Neuroinclusive design for ADHD


The project

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder) is one of the most common neurodevelopment disorders. Some of the symptoms include:

  • oversharing
  • taking unnecessary risks
  • struggling to get organised in space or time

It can be diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. We estimate that more than 366 millions of people worldwide have ADHD. To improve their experience online, we must be ready to design interfaces with neurodiversity in mind. Neurodiversity includes ADHD, but also cognitive disorders such as dyslexia, giftedness or autism.

Inflow's app helps people with ADHD understand how their brain works and provides practical tips to overcome their challenges. The app was created by a team of clinicians specialising in ADHD and is based on scientific research.

Inflow asked me to redesign their visual identity to address the needs of a neurodivergent audience. Combining their expertise in ADHD with my knowledge in accessibility, we built an inclusive site for people with ADHD.

The strategy

A website promoting an app usually tries for one thing: getting people to download the app. But Inflow had a different idea. We wanted to prove their expertise on ADHD, particularly when it comes to the challenges people can face:

  • handling sensory overload
  • avoiding procrastination
  • struggling to maintain focus in a conversation

So rather than encouraging people to download the app, the main CTA is to take a quiz to receive an ADHD score.

The rest of the site's content is used to drive traffic through SEO and reinforce the brand's credibility. That's why I spent a lot of time on the blog's template so that it'd be easy to read. Although the site's not big, it effectively fulfils its objectives by offering quality information about ADHD. Since access to health services in the US isn't as easy as it is in Europe, this was one of the top priorities for Inflow.

The design

When designing for a neurodivergent audience, it's important to find the right balance between text and images. A study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science found that this balance helps create a structure that neurodivergents need to get their bearings. We can also use different icons in lists, rather than bullet points. It helps to distinguish lines.

Too many images can confuse readers with ADHD, as they often struggle to focus their attention in one place. For the same reason, it's best to avoid placing text directly over an image. This also applies to screen reader users who wouldn't access information placed in an image unless it's described in an alt-text.

Colours too play an important part. Neurodivergent people can easily get overwhelmed. It's called sensory overload and can apply to any of the senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch, etc. That's why neurodivergent individuals often prefer softer shades like pastels, greens, and blues. These shades have a calming effect that reduces their sensory overload. That's why I used these colours in Inflow's new palette. A researcher from the University of Central Lancashire insist on this aspect so that designers learn to create a calm environment to prevent overwhelming readers.

In truth, all these principles can apply to anyone, neurotypicals as well as neurodivergents. Inclusive design relies on basic graphic design principles, but they have a stronger impact on a neurodivergent audience.

Sebastian Isaac
Co-founder of Inflow
I had the pleasure of working with Tamara when she re-designed our website. She managed to create an awesome design in a really short space of time. Thank you.

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