a waterfall approach members of different teams usually communicate only during the transition periods, when passing specific artifacts on from one step to another (e.g. handing off completed design mockups to developers).

An inclusive process encourages the exchange of ideas openly and fluidly, which not only improves the final outcome, but helps the entire team to be aware of the decisions that are being made along the way, thus minimizing last-minute surprises. To maximize participation, the communication tools themselves should be available to all and accessible to individuals with a wide range of needs.

Accessible communication tools can help to build open communication channels and allow the sharing of ideas at any stage of completion within a team as well as within a larger community.