Designing for diversity: Enhancing your university’s website for neurodiverse students

Written by Jonny in Technology

designing for diversity

A university’s website is usually the first point of contact for prospective students, not to mention current attendees, the wider community, and anyone with a passing interest. And because they are the go-to place for information, it’s vital that they’re designed with inclusivity in mind. They need to meet the diverse needs of every single potential user, including those with neurological differences. At 10 Degrees we feel like that’s the bare minimum a website should do – make sure anyone and everyone can use it.

What do we mean by neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity as a concept actually covers a really wide range of differences in brain function and behavioural traits, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD and dyslexia. These neurological differences can affect a person’s sensory processing, attention, communication, and social interactions. So it’s important that all information on your website is presented in a way everyone can understand and easily process, whether they’re neurodiverse, neurotypical or anywhere in between.  

“In the UK, 15-20% of the population is neurodivergent, with thinking and learning styles that differ from what’s considered typical. This equates to 13 million people.” – Dan Harris, Founder and CEO of charity Neurodiversity in Business

The importance of inclusive web design for neurodiverse students

For neurodiverse students, navigating a university’s website can present a unique set of challenges. Sensory overload, difficulty processing complex information, and barriers to communication can all create a frustrating and, all too often, exclusionary online experience. 
But by wholeheartedly embracing inclusive web design principles, universities can make sure that their digital platforms are accessible and welcoming to each and every student.

We understand the significance of creating inclusive digital experiences, it’s been a drum we’ve banged for years, so our team just gets how much of a difference small changes can really make to someone’s day/week/whole university experience. Our web designers and developers have years of experience helping universities develop websites that not only meet the diverse needs of their student bodies, but exceed their expectations!

Designing for neurodiversity: Best practices

There are a few best practices that our team follows when it comes to inclusive web design for neurodiverse students:

“Website accessibility boils down to three things: the legal requirements, the commercial opportunity, and the moral imperative.” – Paul Smyth, Head of Digital Accessibility at Barclays

The benefits of an inclusive university website

Partnering with 10 Degrees to make your site more inclusive comes with so many benefits, not just for your student body, but for your institution as a whole:

Your next step towards inclusivity

Inclusive web design is not just a best practice, it’s a moral necessity. By considering the diverse needs of all of your students, including those who are neurodiverse, universities can, and should, create digital experiences that really echo that unique sense of belonging a good university fosters. Not just by providing equal access to education, but by building an environment of inclusivity and understanding. A place everyone can be proud to be a part of! 

Ready to take the first step towards creating an inclusive university website? Shoot us a message and let’s get going! 

The Author

Jonny Vaughan

Founder & Technical Director of 10 Degrees. Jonny's day to day focus is on determining the best technical solutions for our clients, driving technical innovation and leading our sustainability agenda.

The 10 Degrees Team

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