Breaking Down Barriers:

A Call for Inclusivity in Consumer Research

Call for Inclusivity in Consumer Research

Inclusive consumer research paints a richer picture of human behavior by capturing diverse perspectives.

Yet for far too long inclusivity has taken a backseat. That's why, after attending an IIEX session last year in Austin, Texas, about making research accessible for people with disabilities, I joined a consortium dedicated to changing the market research industry to be more inclusive. We are calling for a shift.

Here are my 10 actionable tips to build bridges, not barriers, in your next research project:

  1. Representation Redefined: Challenge yourself to go beyond the checkboxes and incorporate screening criteria that engage a broader range of respondents, providing a more authentic representation of your audience.
  2. Accessibility Always: Design surveys with clarity and adaptability in mind. Consider language, layout, and alternative input methods to ensure participation is open to everyone, regardless of ability.
  3. Beyond the Surface: Analyze your data through multiple lenses such as disability status, uncovering hidden patterns that contribute to a more nuanced understanding of consumer behavior.
  4. Empowering Interviews: Whether virtual or in person, create safe spaces where individuals with disabilities feel confident sharing their experiences.
  5. Clear Communication: Ditch jargon and ambiguity. Embrace plain language that is easy for everyone to understand, regardless of background or ability.
  6. Technology as a Bridge: Leverage tools like screen readers, text magnification, and alternative input methods to remove barriers and make participation seamless. Remember, technology should be an enabler, not a hurdle.
  7. Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural nuances in your research design and questions. Avoid language or concepts that might inadvertently exclude or stereotype specific groups.
  8. Openness and Flexibility: Recognize that individuals don't always fit neatly into predefined categories. Allow for self-identification and include open-ended questions that capture the richness of diverse experiences.
  9. Pilot Test for Equity: Don't assume your materials are accessible until you've tested them with people with disabilities. Include diverse participants in pilot testing to identify and address any challenges.
  10. And most Importantly, Champion Inclusivity: Share your learnings and best practices with colleagues, clients, and the industry at large. Normalizing inclusive research is the most important step we can take to create a ripple effect of positive change.

While we work towards these ideals, it's important to remember that inclusivity is an ongoing commitment. By incorporating these tips, we can work towards a future where consumer research fosters understanding, not just for the majority, but for everyone.


Deidre Hart

Deirdre Hart

Senior Vice President

Deirdre Hart has spent her entire career in market research designing and delivering strategic research for a range of clients across many categories. Her expertise lies within customized quantitative methodologies including extensive experience in new product development; brand, product, and packaging optimization; tracking studies; customer satisfaction; brand extendibility; image research; and experiential on-site research. Deirdre’s commitment to delivering insightful and implementable findings has made her a trusted partner for businesses navigating consumer preferences and market trends.

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