Did you know that small businesses employ over half of all private sector workers? Or that they generate almost two-thirds of net new jobs?

With such a massive pull, it’s critical for small business owners to consider Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in every aspect of their business plan.

In today’s expert round, we selected one aspect of a business plan to analyze its role in DEI: website design. We wanted to understand how website design could be utilized by small businesses to contribute to DEI, so we polled website designers around the nation.

Here’s what we asked them (read on to find out what they said!):

How can small businesses contribute to DEI – using website design?

Contribute Visually
“I would say that in the main the best way to contribute would be visually. Absolutely you can & should have DEI based text in your small business website explaining your company policies, however in the same way that we eat with our eyes we also cognitively learn positive reinforcement by what we see when we visit a website. This is a real opportunity! Therefore any photos or pictures should be as diverse as possible & reflect all races, genders and disabilities etc.”
Stuart Kendrew, Owner, Alberta Web Designs

Use Design Wisely
“There are several ways that small businesses can use website design to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion:

Use inclusive language: Make sure that your website content uses inclusive language that is welcoming and respectful of all people, regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability.

Use diverse images: Use images that reflect the diversity of your customer base and staff. Avoid using stereotypes or excluding any particular group of people.

Make your website accessible: Ensure that your website is accessible to people with disabilities by following web accessibility guidelines. This includes using alt text for images, using descriptive link text, and using headings and other formatting to make the content easier to read and navigate.”
Tansu Cabaci, Tomorrow Web Design

Be Aware and Intentional
“Include diverse points of view—invite different people to contribute their perspectives in your content. Seek out a variety of opinions, including those that may challenge your own.

Be aware of language—use language that is respectful and inclusive. Avoid phrases and words that are outdated, offensive, or inadequately represent the people or communities you are discussing.

Be mindful of bias—be mindful of your own biases and strive to be conscious of how these might affect your content. Consider the context of the content and your own experiences when creating and sharing your work.

Represent diverse opinions—reflect diverse opinions in your content by amplifying the voices of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Encourage dialogue and open-mindedness.

Incorporate diverse imagery—use imagery that reflects the diversity of your audience. Avoid using stereotypes and focus on representing real people.”
Therese Walker, Owner & Graphic Designer, T Walker Designs

Amplify Marginalized Voices
“Web design has the potential to make a positive impact on DEI. One very important aspect of DEI in web design is accessibility. Web designers can also use their skills to promote social justice and equity by designing websites for organizations dedicated to raising awareness of important social issues.”
Corey M. Clauden-Cross, Founder & Web Designer, Webs of Color

If you’d like to share your answer to our question, we’d love to add your voice to our expert roundup.

Contact us today to tell us your answer to our question:

How can small businesses contribute to DEI – using website design?

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